Being a pharmacist is a challenging and rewarding profession. It is also a highly specialized profession. Pharmacists are healthcare professionals who specialize in medication—that is, in dispensing, preserving, producing, measuring, and storing medications. Doctors are permitted to prescribe medications, but only pharmacists are permitted to dispense them to patients.
Unlike physicians in the United States, pharmacists do not need to obtain a medical doctorate (MD) in order to practice. Instead, they need a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D). Typically, it takes pharmacists six to eight years of post-secondary study before they can practice: three to four years of an undergraduate prerequisite degree followed by three to four years of a professional doctorate. After completing their Pharm.D, pharmacists often do one to two years of residency.
Where Do Pharmacists Work?
Pharmacists, like other health professionals, work in various locations, among them:
- Drug stores
- The military
- Grocery stores
- Oncology centers
- Poison control centers
- Long term care facilities
- Pediatric departments
Where a pharmacist works typically depends on what type of pharmacist they are.
What Types of Pharmacists Are There?
Generally, there are 10 types of pharmacists:
- Retail pharmacist
- Nuclear pharmacist
- Home care pharmacist
- Drug safety officer
- Ambulatory care pharmacist
- Specialty drug pharmacist
- Informatics pharmacist
- Research pharmacist
- Hospital pharmacist
- Military pharmacist
1 Retail pharmacist
A retail pharmacist, otherwise known as a community pharmacist, is what most people think of when they think of pharmacists. A retail pharmacist works at pharmacies, where they dispense medications including over-the-counter medications. Some also do simple health tests and administer vaccinations. Retail pharmacists ensure patients get their medication on time and may use scheduler API for pharmacies to ensure reliable and punctual service.
2 Nuclear pharmacist
Nuclear pharmacists specialize in drugs containing radioactive materials that are used, for instance, to treat cancer in combination with chemotherapy.
3 Home care pharmacist
These pharmacists work outside pharmacies and hospitals, instead working directly with patients in home settings. In addition to preparing and providing medications in home settings, they may administer specialty drugs, provide parenteral nutrition, and prepare intravenous medication.
4 Drug safety officer
Drug safety officers make sure that drugs sold by pharmacies and dispensed by pharmacists meet regulatory standards and are safe to consume. They often publish research reports on drug safety.
5 Ambulatory care pharmacist
Also called outpatient care pharmacists, ambulatory care pharmacists work outside hospital settings, in dialysis centers, outpatient centers, physician’s offices, and ambulatory care centers.
6 Speciality drug pharmacist
Specialty drug pharmacists specialize in specialty drugs used to treat severe medical conditions. Specialty drugs refer to drugs that come with a high risk of side effects, require special storage, or are unusually expensive.
7 Informatics pharmacist
Informatics pharmacists are more tech-savvy than the average pharmacist. They deal with medication-related technology that, for instance, integrates technology into the storage and distribution of drugs. The goal of these technologies is to minimize the risk of error when administering medication.
8 Research pharmacist
Research pharmacists, otherwise known as academic pharmacists, donot work as practicing pharmacists but rather as academics in pharmacy and pharmacy-related fields. They conduct research and deliver lectures. One of the most exciting things research pharmacists do is help develop new medications.
9 Hospital pharmacist
Hospital pharmacists work at hospitals and file doctor prescriptions.
10 Military pharmacist
Military pharmacists work in the armed forces, providing healthcare services and medication to military personnel.