When you read the word "pharmacist", what do you think of?

Maybe something like this?

Image of a pharmacy counter. A pharmacist is giving out medication to a customer.Photo by Tbel Abuseridze on Unsplash

There's more to it than you think! Pharmacists are an essential part of the healthcare system. But how do you know if it's a good career path for you?

What Does A Pharmacist Do?

A pharmacist's main roles include:

  • Distributing medications to patients

  • Providing information on how to use medication properly and safely (e.g., correct dose, possible side effects)

  • Developing treatment plans with patients and other healthcare professionals

Other services they might provide are:

  • Vaccinations

  • Wellness Services (e.g., diabetes management)

Pharmacists can have very diverse careers! Some other areas they may work in include:

  • Research (e.g., clinical trials for new drugs)

  • Public Health (e.g., preventing spread of disease, developing health policies)

Quiz

What might you go to the pharmacist for?

To fill a prescription

To get your flu shot

To check your blood pressure

All of the above

Where Do Pharmacists Work?

While you may be used to seeing pharmacists at your local drugstore or community pharmacy, they can also be found in a variety of settings! These include:

HospitalsFlaticon Icon

The Pharmaceutical IndustryFlaticon Icon

Colleges and SchoolsFlaticon Icon

Federal GovernmentFlaticon Icon

How Do I Become A Pharmacist?

Basic requirements for becoming a pharmacist include:

  • Completing at least 2 years of undergraduate studies, including courses required for admission to pharmacy programs (e.g., Biology, Chemistry, etc.)

  • Studying in a pharmacy program for a Pharm.D. degree, usually for 4 years

  • Passing a licensing examination so you can legally practice

  • Some hands-on experience like a co-op or internship

Gif of books stacking up.

How Much Does A Pharmacist Make?

Flaticon IconThe average annual salary in the US is $140,182 USD.

Flaticon IconThe average annual salary in Canada is $111,264 CAD.

Is Pharmacy Right For Me?

You'll enjoy it if you:

📖 Love to learn

🧪 Enjoy science

🧩 Like challenges and problem solving

🤝 Work well with others and are a good leader

💊 Hope to help people and improve the health of your community

📅 Want to have choice in your work hours and environment

But not if you:

  • Don't enjoy working with data and details

  • Don't like following set procedures

Gif of a woman contemplating.

Quiz

Which of these characteristics would NOT be a good fit for a pharmacist?

Likes to interact with people

Interested in lifelong learning

Pays attention to detail

Prefers to work alone

Take Action

If a career as a pharmacist sounds interesting to you:

Browse these Bytes to learn more about other career options!

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This Byte has been authored by

NG

Nithusha Gobal

Graduate Student in Education