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Pharmacy Careers

When it comes to the pharmacy industry, there are endless career specialties!

If you are exploring the possibility of pursuing a career in the industry, we encourage you to learn more about these career specialties to find the best fit for you. You can get started today by clicking on the pharmacy career specialty areas below to read more!

A career you’ll be into for the long-term!

Ambulatory care pharmacists provide critically important information to patients and their caregivers on a one-on-one basis regarding the safe and appropriate use of medications. These counseling sessions often occur between the patients’ visits to their physician or other health care professional, so the ambulatory pharmacist can assess how well the patients are taking and tolerating their medicines over time.

Ambulatory care pharmacists also work with other health care professionals to ensure that patients receive the right medications for their individual medical situations.

They may focus on general care or specific disease states, such as diabetes, asthma, HIV, or pain management, and they provide care for these illnesses by applying their extensive medication expertise, rather than directly handling medications.

  • Practice Setting: Ambulatory care pharmacists work in clinical office settings and pharmacies. Examples include non-hospital settings like pharmacies, clinics, and physician offices.
  • Educational Requirements: Ambulatory care pharmacists generally complete 1-2 years in a residency and/or pass a board certification exam after earning a PharmD degree.
  • Patients: They treat patients with multiple, short-term, or long-term medical conditions who frequently take multiple medications.
  • Traits: You like the idea of building long-term relationships with patients and other health care professionals, and you would prefer to work outside of a hospital setting. Additionally, you have the ability deal with complex issues and conditions.

A career you will put your heart into.

Cardiology pharmacists are experts on medications designed for patients with, or at risk for, cardiovascular disease and participate in patient rounds with other health professionals.

Cardiology pharmacists are involved in all aspects of cardiac care including heart transplants, artificial heart pumps, and anticoagulation (blood clot prevention).

Pharmacists who specialize in this area work as part of a health care team that may include dietitians, cardiologists, neurologists, cardiac rehabilitation nurses, and others.

It’s common for cardiology pharmacists to provide care by applying their extensive medication expertise instead of handling medications directly.

  • Practice Setting: They work in a variety of settings, including hospital emergency rooms, intensive care units (ICUs), cardiac care units (CCUs), and specialty outpatient clinics that focus on heart-related problems, such as high blood pressure (hypertension), irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias), and strokes.
  • Educational Requirements: They generally complete 1-2 years in a residency and/or pass a board certification exam after earning a PharmD degree.
  • Patients: Cardiology pharmacists treat patients with cardiovascular (heart) disease who often take multiple drugs and have complex health issues that require specialized care.
  • Traits: You are interested in conditions related to the heart and blood, have the ability deal with complex issues and conditions, and are comfortable working with individuals who may be seriously ill.

Caring for patients close to your heart—and home.

Community pharmacists are the most accessible members of the health care team. They use their expertise to prepare and dispense prescriptions, ensure the medicines and doses are correct based on a patient’s health and other factors, safeguard against drug interactions, and counsel patients regarding safe and appropriate use of medications.

They provide immunizations (e.g., flu shots) and guidance on possible interactions with herbal supplements or other over-the-counter medications. Many also provide wellness services, such as smoking cessation and blood pressure monitoring programs, to help people live healthier lives.

Community pharmacists answer consulting calls from other health care professionals, communicate with insurance companies about payments, and are key players in the fight against opioid abuse.

  • Practice Setting: Community pharmacies are located everywhere—from small, individually owned pharmacies to large chain stores. However, fewer than half of all pharmacists work in community pharmacy settings.
  • Educational Requirements: All new community pharmacists must earn a PharmD degree in order to provide care and dispense medications to patients.
  • Patients: Community pharmacists work with members of the local community.
  • Traits: You want to be a valuable member of your local community. Additionally, you would like the flexibility to work in a wide varie

A career that lets you mix things up a little.

Compounding pharmacists prepare customized or personalized medications in response to a prescription or when commercially available drug products do not meet a patient’s individual needs.

For instance, a compounding pharmacist may change a medication to alter its strength for a child who needs a lower dose, add a flavor to make it taste better, remove non-essential ingredients (e.g., gluten or dye) for patients who are allergic, or change its form (e.g., from pill to liquid) to make it easier to use or swallow.

