What Does A Pharmacist Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

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Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Pharmacists

Pharmacists dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners and provide information to patients about medications and their use. May advise physicians and other health practitioners on the selection, dosage, interactions, and side effects of medications.

Salary
$125460
Becoming One
Very Hard
Education
Doctoral degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Pharmacists dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners and provide information to patients about medications and their use. May advise physicians and other health practitioners on the selection, dosage, interactions, and side effects of medications.

  • Review prescriptions to assure accuracy, ascertain the needed ingredients, and evaluate their suitability.
  • Provide information and advice regarding drug interactions, side effects, dosage, and proper medication storage.
  • Maintain records, such as pharmacy files, patient profiles, charge system files, inventories, control records for radioactive nuclei, or registries of poisons, narcotics, or controlled drugs.
  • Work in hospitals or clinics or for Health Management Organizations (HMOs), dispensing prescriptions, serving as a medical team consultant, or specializing in specific drug therapy areas, such as oncology or nuclear pharmacotherapy.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Pharmacists review prescriptions to assure accuracy, ascertain the needed ingredients, and evaluate their suitability. They work in hospitals or clinics or for health management organizations (HMOs), dispensing prescriptions, serving as a medical team consultant, or specializing in specific drug therapy areas, such as oncology or nuclear pharmacotherapy.

A typical day for a Pharmacist will also include:

  • Plan, implement or maintain procedures for mixing, packaging, or labeling pharmaceuticals, according to policy and legal requirements, to ensure quality, security, and proper disposal.
  • Maintain records, such as pharmacy files, patient profiles, charge system files, inventories, control records for radioactive nuclei, or registries of poisons, narcotics, or controlled drugs.
  • Provide information and advice regarding drug interactions, side effects, dosage, and proper medication storage.
  • Order and purchase pharmaceutical supplies, medical supplies, or drugs, maintaining stock and storing and handling it properly.
  • Manage pharmacy operations, hiring or supervising staff, performing administrative duties, or buying or selling non-pharmaceutical merchandise.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Pharmacists also offer health promotion or prevention activities, such as training people to use blood pressure devices or diabetes monitors. They may also refer patients to other health professionals or agencies when appropriate.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Pharmacists update or troubleshoot pharmacy information databases. They might also compound and dispense medications as prescribed by doctors and dentists, by calculating, weighing, measuring, and mixing ingredients, or oversee these activities.

In addition, they collaborate with other health care professionals to plan, monitor, review, or evaluate the quality or effectiveness of drugs or drug regimens, providing advice on drug applications or characteristics.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them teach pharmacy students serving as interns in preparation for their graduation or licensure.

To some Pharmacists, it is also their responsibility to provide specialized services to help patients manage conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, smoking cessation, or high blood pressure.

Featured Schools


What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Very High

Is this job meaningful

Very High

77% said they were satisfied with their job and 78% said they found their job meaningful.


My typical day It’s a big mix of things: Patient drug therapy reviews Drug monitoring Drug order prescription verifications Physical verification of medications prior to dispensing Physical verification of compounded products Pharmacist to pharmacist communication Pharmacist to pharmacy technician communication Providing drug/poison information services to doctors, nurses, patients, and their families Interdisciplinary rounding with doctors, … Read More


The Independent Online Pharmacy

As an online pharmacist, the bulk of our work comes from either people ordering items from our website, orders from the NHS, or from partner businesses. Orders from our site fall into two categories: over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription. The former type is fairly straightforward, requiring a simple check from a pharmacist before issuing. The latter, … Read More


I am a pharmacist from Germany and I’ve been working for several years in a pharmacy. I studied from 2010-2016. After that, I started work in a local pharmacy. I usually start at 8 am and work 5-6 hours at the front desk consulting customers about different pharmaceuticals. The rest of the day until 5 … Read More


An independent community pharmacy

I am the Pharmacist in Charge at an independent community pharmacy. A typical day at work involves a team huddle to sort out tasks for the day, processing prescriptions, contacting clinics regarding refill requests and any unresolved prescription questions, and solving any problems that come up during the day. Pros A great work schedule (i.e., … Read More


Being a pharmacist is going to depend on the perspective of the pharmacist you talk to. Many who are stuck in the grind of retail pharmacies that are pushing larger workloads with fewer staff pharmacists may feel burnt out. Luckily for me, that is not a career burden I had to endure. Certainly, new students … Read More


I have been a pharmacist for 9 years and I currently work in a clinic-based setting, helping physicians and other healthcare professionals manage patient’s chronic disease states, such as hypertension and diabetes. I truly enjoy my job as I work closely with these providers to make evidence-based recommendations as well as consider each patient as … Read More


Pros

Suitable for people who like to solve problems mentally.

Suitable for people who want recognition and wants career advancement and a prestigious career.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

Normal working hours (40 hours per week).

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to work with designs.

It is very hard to get into this career. Extensive skills, knowledge, and experience are required for this career.

