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Pharmacy

A career in pharmacy is much more than counting pills. Pharmacists provide pharmaceutical care to millions in patient-centered, outcome-driven settings. As a member of the total health care management team, the pharmacist is uniquely qualified and positioned to positively impact patient outcomes. With thousands of prescription and over-the-counter drugs being sold in the U.S., the pharmacy has evolved into a consultation center where patients learn more about their medications and ways to increase safety and effectiveness of treatments. Providing excellent care is further challenged by the fact that many patients take a variety of drugs and see several health care specialists, placing the pharmacist in the critical position to monitor and advise both patients and physicians.

Pharmacists work in a wide range of settings. While the retail pharmacy may be the most familiar setting (65%), pharmacists also work in hospitals (22%), research facilities, home health care, compounding pharmacies, veterinary, mail order, government and nuclear pharmacy settings. The American Pharmacists Association provides Career Option Profiles which discuss not only the characteristics of each career setting, but also provide survey results from pharmacists about working conditions and duties. 

The job outlook for pharmacists is expected to grow more slowly than other employment sectors and job prospects are expected to decline slightly according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment of pharmacists is expected to grow 3% between 2014 and 2024. Median wages of pharmacists in May 2015 was $121,500, with 90% of pharmacists earning more than $86,790 per year. Demand will also grow for additional pharmacists in mail order settings, outpatient care centers, doctor offices, and nursing care facilities. The number of pharmacy schools has grown in recent years, creating more pharmacy school graduates and therefore more competition for jobs. Students who choose to complete a residency program gain additional experience that may improve their job prospects. Certification from the Board of Pharmacy Specialtiesor as a Certified Diabetes Educator may also be viewed favorably by employers.

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