Ashley Hoffman

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.

Some pharmacists compound drugs for customers. This means they mix ingredients to form powders or solutions.

Career Skills and Interests

Communicate, reason and problem solving, use math and science, manage oneself, mange your time and other things, work with people, perceive and visualize.

Have investigative interests. They like work activities that have to do with ideas and thinking. They like to search for facts and figure out solutions to problems mentally.

Have conventional interests. They like work activities that follow set procedures, routines, and standards. They like to work with data and detail. They prefer working where there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Have social interests. They like work activities that assist others and promote learning and personal development. They like to communicate with others: to teach, give advice, help, or otherwise be of service to others.

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.

Wages vary by employer. For example, pharmacists who work in chain drug stores tend to earn somewhat more than those who work in independent drug stores. Wages also vary by area of the country. Most pharmacists who work full time receive benefits such as paid vacation, sick leave, and health insurance. Many pharmacists also receive bonuses, overtime, and profit-sharing. Those who work part time may not receive benefits.

Hourly wage- $61.87

Salary Wage- $128,690

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. Communicate with coworkers and customers daily by telephone, e-mail, or in person. Write letters and memos on a weekly basis. Work in a group or as part of a team.

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. Must meet strict deadlines on a daily basis.

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 Related Occupations

Pharmacy Technicians

Pharmacy Aides

Physician Assistants

Program of Study- Pharmacy

Program Overview

Pharmacy programs include topics such as:

  • Math
  • Physics
  • Biochemistry
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical chemistry
  • Pharmacognosy
  • Pharmacy practice
  • Applicable regulations
  • 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.

Several colleges and universities offer degrees in pharmacy (PharmD). This usually requires at least two years of college to prepare for pharmacy school and four more years after you enter pharmacy school.
Many universities offer graduate degrees in pharmacy. A master’s degree typically requires one or two years of study beyond a PharmD. Doctoral degree programs usually require three or more years or study beyond the PharmD.

Program Admission

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).

Program Typical Course Work

This program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

  • 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 externship or clerkship. This means that students work in a pharmacy and treat patients, but are closely supervised by licensed pharmacists. On the job, students will:

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

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


Cell Biology




Schools That Offer My Program of Study

College of St. Scholastica

May School of Health Sciences

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

College Choice

University of Minnesota- Twin Cities

College Information

Size and Location- It is located in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. There are about 51,526 total students that go to the U of M.

Admission Requirements- The deadline to apply is December 15. The ACT or SAT is required, for Pharmacy school the PCAT is required. The average test score for the ACT is 28, and a 2.0 GPA is recommended but not required.

College Expenses- In state tuition is $13,626. Room and Board is $8,532. Other expenses could total up to about $3,000.

Financial Aid- The deadline to apply is March 1st, you must complete the FAFSA. Grants and Scholarships- Nursing, privately-sponsored, school-sponsored, state-sponsored, school-sponsored in academics, arts, and special achievements are all scholarships and grants that are offered.

Housing- There are dorms on campus, off campus apartments, and also off campus sororities or fraternities.

Activities- Choral groups, newspaper, radio station, volleyball, basketball, dance, etc.

Informational Interview


Sarah Caven

Sams Club Pharmacy


She was a pharmacist manager


Sarah was very nice, she looked professional. I also liked the working environment, it's what I thought it would be like.

I learned a lot about what other things pharmacists do rather than just getting precriptions. They also do inventory, talk to physicians, and give immunizations.

I don't think there was really anything that I didn't like. I don't think I would like giving immunizations that much or going to school for so long. I liked that she got to work with and help people, I also liked that she had a set schedule with hours that were pretty normal.

One concern would be the schooling and all of the information that you need to learn.

She told me to get experience if I can and make sure I like the occupation. She also said to go for my four year degree first right away.

I didn't really uncover another career that I want to explore.

I liked the working environment, the patients seemed to have really good relationships with her, there were also other people working with her. It would be a nice place to work.

I do think that I would be happy in this occupation.

Plans to Reach Your Goal

I did the informational interview which helped. Other things that I could do to reach my career goals wold be: do an internship, work in a pharmacy, talk to people that work in pharmacies, also talk to my High-step teacher Amanda about experiences I could do.

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