Mason Arndt
A career as a Pharmacist
Career Goal - Pharmacist

Career Overview

Pharmacists dispense medications that are prescribed by doctors and other health care workers. They check patient records to make sure there will not be a negative interaction with another medication the patient is taking.

Pharmacists review the accuracy of each prescription before it is given to the customer. When customers pick up medications, pharmacists give them instructions for taking the medicine. They advise them about what side effects they might experience.

Pharmacists also provide information to people about medications that are sold without a prescription. Before suggesting a drug, pharmacists ask customers about their symptoms and current medicines they are taking. They may also give advice about medical supplies that are sold in their pharmacy.

Career Skills and Interest

Understand spoken information. Use scientific methods to solve problems. Add, Subtract, Multiply, & Divide quickly and correctly. Teach others how to do something. Look for ways to help people.

Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. Analyze ideas and use logic to determine their strengths and weaknesses. Combine several pieces of information and draw conclusions. Use reasoning to discover answers to problems. Quickly and accurately compare letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. Identify a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in distracting material.

Change behavior in relation to others’ actions. Persuade others to approach things differently. Look for ways to help people.

Career Working Conditions

Have a high level of social contact. They work with patients and medical staff constantly. Are responsible for the work done by other employees and interns. Often deal with unpleasant, angry, or discourteous customers. Customers may become upset if medications are not ready on time. Are somewhat responsible for the health and safety of customers or patients.

Always work indoors. Are exposed to diseases and infections on a weekly basis. Work very near patients and customers. They often work within inches of other people. Sometimes work in a noisy or distracting environment.

Must be sure that their work is exact. Errors could cause serious harm to patients. Repeat the same tasks over and over, such as dispensing drugs. Make decisions on a daily basis that strongly impact patients. They rarely consult with a supervisor before making decisions. Are usually able to set some tasks and goals for the day without talking to a supervisor. Generally have a set schedule each week.May work full time or part time. Most work 40 hours per week. Those who are self-employed often work more than 50 hours per week. May work evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays. Many pharmacies are open for extended hours or around the clock. May travel to nursing homes or other facilities as a consultant.

Career Wages and Outlook

Demand for this occupation will remain steady. As the population ages, more people will need medications. New medications are always being developed and more will become available. Also, new federal health care laws mean that more people will be covered by health insurance and be able to seek medical treatment.

Demand for pharmacists will be increased in community pharmacies, hospital pharmacies, and mail-order pharmacies.

Competition for jobs will be strong as new pharmacy schools are opening. Job prospects will be best for people who complete a residency or who are board certified.

Hourly Wage - $61.87

Annual Wages - $128,690

Career Related Occupations

  • Acupuncturists
  • Medical Laboratory Technologists
  • Medical Scientists
  • Pharmacy Aides
  • Pharmacy Technicians
  • Physician Assistants
  • University and College Teachers

Program Overview

Pharmacy programs include topics such as: Math, Physics, Biochemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, Pharmacology, Pharmaceutical chemistry, Pharmacology, Pharmacy practice, Applicable regulations, and Professional standards and ethics.

During your final year of a pharmacy program, you complete an internship. During this period, you work under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist.

Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Admission to pharmacy programs is competitive. You must complete at least two years of college to qualify for admission. In addition, you must have completed courses in the following areas:

  • General Biology
  • General Chemistry
  • Algebra
  • Calculus
  • Organic Chemistry
  • General Microbiology
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • General Physics
  • Statistics

You also must have good grades, letters of recommendation, and good scores on the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT).

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Healthcare Occupations
  • Healthcare Sciences Work Experience
  • Latin or Greek

Typical Course Work

  • Biochemistry
  • Drug Information
  • Human Anatomy
  • Human Physiology
  • Pharmaceutical Chemistry
  • Pharmaceutics
  • Pharmacognosy
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacy Law
  • Pharmacy Management
  • Pharmacy Practice

In most pharmacy programs, students spend their fourth year doing an internship or clerkship. This means that students work in a pharmacy and treat patients, but are closely supervised by licensed pharmacists. On the job, students:

  • Gather data and assess patients' drug-related problems
  • Develop care plans for patients
  • Recommend drug monitoring plans
  • Assess and modify drug therapy schedules

In addition, students learn how to communicate with patients and health care workers. They also develop assessment skills so that they can monitor how patients respond to medications.

Related Programs

  • Anatomy
  • Biological Sciences, General
  • Bio medical Sciences, General
  • Business, General
  • Cell Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, and Veterinary
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacy Administration
  • Pharmacy Science and Services
  • Pharmacy Technology
  • Pre-Pharmacy

Schools that offer my Program of Study

- Mayo School of Health Sciences

- College of St. Scholastica

- University of Minnesota

College Choice
University of Minnesota

Size and Location- University of Minnesota, U of M is located in St. Paul, Minnesota. Enrollment has reached 64, 694.

Admission Requirements- Coursework through high school graduation, Grade point average, Class rank (if available),  ACT or SAT scores.

College Expenses- Tuition- Minnesota residents - $13,626, North Dakota, South Dakota, Manitoba, Wisconsin residents - $13,626, and Nonresidents - $20,876.  Other Expenses- $1,000 in books and $20,000 in miscellaneous expenses.

Financial Aid- Gold Scholar Award, Cyrus Northrop Scholarship, Bentson Family Scholarship, Iron Range Scholarship, Gopher State Scholarship, etc.

Housing- Unfurnished Apartments:

Efficiency/Studio: $450-$900
One Bedroom: $525-$1,150
Two Bedroom: $700-$1,700
Four Bedroom: $1,236-$2,780

Unfurnished Duplexes and Houses:

One Bedroom: $525-$715
Two Bedroom: $690-$1,000
Three Bedroom: $890-$1,400
Four Bedroom: $990-$2200

Activities- Football, Basketball, Ping Pong, Chess, Volleyball, Art, etc.

Informational Interview

It was rather interesting to learn about what a pharmacist does. I learned that pharmacist work long hours, but sometimes can be flexible. I liked that they make a lot of money, I didn't like that they have to stand all day. It was everything that I thought it would be. Some advice was do well in school, be social and friendly, and make sure you like the subjects math and science. Another occupation was a chemists. The work environment was very social and happy to talk to people. I think I would be very happy in this career.

Play to Reach My Goal

I plan to reach my goal by doing more research on this career.

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