Pharmacists are health professionals responsible for the dispensation of prescription and nonprescription medications. They act as consultants to health practitioners and the general public concerning possible adverse drug reactions and interactions, and may also give advice relating to home medical supplies and durable health care equipment. The role of the pharmacist has evolved into that of consultant and medicinal expert, because of the expanded duties of pharmacy technicians and the increasing time restrictions placed on health maintenance organization physicians.

The most common pharmacist positions are that of a community pharmacist or retail pharmacist. A community pharmacist works behind the counter at a pharmacy such as Wal-Mart, CVS, or Walgreens, along with pharmacy technicians. A pharmacist can also work as a hospital pharmacist where they instruct and counsel patients on the proper use and adverse effects of medically prescribed drugs and medicines. There are more thanĀ 287,420 pharmacists in the United States.

Quick Facts
Duties Dispense drugs to patients and explain how the medication should be taken; monitor patient drug use; advise doctors on generic alternatives; recommend over-the-counter medications; write for peer-reviewed journals
Alternate Title(s) Community Pharmacists, Hospital Pharmacists, Retail Pharmacists
Salary Range $75,000 to $100,000+
Employment Prospects Excellent
Advancement Prospects Good
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Nationwide
Education and Training
  • Doctorate
Related School Subjects
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
Experience Internship
  • Math
  • Organizational
  • Scientific
Personality Traits
  • Helpful
  • Organized
  • Scientific
Licensure/Certification Required
Special Requirements None
Career Ladder
  • Owner, Pharmacy
  • Chief Pharmacist
  • Pharmacist
  • Pharmacy Intern

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Health Service Administrator

  • $0
  • 25
  • 50
  • 75
  • 100
  • 100+
Yearly Salary Range (US$ Thousands)