  • Practice Setting: They work in highly sterile, controlled and safe laboratories, which can be independent or inside of a medical facility.
  • Educational Requirements: While all pharmacists are educated about compounding in pharmacy school, a compounding pharmacist may complete additional training in this area after earning a PharmD degree.
  • Patients: Compounding pharmacists work daily to provide medications to a variety of patients, but don’t typically interact with them directly.
  • Traits: You enjoy the idea of creating custom medicines and solving complex problems. Additionally, you want to work in a unique and less common area of pharmacy, and would prefer to work in a laboratory setting.

A career that helps add life to years and years to life.

Geriatric pharmacists, also known as senior care or consultant pharmacists, specialize in treating older adults who may take several medications to manage multiple long-term health issues such as diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, pain, or other conditions associated with aging.

Geriatric pharmacists work as part of a health care team to counsel patients and their caregivers regarding safe and appropriate use of medications and meet the unique needs of the senior population.

  • Practice Setting: They work in all settings including in or near hospitals, long-term care facilities (e.g., nursing care homes), assisted living centers, and community pharmacies in residential communities designed for older adults.
  • Educational Requirements: Geriatric pharmacists generally complete 1-2 years in a residency and/or pass a board certification exam after earning a PharmD degree. Some states also require a special consultant pharmacist license.
  • Patients: Geriatric pharmacists specialize in treating older adults who may take several medications to manage multiple long-term health issues.
  • Traits: You have an interest in connecting with older adults, are comfortable working with complex health issues, and would like to be part of a team and community.

You must admit, you would be great in this career.

Hospital staff pharmacists, also known as acute care or internal medicine pharmacists, provide a variety of services that are critical to the care provided in hospitals.

As an important member of the interprofessional health care team, hospital pharmacists participate in patient rounds with other health care professionals who rely on pharmacists’ expertise to make medication decisions and assure optimal patient care.

In addition to preparing and dispensing medications, hospital pharmacists review patient charts, monitor medication therapy, develop pharmacy procedures to ensure patients receive the right medications at the right time, and make medication purchasing and budget decisions. They also spend their time counseling patients regarding medications when they are admitted, while they are in the hospital, and before they are discharged.

  • Practice Setting: They work as part of high-functioning health care teams in hospital settings.
  • Educational Requirements: Hospital pharmacists generally complete 1-2 years in a residency after earning a PharmD degree.
  • Patients: The patients treated by hospital pharmacists typically have more complicated diseases and medications than found in other settings.
  • Traits: You want to work as part of a high-functioning health care team in a hospital and around patients who may have more serious, traumatic, or chronic conditions than the general population. You also would prefer to work more closely with other health care providers rather than with patients.

Our excitement for this career is contagious!

Infectious disease pharmacists promote the appropriate use of antibiotics to eradicate harmful microorganisms, minimize drug-resistant organisms, and stop the spread of a disease in a patient or population.

They work with other health care professionals to select and monitor the medications for patients with or at risk for infections and implement antimicrobial policies and procedures for the setting.

Infectious disease pharmacists serve in critical roles as part of hospital-based infectious disease teams that are responsible for appropriate antibiotic use within the institution.

It’s not uncommon for infectious disease pharmacists to never handle medications during their jobs. Instead, they provide care by applying their extensive medication expertise.

  • Practice Setting: Infectious disease pharmacists work in hospitals, medical centers, public health agencies, and medical clinics.
  • Educational Requirements: They generally complete 1-2 years in a residency and/or pass a board certification exam after earning a PharmD degree.
  • Patients: Infectious disease pharmacists focus on the care of patients who have short-term infections (e.g., influenza), long-term diseases caused by infection (e.g., HIV), or are at greater risk for infection due to other medications or diseases (e.g., cancer).
  • Traits: You want to be a key player in stopping the spread of infections and minimizing the development of resistant microorganisms. Additionally, you want to work as part of a team.

This career gets a glowing review!

Nuclear pharmacists work to improve health through the safe and effective use of radioactive drugs to diagnose and treat diseases, such as cancer.

Radioactive materials are generally injected into a patient’s bloodstream or swallowed. Health care professionals can then use the resulting gamma scans to obtain a dynamic views of a patient’s organ function.

In addition to preparing the radiopharmaceutical agents, nuclear pharmacists are responsible for quality control and reviewing patients’ charts prior to any testing to ensure proper dosing.

