What Does a Pharmacist Do?
A pharmacist is one such job that works for pharmaceutical retailers. This job requires much more than standing behind the counter handing out prescriptions to people who need them. Rather, it involves reading prescriptions from medical doctors and gathering it all together for the patient. This "gathering" of the retail pharmaceuticals requires that the pharmacist understand correct dosages, labels, ingredients in medications, as well as the side effects of different medications. Once the prescription has placed in a prescription bottle, the pharmacist can then hand it off to the patient.
Patient education is another aspect very relevant to a pharmacists job working for pharmaceutical retailers. Pharmacists should not only discuss potential side effects of medications with patients before giving them to patients, but they also must be knowledgeable enough to answer any questions asked by customers. Many times, customers ask pharmacists for general advice about medications, diet and exercise, stress management, as well as a variety of other issues. Pharmacists should be informed enough to discuss these issues or refer them to someone who can.
Other Pharmaceutical Jobs
There are plenty of other jobs in the retail pharmaceuticals industry as well. For example, pharmacy technicians and aides work right alongside licensed pharmacists who prepare and dispense medications. In addition, pharmaceutical representatives work for pharmacy companies that manufacture specific medications that are prescribed and used by medical doctors. Jobs working for these wholesale pharmaceutical retailers requires marketing different medications to hospitals, doctor's offices, and other medical centers to get support for new medications on the market and to solicit orders for them. As a successful representative in the retail pharmaceuticals industry, a representative has the opportunity to make upwards of a six-figure salary depending on commission structures.
Education and Training for Pharmacy Jobs
The education and training required in order to land jobs with pharmaceutical retailers involves extensive work beyond that of an associate's or bachelor's degree, especially for the job of a pharmacist. In fact, pharmacists earn the Pharm.D. degree, which is typically four years of course work beyond an actual undergraduate program.
During the undergraduate program, graduate schools look for students who have completed several math as well as science courses such as a biology, chemistry, and physics core curriculum. After admittance to a Pharm.D. degree program, the student learns about all aspects of drug therapy, how medications interact, and the appropriate procedures and protocols of a pharmacist. To have a better chance of landing a job with pharmaceutical retailers, pharmacists may take the time immediately following graduation to complete a one- or two-year residency program.
Less Training for Pharm Techs and Representatives
Though not required to have as much training as a licensed pharmacist, pharmacy technicians and aides can complete formal education programs, such as a certificate or associates degree, which is looked favorably by pharmaceutical retailers. In addition, a pharmaceutical representative working in the retail pharmaceuticals industry is also typically required to have a solid background not only in sales, but also in biology, chemistry, or other education related to selling prescription medications.
As you can see, several opportunities exist in the retail pharmaceuticals industry whether you want to work for a medicine shop or pharmacy or for a corporation that actually manufactures medications. With the combination of the right education, experience, and on-the-job training in some cases such as that of a pharmacy technician or aide, getting a job with pharmaceutical retailers may be difficult but rewarding.