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    • Pharmacy Jobs Overview

      The two main pharmacy jobs are pharmacist and pharmacy technician. Pharmacy jobs are predominately in pharmacies located inside health and personal care stores, hospitals, grocery stores, department stores and other general merchandise stores.


      Pharmacist job description

      Pharmacists dispense medications, instruct patients on how to take prescriptions and provide general health advice. Licensed pharmacists can administer shots for flu and pneumonia, and can administer shingles vaccination to patients presenting a prescription. Pharmacists review previous prescriptions to reduce the patient’s risk for potential drug interactions and review the patient’s drug allergies to prevent an allergic reaction.


      Pharmacists also perform non-clinical tasks, such as filling out paperwork and communicating with insurance companies. They also supervise pharmacy technicians, interns and others working in the pharmacy.


      To work as a pharmacist, a candidate must have a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from an accredited pharmacy program. The graduate must then pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam on pharmacy law. Post-graduate fellowships may be required for some specialty positions.


      Forty-three percent of pharmacists work at pharmacies and drug stores; 23 percent work at hospitals. Pharmacists may also work at grocery stores, department stores, and other retail locations.


      Pharmacy technician job description

      Pharmacy technicians work under the direction of a pharmacist to dispense medications, organize inventory, accept payments and enter information into a computer system.


      Fifty-three percent of pharmacy technicians work in pharmacies and drugs stores; 17 percent work in hospitals. General merchandize stores, grocery stores and ambulatory health care services also employ pharmacy technicians.


      On-the-job training is usually provided for pharmacy technicians, although some states and employers require certification from the  Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or the  National Healthcareer Association.


      Pharmacy Salary

      The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the median annual pay for pharmacy jobs in 2012 as follows:



      Jobs Outlook

      As of May 2014, there were 290,780 pharmacist jobs in the U.S., according to BLS statistics, and 368,760 pharmacy technician jobs.


      The jobs outlook for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians is promising, with the number of pharmacy jobs growing as fast as or faster than all other occupations. BLS expects the number of pharmacist jobs to grow by 14 percent between 2012 and 2022. The outlook is even better for pharmacy technicians, with the BLS expecting the number of these jobs to grow by 20 percent from 2012 to 2022.


      The population of the United States is aging. People are more likely to need prescription drugs as they age, which means there will be a greater demand for people to dispense these drugs. The increasing rates of some diseases that require medication, such as diabetes, will also lead to increased demand. Health insurance reform also bolsters prescription sales to support the need for more pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.


      Top Pharmacies

      There are approximately 67,000 pharmacies in the United States. Major pharmacy chains are the primary employer of pharmacists, although there are a large number of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians working for independent or privately owned pharmacies.


      The top pharmacies in the United States include:

      • CVS Health Corporations
      • Walgreen Company
      • Express Scripts, Inc.
      • Walmart Store, Inc.

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