Pharmacists are responsible for filling patients’ prescriptions with the correct medicines. They tell them about the medicines and how to use them. Pharmacists work with doctors on choosing the right medicines, making sure they will work with other medications taken by the patient and explaining side effects.
Pre-pharmacy students must complete at least two years of college to be eligible for pharmacy school, though most complete 3-4 years of a bachelor’s degree program. While bachelor’s degrees in pharmacy were once the requirement for entry-level positions, pharmacists are now required to hold Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) professional degrees. Pharm.D. programs take four years to complete and prepare students for the technical, scientific and patient-care aspects of the profession.
Miranda Henley, Pharmacist
Pharmacy is such a rewarding career. I couldn’t have picked a better career path. I work as a retail pharmacist in an independent pharmacy that I now own. I love what I do! And I don’t know a lot of other people who can say that. Don’t get me wrong, there are days that are extremely stressful and crazy but at the end of the day I still believe I chose the right career.
I graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy in 2009 so I have been a pharmacist for 5 years now. When I was in high school, I struggled with what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I knew I wanted to do something in the health care field and always assumed I would be a doctor but after some thorough reading and thinking I knew that was not the best option for me. One day, my mom suggested I look into pharmacy as a career. So I looked into what being a pharmacist was like and decided I was interested in pursuing this career path. I then decided to get a job in a pharmacy as a pharmacy technician. After a few weeks I knew this was the right choice for me.
The thing I love most about pharmacy is the patient contact. I love being able to visit with patients when they come in and being available to answer their questions when needed. Getting to know my patients and see them on a regular basis and be able to help solve their problems when they arise is what makes my job so great and rewarding. I also like that there are so many different options career wise for a pharmacist – from retail to hospital to clinical pharmacy the options are endless depending on what you like to do.
A typical day for me involves checking prescriptions that the pharmacy technicians have entered and counted, answering patient questions, consulting with physicians, compounding, or reviewing patient charts at the nursing home. I certainly never get bored.
My best advice for someone thinking about pharmacy as a career option is to get some experience in the field. It’s hard to understand what we do as pharmacists without actually seeing us work. Whether you job shadow or actually work as a pharmacy technician you can’t beat experiencing pharmacy for yourself. A career in the health care field is a great option so definitely take a look at becoming a pharmacist.