Thinking of a profession as a pharmacist?

A study made by U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics says that pharmacists’ jobs are expected to grow rapidly in the next few years. The pharmaceutical market is currently valued at $300 million and is expanding in areas of research, development, testing and distribution. Moreover, this is one of the well-paid jobs globally. Acting as a bridge between health and chemical sciences, pharmacists distribute medical drugs. Not only do they regulate the entire process of medical drug distribution, but also provide drug information, while looking over the safety and effectiveness.

So if you keep interest in medical science and considering becoming a pharmacist, you have to get a professional license as a pharmacist. Here are certain tips that will guide you through the entire process of becoming a successful pharmacist.

To become a licensed pharmacist, you need to hold a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. You can opt for this degree only if you are a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy. You might also need to clear PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test) to get admission in certain colleges and schools of pharmacy. To get a hands-on professional experience of the industry, you can start interning in community and hospital pharmacies even while studying. If you are already employed and can’t afford to attend regular schools, there are various online pharmacy degree programs that will allow you to study from home. There are six to seven-year combined programs as well which award both a bachelor’s and doctor of pharmacy degree upon graduation. Once you pass all exams required by the jurisdiction in which you want to practice, they will issue your license and hurray! You are good to go.

The rules and regulations of the entire process of getting a license depend on the jurisdiction’s board of pharmacy of that particular state or country. You need to get a professional license issued by the state jurisdiction where you want to practise your profession. In case you want to practise in a different state, you will have to transfer your license, which can be done easily or in some cases, you might have to sit for additional exams.  As a licensed pharmacist, you can practice in pharmacies, companies that manufacture medicines and drugs and also get engaged with research centres to work on advanced medicines. There are specialized positions in this industry such as Pharmaco epidemiology, Pharmaco economics, Gerontology, Global Medicine, Healthcare Decision Analysis and you can select what interests you the most.

You will have to fill prescriptions, inspect drug orders and provide accurate information. Your primary job will be to instruct patients on how and when to take prescribed medicine while informing them on contraindications and side effects if any. Moreover, pharmacists are also responsible for offering advice on diet, exercise and managing stress along with information on equipment available to help manage health conditions.

It takes more than qualifying exams

Yes, to gain success in this industry, as much as passing the exams matter, it is also important to have certain qualities in you. For example, it helps if you possess good organizational and problem-solving skills because you will have to uphold service standards for counselling, dispensing, pricing, licensing, managing inventory and record keeping of medical history.

You need to have a good memory because recalling brand names, medical components, side effects, and possible drug interactions is not easy, but vital for the health and safety of those you will cater to. You need to be familiar with the smallest details and any mistake in this regard is not negotiable as a minor mistake in dosage can even turn out to be fatal.

You need to have a thorough understanding of the drugs available because you will be the one in charge of distributing them. Moreover, you need to have a good communication skill as you will need to discuss the treatment plans with doctors and inform them with updated news of the industry in terms of research and availability of new drugs. As a pharmacist, you will come in contact with a variety of individuals in your daily work life and have to answer their queries. It can be beneficial for you if you have knowledge of accounting, merchandising, and legal issues of the medical industry for your future growth, if you are planning to open your own pharmacy.

Modern-day pharmacists also need to be tech-savvy as a huge section of the industry has already been digitalized and the next few years will see a complete digitalization of the entire industry. Electronic transmission of prescriptions is gaining widespread usage and the entire management of the drug database which includes maintaining records is now all computerized.