Exploring Careers in Pharmacies

In the United States, those individuals that engage in careers in pharmacies are considered to be the leading experts regarding medicine. This makes the opportunity for acquiring a job in pharmacology very accessible for many individuals. This career is considered to be one of the fastest growing practitioners in the industry of healthcare. In this article, you will be introduced to practitioners in pharmacies.

Today, many different types of doctors make a diagnosis on the many ailments that people and animals may experience. One of the steps that can help humans and animals recover from the ailments that they experience is by participating in prescription therapy. Numerous healthcare professionals write prescriptions. These include general doctors, pediatricians, psychiatrists, optometrists, dentists, and even veterinarians. The pharmacy is the location where the prescriptions, or drug orders, are filled and then dispensed to the proper individuals.

In a pharmacy, you will typically find two types of jobs. That of the pharmacist and that of the pharmacy technician. You may also find pharmacy assistants or sales associates in the pharmacy as well. These individuals must take the prescription, decipher the handwriting on it, make an overall interpretation of the prescription, select the medication from the stock, count out or measure the prescription, and make an appropriate label for the medication.

In addition to the above task, the patient must receive counseling on the medications that they are going to be ingesting. It is also the duty of the individuals who have practitioners in pharmacies to maintain the records of the customers. Insurance information must also be collected, confirmed, documented, and recorded so that the companies may pay their share of an individuals cost that are associated with medicines. This profession can be quite stressful due to the laws and liabilities that are deal with. This is why practitioners in pharmacies require an individual to be properly educated.


Pharmacists are considered to be the "drug information specialists". These are the most highly trained individuals in the pharmacy. While pharmacy technicians and assistants may have the same basic understanding as a pharmacist on many things, the pharmacist is the one with the official educational background and certification to accurately perform their duties within the state that they practice. These individuals verify the prescriptions that are filled prior to being given to the patient. There are also responsible for discussing the medication with the patients.

In addition to the above information, a pharmacist may find that they are in a position where they must offer advice to doctors and other professionals on certain kinds of medicines. Some of these individuals have the ability to write prescriptions. However, the ability to perform this task is directly related to what the laws outline in regards to the specific area in which that pharmacist works.

Individuals who are interested in acquiring the ability to become a pharmacist must attend college. Those that attend college for four to five years are issued a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy. Once this is acquired, an R.Ph will be added to the end of the name of the individual. There is also a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree that many choose to obtain in the field. These can be obtained once the BS degree is obtained. Individuals may elect to simply enter an add on program that enriches their current degree.

The following classes outline the coursework that pharmacists are generally subjected to when acquiring a degree in pharmacology:

1. Writing

2. Sociology

3. History

4. Ethics

5. Communications

6. Psychology
7. Advanced Math Courses

8. Biology

9. Chemistry

10. Medications and Drug Courses

11. Pharmacology Machinery

12. Pharmacological Calculations

This particular job pays an average of $ 50,000.00 – $ 175,000.00 annually, depending on the size of the area in which the individual works, the demand, and the educational background achieved in the areas related to the profession.

Pharmacy Technicians

Pharmacy technicians play a very important role in pharmacies in the United States and Canada. These individuals normally work to greet the customers that visit the pharmacy and answer telephone calls. It is very common for the pharmacy technician to deal with customers, insurance companies, and doctors directly. They assist in filling and dispensing process within the pharmacy as well. Operating computers, understanding the technical aspects of the inner workings of the pharmacy and dealing with pharmacological calculations and measurements is a common task.

A certification is normally required to become a pharmacy technician. The most common classes for an individual in this career include:

1. Regulations for Drug Development

2. Drug Manufacturers

3. Medical Terminology

4. Pharmaceutical Calculations

5. Dosages forms and Administration

6. Prescriptions

7. Pharmaceutical Dispensing

8. Anatomy and Physiology

9. Basic Chemistry of Drug Molecules

10. Over-The-Counter Drugs

11. Package Inserts

12. Drug Emergencies

The average pharmacy technician can receive their education in less than two years time. The average pay rate for this position ranges from $ 12.00 – $ 18.00 per hour depending on the location of the pharmacy and the demand for certified pharmacy technicians.

Pharmaceutical Companies

Biogen Idec – Canada

Amgen – Canada

MedImmune – Canada

Chiron Corporation – Canada

Millennium Pharmaceuticals – Canada

Johnson & Johnson – United States

Pfizer – United States

Abbott Laboratories – United States

Wyeth – United States

Proctor & Gamble – United States