How much do they make

Average salary

$125460 per year

Average hourly wage

$60 per hour

Entry-level Pharmacists with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $85,210 to $112,690 per year or $41 to $54 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $164,980 $79
Senior (Top 25%) $147,690 $71
Median $128,710 $62
Junior (Bottom 25%) $112,690 $54
No experience (Bottom 10%) $85,210 $41

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Pharmacists based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Outpatient Care Centers $147130 $70.74
Grantmaking and Giving Services $142010 $68.27
Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories $134740 $64.78
Warehousing and Storage $133250 $64.06
Local Government $133250 $64.06
Management of Companies and Enterprises $132580 $63.74
Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers $131650 $63.29
Scientific Research and Development Services $130670 $62.82
Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly $129670 $62.34
Offices of Physicians $129340 $62.18

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Pharmacists work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Pharmacists including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Health and Personal Care Stores 135070 $122860 $59.07
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 78940 $128310 $61.69
Food and Beverage Stores 25490 $124120 $59.67
Merchant Wholesalers, Nondurable Goods 7470 $124470 $59.84
Outpatient Care Centers 6820 $147130 $70.74
Offices of Physicians 6460 $129340 $62.18
Federal Executive Branch 6280 $117550 $56.51
Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order Houses 4790 $128990 $62.01
Specialty Hospitals 3990 $126330 $60.74
Insurance Carriers 2730 $125260 $60.22

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
12%

40 hours
66%

More than 40 hours
22%

Working schedule

99%

1%

0%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
13%

Every day
82%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
0%

Every day
100%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
4%

Every day
95%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
57%

Once a year
27%

Once a month
4%

Once a week
6%

Every day
6%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
0%

Slightly competitive
15%

Moderately competitive
14%

Highly competitive
42%

Extremely competitive
28%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
0%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
100%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
93%

Once a year or more
7%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
96%

Once a year or more
3%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
97%

Once a year or more
3%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Very Hard
You will need an extensive amount of skill, knowledge, and experience. Careers in this difficulty category usually require graduate school and more than five years of experience. These careers usually involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Similar careers include Pharmacists, Lawyers, Astronomers, Neurologists, and Veterinarians.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
0%

High School Diploma or equivalent
0%

Post-Secondary Certificate
0%

Some College Courses
0%

Associate’s Degree or similar
0%

Bachelor’s Degree
10%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
11%

Master’s Degree
4%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
38%

Doctoral Degree
37%

Post-Doctoral Training
1%

Relevant majors

Medication Systems and Operations Pharmacy Residency/Fellowship Program

A residency or fellowship program for licensed pharmacists that provides advanced training in medication systems and operations.

Transplantation Pharmacy Residency/Fellowship Program

A residency or fellowship program for licensed pharmacists that provides advanced training in transplantation pharmacy.


Pharmacy Informatics Pharmacy Residency/Fellowship Program

A residency or fellowship program for licensed pharmacists that provides advanced training in pharmacy informatics.

Pharmacotherapy Pharmacy Residency/Fellowship Program

A residency or fellowship program for licensed pharmacists that provides advanced training in pharmacotherapy.

Oncology Pharmacy Residency/Fellowship Program

A residency or fellowship program for licensed pharmacists that provides advanced training in oncology pharmacy.


Nutrition Support Pharmacy Residency/Fellowship Program

A residency or fellowship program for licensed pharmacists that provides advanced training in nutrition support.

Neurology Pharmacy Residency/Fellowship Program

A residency or fellowship program for licensed pharmacists that provides advanced training in neurology pharmacy.

Neonatal Pharmacy Residency/Fellowship Program

A residency or fellowship program for licensed pharmacists that provides advanced training in neonatal pharmacy.


Psychiatric Pharmacy Residency/Fellowship Program

A residency or fellowship program for licensed pharmacists that provides advanced training in psychiatric pharmacy.

Pediatric Pharmacy Residency/Fellowship Program

A residency or fellowship program for licensed pharmacists that provides advanced training in pediatric pharmacy.

Nuclear Pharmacy Residency/Fellowship Program

A residency or fellowship program for licensed pharmacists that provides advanced training in nuclear pharmacy.


Medication-Use Safety Pharmacy Residency/Fellowship Program

A residency or fellowship program for licensed pharmacists that provides advanced training in medication-use safety.

Palliative Care/Pain Management Pharmacy Residency/Fellowship Program

A residency or fellowship program for licensed pharmacists that provides advanced training in palliative care and pain management.

Managed Care Pharmacy Residency/Fellowship Program

A residency or fellowship program for licensed pharmacists that provides advanced training in managed care pharmacy.


Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
28%

1 month
0%

1 to 3 months
4%

3 to 6 months
5%

6 months to 1 year
19%

1 to 2 years
28%

2 to 4 years
16%

4 to 6 years
0%

6 to 8 years
1%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
6%

1 month
32%

1 to 3 months
26%

3 to 6 months
13%

6 months to 1 year
0%

1 to 2 years
11%

2 to 4 years
11%

4 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Thinker

People with this personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.

The Builder
48%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
100%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
19%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
62%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
38%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
76%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like working with ideas and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

They also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
67%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
67%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
81%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
71%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
76%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
67%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


Don’t know which career to pursue?

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