A pharmacist is a healthcare practitioner who dispenses prescribed medication to patients as well as offers advise on their safe usage. He also plays an integral part in advising the health practitioners and doctors on appropriate drug selection and dosage. Besides, a pharmacist can monitor the usage of the medication and the progress of a patient's health. Some pharmacists prefer working in universities or in pharmaceutical companies, as their job here entails conducting research and testing new medication.
Credentials Required to be a Pharmacist
While it is mandatory to have a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from an accredited university, a degree in either public health or business administration is a must for a pharmacist. Apart from this, a pharmacist has to clear two exams - one consisting of pharmacy skills and knowledge and the other consisting of pharmacy law pertaining to the state.
What skills does a pharmacist should possess?
A pharmacist has to constantly interact with the patients, which means he becomes the main point of contact in the process of providing healthcare. For this he/she has to ...
- Possess refined analytical skills
- Hone communication skills
- Cultivate proactive attitude by being detail-oriented
- Possess good managerial skills
The salary range for a pharmacist begins at $40.62/hr and goes up to $69.27/hr, the median for which rests at an approximate $54.51/hr. This means that the annual wage spans anywhere between $84,490 to $144,090, and on an average about 50% of the pharmacists in the United States earn $113,390 annually.
Pharmacists in Alaska, which is the top paying state for this occupation, earn approximately $60.25 on an hourly basis. This makes their average pay an approximate $125,330 per year.
One of the main factors affecting the average wage of a pharmacist is the sector/industry in which they are employed. Take for example, a pharmacist employed in Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing industry can earn an average of $60.33 per hour while a pharmacist working at an Outpatient Care Center can earn $56.49 per hour.
The top-paying states for this occupation are mentioned in the table below. The statistics are as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
AlaskaAprx. wage/hour: $60.25
Aprx. wage/year: $125,330
CaliforniaAprx. wage/hour: $59.04
Aprx. wage/year: $122,800
AlabamaAprx. wage/hour: $57.60
Aprx. wage/year: $119,810
TennesseeAprx. wage/hour: $55.51
Aprx. wage/year: $115,460
TexasAprx. wage/hour: $54.60
Aprx. wage/year: $113,570
OregonAprx. wage/hour: $54.22
Aprx. wage/year: $112,770
MaineAprx. wage/hour: $60.24
Aprx. wage/year: $125,310
VermontAprx. wage/hour: $58.89
Aprx. wage/year: $122,490
West VirginiaAprx. wage/hour: $55.74
Aprx. wage/year: $115,950
South CarolinaAprx. wage/hour: $55.18
Aprx. wage/year: $114,780
MichiganAprx. wage/hour: $54.38
Aprx. wage/year: $113,100
FloridaAprx. wage/hour: $53.73
Aprx. wage/year: $111,760
In brief, the duties of a pharmacist entail...
- Filling prescriptions
- Verifying instructions from the physicians on the amount of medication to be given
- Checking if the prescribed medication is suitable for patients
- Making the patients aware of the possible side effects of medicines
- Advising on the possible interference of certain medicines with health conditions or other medication
- Advising patients on general health topics
- Mediating between the patient and the insurance company
- Supervising the work of pharmacy technicians and interns
- Record keeping and administrative tasks
- Prescribing over-the-counter medication
- Providing referrals to other physicians if needed
Besides all the duties that a pharmacist has to perform, the sole duty is to cultivate a bond of trust between the clients.