Allied Health Careers: Pharmacist

April 15, 2015

Two gap medics students with a member of medical staff in the hospital in Tanzania. A pharmacist is an allied health professional who specialises in preparing and dispensing medication. As a pharmacist you may work in a hospital pharmacy or retail pharmacy. Another exciting career path is that of an industrial pharmacist who participates in ongoing research and plays a significant role in the research and manufacture of new medication.

Job Opportunities As A Pharmacist

Pharmacists who work in a pharmacy advise customers and suggest various over-the-counter medications that can help alleviate their problems. These pharmacists may also recommend that the customer visits a doctor if they feel that the symptoms are such that they require professional medical intervention.

Many pharmacists work exclusively in hospitals. Here, they may have to personally do the rounds of wards and meet the patients in order to dispense the appropriate medications and explain how the medication should be consumed along with the necessary precautions to be heeded while consuming the medicine.

When working in a hospital, these professionals may also often work alongside doctors where they provide information to the doctors about the latest medicines that are available.  

Pharmacists often also play an active role in the manufacture of medications that need to be custom-formulated for the patient such as skin creams or chemotherapy drugs. Some of these pharmacists also take on the responsibility of visiting patients after they have been discharged from the hospital in order to deliver and administer their medicines and dosages at their homes.

Pharmacists that work with the government usually work with regulating and controlling medicine. Those who want to pursue a career in the field of academics can teach at universities or they can get into the field of research.

Some pharmacists choose to work exclusively with elderly people living in homes or institutions. In this case, they may attach themselves exclusively to homes and institutions in order to deliver all the medicines to the elderly people, administer the doses and help them by explaining how to take the medicine, the side effects and the precautions that need to be taken when on a particular medication.

Education & Training Requirements

In order to become a qualified pharmacist, it is necessary to complete a four year Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy. Once you’ve obtained your degree, you will also have to undertake one year of supervised work experience under an experienced pharmacist. Registering yourself with the Pharmacy Board is the last step you need to take before you are qualified to work as a full-time pharmacist.

If you do not want to work as a pharmacist specifically but you want to work in the pharmacy industry, you can also choose to complete a three year Bachelor’s degree in Pharmaceutical Science. With this degree you will be able to work in a drug research field or in the field of biotechnology but you will not be able to work as a pharmacist. However, you still have the option of working as a pharmacist if you then complete a two year Master’s degree in Pharmacy.