Nuclear pharmacists must have specialized scientific knowledge and training to safely work with radioactive materials. Fortunately, because of strict safety standards, the amount of radiation exposure to pharmacists and others is very low.

  • Practice Setting: They work as part of a health care team in hospitals, imaging centers, or specialized pharmacies authorized to handle radiopharmaceuticals.
  • Educational Requirements: Nuclear pharmacists generally complete 1-2 years in a residency and/or pass a board certification exam after earning a PharmD degree.
  • Patients: Nuclear pharmacists work more closely with other health care providers than they do with patients directly.
  • Traits: You prefer to work in a commercial laboratory environment, and you want to work more closely with other health care providers instead of with patients. Additionally, you are interested in drug discovery and research.

A career for the courageous and caring.

Oncology pharmacists are experts in the medications used to treat cancer, as well as those used to manage the side effects from cancer treatments.

Oncology pharmacists support all aspects of cancer care, including chemotherapy dosing and mixing, patient counseling, and new drug research.

They work with other health care professionals to maximize the benefits of cancer drugs while minimizing their side effects, such as pain and nausea. And, they also help to identify patients who are candidates for new cancer drug research or suffering from emotional issues that may arise during the cancer treatment.

  • Practice Setting: Oncology pharmacists work in many different settings, such as clinics, hospitals, and cancer centers.
  • Educational Requirements: They generally complete 1-2 years in a residency and/or pass a board certification exam after earning a PharmD degree.
  • Patients: Oncology pharmacists work and build relationships with patients who have cancer. Because of this, they are comfortable with the idea of working with seriously ill patients.
  • Traits: You want to work and build relationships with patients who have cancer, are comfortable with the idea of working with seriously ill patients, and enjoy working as part of a team.

It means a lot to care for the little.

Pediatric pharmacists ensure the safe and effective use of medicines in children ranging in age from newborn to 18 years. This is mainly because medicines developed for adults may be too strong or have different or dangerous effects on children.

Pediatric pharmacists work to determine the proper dosing and medication for children based on their age, weight, and health conditions so they can recover, live longer, or enjoy a better quality of life.

Pediatric pharmacists often participate in patient rounds with other health care professionals, administer drugs, and provide expertise regarding pediatric medications. They may also participate in research studies to develop new medications for children.

  • Practice Setting: Pediatric pharmacists are found in children’s and traditional hospitals, intensive care units (ICUs), neonatal ICUs, and specialty outpatient clinics (e.g., cancer centers).
  • Educational Requirements: They generally complete 1-2 years in a residency and/or pass a board certification exam after earning a PharmD degree.
  • Patients: Pediatric pharmacists work closely with children ranging in age from newborn to 18-years-old.
  • Traits: You want to work with children of all ages, are comfortable with the idea of helping seriously ill children and their parents, and enjoy the idea of creating custom medicines.

Research this career and you’ll find many new developments!

Pharmacists who work in the pharmaceutical industry can be involved in a wide variety of jobs, including sales, research, law, marketing, and general business.

Industry pharmacists may develop new drugs in a pharmaceutics department, conduct clinical drug trials in a research department, manage drug safety reports in an epidemiology department, respond to medical information requests, or work on quality control in a drug production department.

You can also find industry pharmacists promoting drugs to consumers in the sales or marketing department, working as drug information specialists, and developing and monitoring drug development regulations in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

They often work alongside pharmacologists, biochemists, biotechnologists, statisticians, toxicologists, chemical engineers, and others.

  • Practice Setting: Industry pharmacists work in a variety of settings including laboratories, businesses, and more.
  • Educational Requirements: Depending on their selected area of work, industry pharmacists may have additional training, experience, or degrees (e.g., MBA or PhD) in addition to earning a PharmD degree.
  • Patients: Industry pharmacists typically do not work directly with patients. Instead, they are very much involved in drug development or the business side of pharmacy.
  • Traits: You are less interested in working directly with patients and would prefer to be involved in the drug development or business side of the pharmaceutical industry.

The perfect antidote for an ordinary career.

Poison control pharmacists must often make quick decisions and clearly respond to urgent questions about poisonous chemicals, hazardous toxins, and serious drug interactions.

