About the Profession
Pharmacists are integral to the American health care system. They are the medication experts, and pharmacists offer education and advice to patients in a variety of settings, from community pharmacies to hospitals, and from long-term care centers to neighborhood clinics. New pharmacists must complete a minimum of six years of challenging undergraduate and professional coursework leading to a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree and pass licensure exams.
The type of pharmaceutical care delivered to patients from pharmacists depends on the practice environments. For instance, in community pharmacy, pharmacists have opportunities for direct patient care and provide prescription and over-the-counter medications, health information, and answers to questions from patients about possible drug interactions and how to take medications. In hospital pharmacy, pharmacists work closely with physicians and other health care professionals to make sure patients get the proper drug therapy and know how to use their medications safety and appropriately. Consultant pharmacists are often not directly involved in dispensing medications, but instead review drug regiments taken by patients in long-term care facilities.
Many other career possibilities are available to pharmacists. For more information, please consult the following sources:
American Pharmacists Association
National Association of Chain Drug Stores
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners' Future Vision of Pharmacy Practice