As a larger population begins to move into their senior years, the demand for qualified pharmacists should only increase.
Due to the strong demand for pharmacy positions and the education and knowledge required to competently perform the job, salary opportunities are normally quite high. This is usually balanced with the fact that they may work long hours, nights, weekends and holidays.
Employment Prospects for Pharmacy Careers
There are a significant number of employment prospects for pharmaceutical positions. The most common field that comes to mind for most people is retail pharmacy. More than half of the total number of pharmacists employed across the nation, do work in a retail pharmacy environment.
There are many other, more lucrative employment prospects for pharmacists. Almost all hospitals employ pharmacists to handle the medication needs of their patients. As the demand for pharmacists continue to grow, nontraditional fields are opening up.
Some choose to enter the following fields:
- Health Insurance Companies
- Marketing and Sales
Job Search for Pharmacists
There are a number of ways pharmacists and recent graduates from schools of pharmacy can go about finding open job opportunities.
- Career centers at alma maters
- Professional affiliations
- Websites dedicated to the purpose of posting these positions
- Networking within the industry is also a good option
Cover Letters for Careers in Pharmacy
The cover letter does not differ much from the cover letter used by other job seekers. It should be professional in tone and nature; state the reason the job seeker is writing and how they heard about the position.
As the resume contains such specific skill, education and experience information; the cover letter is a good opportunity for the job seeker to hone in on their people skills, and specific accomplishments within prior organizations.
As always, the cover letter should close with a reference to an interview.
Resumes for Pharmacy Jobs
The resume will generally need to be very specific in regards to:
- The environment the job seeker has worked in
- Detailed work experience
- Specific degree they have earned
- Extremely detailed information regarding their skills
This should be an entire sub-set on the resume, stating the name of the skill, the level of proficiency the job seeker has attained and the amount of experience they have in this skill and the last time it was used.
A chronological resume or a CV resume will work well for a pharmacists resume. Any additional skills such as foreign languages spoken is also very beneficial.
As there is so much critical information that needs to be covered, it is acceptable to deviate from the standard one page. It is better to deviate than leave out critical data.
Training & Qualifications
In order to become a pharmacist, candidates need to have:
- College degree
- Passed a state examination and obtain a license
The college attended must be a certified and accredited college of pharmacy, approved by the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE).
The student will need to pass two examinations before becoming licensed to work as a pharmacist. These are the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam and the Multi-state Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam. This is true in every state except California, who has their own pharmacy exam.
There may be additional exams besides the NAPLE and the MPJE required in certain states. After licensure is granted, some states require continuous re-exam in order to maintain the license.
Some states allow a pharmacist to be licensed to practice in more than one state. The best option for a person interested in this type of career, is to seek information from the State Board of Pharmacy for their state in order to determine which rules and regulations will apply to their situation.
Colleges and universities offering pharmacy programs require prior admittance and some may require the successful completion of Pharmacy College Admissions Test.
There are currently about 85 schools across the nation with pharmacy programs accredited by ACPE. These schools confer a degree of Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) upon successful completion of the program. Pharmacy programs leading to a Pharm.D. are generally at least five to six years in length.
Programs include undergraduate study as well as curriculum that relates specifically to the degree. These classes usually contain a high degree of chemistry classes as well as requisite pharmacology classes.
Students in a pharmacy program will also be involved in internships where they will be performing job related tasks in real world settings.
Prior to 2005, students had the option of obtaining a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree. While this has been grandfathered for students already enrolled in the program, no new Bachelor of Pharmacy degrees will be awarded after 2005.
Students interested in this career field will need to select the Doctor of Pharmacy degree.