Almost everyone knows someone who has eaten something by accident at one point or another and it is often hard to tell if it is safe or not. Fortunately, we have pharmacists who work at Poison Control Centers (PCC) with the education and training to help us.
Pharmacists who work at Poison Control Centers receive calls from medical professionals and patients about drugs and toxicity. Some calls may be from a concerned parent of a child who ingested several gummy vitamins, while other calls may be from a physician asking about the use of expired medications in an emergency situation. The variety of calls involved puts the pharmacist in many different unique situations and is great for those who like to tackle many different challenges. Regardless of the nature of the call, a pharmacist must use their clinical knowledge to provide the best answer and recommend appropriate treatment options if necessary.
Most Poison Control Centers are open 24 hours so rotating shifts may be necessary if you want to be a pharmacist at a Poison Control Center. The salary is usually competitive with hospital pharmacists and may exceed $100,000 a year. There are over 50 Poison Control Centers across the nation in the US so there is a lot of flexibility in job locations. However, pharmacists must have the appropriate license for their state requirements.
Since poison control pharmacists are clinically oriented, a residency after pharmacy school is preferred. Also, knowing multiple languages can help since there may be calls from people who are more comfortable speaking a foreign language. The road to becoming a poison control pharmacist isn’t easy, but the rewards are worth it for people who enjoy helping others and solving multiple types of problems.