Situations can vary widely, including those related to children who swallow household cleaners, toxic responses to herbal supplements or over-the-counter medicines, bites and stings from poisonous animals, environmental hazards, and more.

In addition to the general public, poison control pharmacists respond to questions from emergency medical services, law enforcement, hospitals, physician offices, schools, and medical examiners. They also develop prevention protocols and educate other health care professionals on the toxicity of drugs and other materials.

Poison control pharmacists don’t usually handle medications during their jobs, but instead provide care by applying their extensive medication expertise.

  • Practice Setting: Poison control pharmacists often work in hospitals or poison control centers.
  • Educational Requirements: They generally complete 1-2 years in a residency after earning a PharmD degree.
  • Patients: Poison control pharmacists don’t usually work directly with patients. Instead, they share their expertise with a variety of parties including the general public, law enforcement, hospital staff, and more.
  • Traits: You are less interested in working directly with patients, and can make decisions in a crisis. Additionally, you are a good listener, are able to communicate clearly and calmly under pressure, and are interested in the effect of toxic materials on the body.

A career where you can get “a head.”

Psychiatric pharmacists specialize in the treatment of mentally ill patients, such as those suffering from depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, developmental disabilities, substance abuse, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injuries.
They have extensive knowledge about mental illnesses, emotional disturbances, abnormal behavior, and neurology (e.g., disorders of the nervous system).

The medications used to help manage the symptoms of psychiatric illnesses vary widely and the medications can be complex. Thus, psychiatric pharmacists work closely with other health care professionals to provide their expertise.

  • Practice Setting: Psychiatric pharmacists often provide care in long-term care facilities (e.g., nursing homes), psychiatric and traditional hospitals, substance abuse centers, mental health clinics, and prison systems.
  • Educational Requirements: Psychiatric pharmacists generally complete 1-2 years in a residency and/or pass a board certification exam after earning a PharmD degree.
  • Patients: Psychiatric pharmacists specialize in the treatment of mentally ill patients.
  • Traits: You have an interest in psychology, psychiatry, or the brain. Additionally, you are comfortable dealing with people who have mental or behavioral challenges, and you enjoy building relationships with others.

A doggone great career!

Veterinary pharmacists compound, dispense, and administer medications to meet the specific needs of sick or injured animals, or to prevent animals from getting sick. Many human illnesses such as cancer, eye problems, heart conditions, asthma, and diabetes can also affect animals.
While most “patients” are traditional pets, veterinary pharmacists may care for a wide variety of animals or choose to specialize in one species (e.g., horses). Veterinary pharmacists adjust the dosage, strength, or taste medications to make them easier for animals to take or digest. They may also have research or administrative duties and work with veterinarians and technicians.

  • Practice Setting: You can find them in veterinary hospitals, veterinary schools, zoos, aquariums, pharmaceutical companies, and regulatory agencies (e.g., FDA).
  • Educational Requirements: Veterinary pharmacists must complete specialized training in veterinary pharmacology and therapeutics after earning a PharmD degree.
  • Patients: Most “patients” are traditional pets like cats and dogs. But, veterinary pharmacists may also care for a wide variety of animals or choose to specialize in one species (e.g., horses).
  • Traits: You love animals or have an interest in veterinary science, are comfortable with both animals and people, and enjoy the idea of creating custom medicines.

A critically important career.

Emergency medicine pharmacists are important members of the health care team. Conditions seen by emergency pharmacists range from bruises and colds to gunshot wounds and chest pains.

Emergency medicine pharmacists work in a fast-paced setting with other health care professionals who rely on their expertise to make quick and accurate medication decisions and assure optimal patient care.

They prepare and dispense medications, review patient charts, develop pharmacy procedures to ensure patients receive the right medications at the right time, and counsel patients regarding the safe and appropriate use of medications. They also develop disaster response plans, manage medication inventories, and conduct research.

  • Practice Setting: You can find them in fast-paced emergency room settings.
  • Educational Requirements: Emergency medicine pharmacists generally complete 1-2 years in a residency and/or pass a board certification exam after earning a PharmD degree.
  • Patients: They treat a wide variety of patients who visit a hospital emergency room.
  • Traits: You want to work in an exciting and fast-paced setting with a variety of patients as part of a health care team, and you can communicate clearly and calmly under pressure.