What are the usual professional responsibilities of pharmacists? Well, they dispense medicine prescribed by the physicians, in the first place. Also they are responsible to give the customers knowledgeable advice regarding the possible side effects and dosage of the medications to be administered. In case the patient should be made aware of the necessity to take certain precautions to be observed during the course of medications, a pharmacist is responsible for informing the patience about such precautions, if any are needed. Such are the most common responsibilities of pharmacists, as they are widely assumed by the general public. Still, as any licensed pharmacist can tell you, the responsibilities are not limited to those mentioned above. First of all, any licensed pharmacist is required to have a degree in pharmacology. Secondly, such specialist should be aware of the various medicines, their generic name, dosage and possible side effects. Besides the good professional understanding of the regulating legislature related to manufacture and sale of various medicines any good professional pharmacist must command sound understanding and knowledge of the composition of medicines. And that is not all, such issues as the right storage conditions for the medicines are of critical importance, since the efficiency of prescription medications during the period of their shelf life largely depends on the correctness of their storage conditions!
As you see, any licensed pharmacist has a long road of learning to go before been accepted as a fully-fledged and respected member of the pharmacists community! But the natural questions are “How good are the employment opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry today? But what do the forecasts for the near future hold in stock for pharmacists? Is it really worthwhile to invest time and hard-earned money into becoming a professional pharmacist?” All these question are quite justified, since nobody would like to send time and money down the drain, investing them into professional specialization that turns out to be without future.
Let us have a closer look at the present-day employment opportunities of freshly graduated pharmacists and the expectations for the near future.
As has been confirmed by the various reports of analytical agencies specializing in the job-market related issues, the pharmacist’s specialization enjoys quite enviable demand. Traditionally, the most of the pharmacists still find employment with community pharmacies and drug stores, as they used to do over the decades. Well, that is no surprise, people got used to seen a pharmacists behind the counter of a drug-store or a pharmacy, handing out the prescription medicines as well as those that do not require prescription (they are justly referred to by the term of “over-the-counter” medicines). On the other hand, during the last decade the professional pharmacists have been in huge demand in public service and pharmaceutical industry. Hospitals, railways, large shopping centers and airports – they all look for good professionals in the field to fill in vacancies in their specialized their drug stores. Another interesting job opportunity for pharmacists could be found with medical drug information libraries and consulting, since the medical and nursing staffs are in need of information about new drugs – the industry of medications is constantly advancing, coming up each month and year with new generations of medications. Many specialists in pharmacology who graduated as pharmacists have developed successful and self-fulfilling careers, finding employment as tutors in colleges and universities. Others prefer to write or edit books of pharmacology, as well as reference guides – as you see, the employment and career opportunities in the pharmacology industry are in plenty!
What about the forecasts and expectations for the near future? The demand for professionals in the pharmacology in general and for the pharmacists in particular is expected only to grow considerably during the period through 2016 and beyond. The reasons for such forecasts are well-grounded. The population will continue growing in numbers – and the numbers of hospitals and other health care establishments are destined to grow accordingly, to accommodate the increasing demand. That means that more and more pharmacists will be required to fill in new outlets and positions – in traditional drug-stores, in hospitals and related job settings. Secondly, the number of senior citizens is also expected to grow considerably. Senior citizens of all the aged population groups are known to be the main consumers of prescription and “over-the-counter” drugs. As the result, the demand for specialists able to handle the growing demand on the part of the patients is guaranteed to increase over the practically foreseeable future period.
What are the usual education and certification requirements for those whishing to take up a career as pharmacists?
The educational and certification demands for pharmacists are very definite and strict. All persons, whishing to build a career of pharmacists are required to have a degree from a college (associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s one), upon which they need to get licensed by the pertinent agency in order to start a professional career of a licensed pharmacist. Besides, the educational establishment they have gradated from should be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education and Examinations. Such are the basic mandatory requirements for a professional licensed pharmacist, wishing to start up a successful career in the industry.
Besides the specific subjects, related to pharmacist’s specialization, any accredited pharmacy degree program should usually include courses in mathematics, natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences.
As you see, the academic requirements for the pharmacology students are noticeably high. In order to insure the adequate level of academic excellence among their student the majority of the pharmacy colleges have introduced admission tests for aspiring students.
The students, whishing to continue education – as well as those who have already some experience in the professional field and are after the better career opportunities – are offered continuing education options, such as bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as doctorates in various specialized areas of pharmaceutical industries.
One of the good options for busy working professionals to continue education and get a higher academic degree in pharmacology would be to make use of modern means of distance education – the online pharmacy degree training schools and programs. Those online establishments – surely, we are speaking about the reputable and properly accredited courses, nothing like some shady “diploma mill” sites – have proved to be a good competition to the traditional, campus-based ones.
Another consideration to be given a serious attention and thought – as far as career advancement in pharmacology and pharmacy industry is concerned – is that your success would largely depend on the type of work you will be able to get and your business talents/skills/experience. As an illustration to this statement you could easily find online the career stories of success: for instance, people who worked for drugstore chains became top-managers. Pharmacists employed at various hospitals – general or specialized – got to be directors of pharmacy services. The government agencies and educational institutions also offer interesting and promising openings. Pharmacy degree specialist could also build excellent careers by taking up teaching or research, that all depends on your personal talents, individual inclinations, career objectives etc. Anyway, besides the required level of academic excellence, necessary for each specific position, any newly graduated pharmacist should realize that their jobs always require them to communicate and interact with people of different types. From this point of view good person-to-person communication skills would always be a great advantage, so take care to acquire them by all means!