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Pharmacists
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Description: what do they do?
Dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners and provide information to patients about medications and their use. May advise physicians and other health practitioners on the selection, dosage, interactions, and side effects of medications.
Also known as:
Pharmacist, Pharmacist in Charge (PIC), Pharmacist in Charge, Owner (PIC, Owner), Pharmacy Informaticist, Registered Pharmacist, Staff Pharmacist, Outpatient Pharmacy Manager, Hospital Pharmacist, Staff Pharmacist, Hospital, Clinical Pharmacist

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
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    Transcript: Whenever a doctor writes a prescription for a drug or treatment, a pharmacist is the person who measures out the medication and makes sure a patient knows how to take it safely. And while filling a prescription often means a visit to the local drug store or grocery store, pharmacists also work in hospitals. Typically, pharmacists spend most of the day standing at a counter, preparing and dispensing medication. They may also personalize or “compound” the medication, though that is now less common than it used to be. Pharmacists are knowledgeable about medication ingredients and how they might interact with other medications. This is a profession that requires careful attention to detail. Making a mistake and dispensing the wrong medicine could have life-threatening consequences. Pharmacists also maintain patient records, inventory their supplies, and keep up registries of controlled drugs. Some pharmacists conduct research to develop new drugs. Most work full-time, and since the timing of medications can be crucial, they may work nights and weekends. If you want to become a pharmacist, you’ll need to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, then pass two licensure exams. For some, the demanding education and ongoing learning needed to stay current might be a hard pill to swallow, but knowing you help people get the medications they need to be healthy, can help the medicine go down.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are likely in the future.


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
United States
312,500
2016 Employment
329,900
2026 Employment
6%
Percent change
15,300
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016, the number expected to be employed in 2026, and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2016-26.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Pharmacists in United States
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationUnited States
10%$87,790
25%$111,340
Median$126,120
75%$145,870
90%$161,250


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2018 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Verify accuracy of patient information.
  • Communicate detailed medical information to patients or family members.
  • Advise patients on effects of health conditions or treatments.
  • Maintain medical facility records.
  • Determine protocols for medical procedures.
  • Prepare medications or medical solutions.
  • Collaborate with healthcare professionals to plan or provide treatment.
  • Advise medical personnel regarding healthcare issues.
  • Maintain inventory of medical supplies or equipment.
  • Order medical supplies or equipment.
  • Recommend types of assistive devices.
  • Merchandise healthcare products or services.
  • Manage healthcare operations.
  • Treat chronic diseases or disorders.
  • Instruct patients in the use of assistive equipment.
  • Train medical providers.
  • Refer patients to other healthcare practitioners or health resources.
  • Present medical research reports.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Reading Comprehension - Reading work-related information.
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Speaking - Talking to others.
  • Instructing - Teaching people how to do something.
  • Monitoring - Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements.
  • Service Orientation - Looking for ways to help people.
  • Writing - Writing things for co-workers or customers.
  • Critical Thinking - Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and strategies to solve problems.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one.
  • Time Management - Managing your time and the time of other people.
  • Active Learning - Figuring out how to use new ideas or things.
  • Management of Personnel Resources - Selecting and managing the best workers for a job.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Understanding people's reactions.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
  • Mathematics - Using math to solve problems.
  • Coordination - Changing what is done based on other people's actions.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Written Expression - Communicating by writing.
  • Speech Clarity - Speaking clearly.
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.
  • Speech Recognition - Recognizing spoken words.
  • Category Flexibility - Grouping things in different ways.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - Choosing the right type of math to solve a problem.
  • Selective Attention - Paying attention to something without being distracted.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Conventional - Occupations related to Conventional interests frequently involve following set procedures and routines. They include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Social - Occupations with Social interests frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. Most involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Investigative - Occupations with Investigative interests frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They often involve research and figuring out problems mentally.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Review prescriptions to assure accuracy, to ascertain the needed ingredients, and to evaluate their suitability.
  • Provide information and advice regarding drug interactions, side effects, dosage, and proper medication storage.
  • Maintain records, such as pharmacy files, patient profiles, charge system files, inventories, control records for radioactive nuclei, or registries of poisons, narcotics, or controlled drugs.
  • Plan, implement, or maintain procedures for mixing, packaging, or labeling pharmaceuticals, according to policy and legal requirements, to ensure quality, security, and proper disposal.
  • Prepare sterile solutions or infusions for use in surgical procedures, emergency rooms, or patients' homes.
  • Collaborate with other health care professionals to plan, monitor, review, or evaluate the quality or effectiveness of drugs or drug regimens, providing advice on drug applications or characteristics.
  • Order and purchase pharmaceutical supplies, medical supplies, or drugs, maintaining stock and storing and handling it properly.
  • Advise customers on the selection of medication brands, medical equipment, or healthcare supplies.
  • Compound and dispense medications as prescribed by doctors and dentists, by calculating, weighing, measuring, and mixing ingredients, or oversee these activities.
  • Manage pharmacy operations, hiring or supervising staff, performing administrative duties, or buying or selling non-pharmaceutical merchandise.
  • Provide specialized services to help patients manage conditions such as diabetes, asthma, smoking cessation, or high blood pressure.
  • Offer health promotion or prevention activities, such as training people to use blood pressure devices or diabetes monitors.
  • Teach pharmacy students serving as interns in preparation for their graduation or licensure.
  • Update or troubleshoot pharmacy information databases.
  • Refer patients to other health professionals or agencies when appropriate.
  • Publish educational information for other pharmacists, doctors, or patients.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

Other resources

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.