A career in pharmacy can be a noble and advantageous venture, as pharmacists play a crucial role in the healthcare system. Studying to be one, however, requires a person who is committed, as sometimes it can prove difficult for some people. So, before taking up a class to kick off this journey, there are a few things to consider. In this article, we discuss six things to keep in mind before pursuing a career as a pharmacist.
The first thing to think about is the education that is required when aspiring to become a pharmacist. Before one becomes a licensed pharmacist, one must undertake a doctorate of pharmacy (pharm.d.) program in Pharmacist Schools that are certified and recognized by the state. It usually takes four years after completion of a minimum of two years of college work. It would be best if a person was prepared for vigorous academic expectations, like pharmacology, chemistry, biology, and clinical rotations. Moreover, to be admitted into a Pharm.D. program is quite tricky and demands excellent school grades and some additional activities.
Licensing and Certification
State licensing of pharmacists requires candidates to pass NAPLEX and MPJE. The exams are designed to test pharmacy practice as well as specific laws for pharmacy in a given state. It’s also crucial for a pharmacist to have a license because obtaining it and having it are as demanding as pursuing education. Further, try taking up certifications in other related areas like ambulatory care, oncology, and critical care that may propel your career and make you competitive in the job market.
Work Environment Settings
Pharmacists work in a vast range of environments in the medical sector; it is therefore essential to research these fields and decide where to work before venturing into a career in pharmacy. It is common for people to start on degrees they are not fond of and later become miserable or even drop out after realizing that they do not want to stay stuck in a particular career choice. This waste of time, resources, and funds can be avoided if a person takes their time to learn what these sectors are involved in and to choose one that aligns with their interests. Retail pharmacists, for example, are primarily engaged in dealing with customers and are more suited for extroverted people with good communication skills. Hospital pharmacists, on the other hand, are mostly behind desks and work in the background of most medical procedures; thus, an introvert can do really well in these positions. Choosing a career that complements the interests and personality of a person will make it easier to wake up for work in the morning.
Job Outlook and Salary
The job industry in pharmacy has been having a slow increase over the years, mainly attributed to the automation of most positions and the incorporation of technology in the new forms of healthcare system. It is, therefore, crucial to look into the career of choice and understand whether the odds are good for getting employment. Salaries in pharmacy can be very daunting, but the work that comes with these careers is as high. If a person is looking to start a career in pharmacy solely for the high salary, then it would be best to sit back and reconsider. The amount of opportunities available to an individual can also be subject to the amount of experience or the skills they possess. People with more skills tend to stand out in the market place unlike those who do not. Experience is a crucial factor, although skill does sometimes beat it by a considerable margin, so it would be advisable to upskill whenever a chance arises as it will give a competitive advantage in the job market.
Ethical and Legal Responsibilities
Pharmacists are entrusted with a lot of information of which they are to be classified and some very delicate responsibilities tied to a patient’s health. A mistake in their procedures would lead to a severe issue. They handle patient prescriptions and doses of high concentration; thus, they are required to be very careful in their work. It is crucial to stay updated on the ever-changing rules and regulations of the medical industry, as some malpractices might lead to the revocation of licenses, and some serious ones may lead to imprisonment. In this field, it is essential to maintain patient confidentiality as well as handle the ethical dilemmas that come with the profession.
Continuing Education and Professional Growth
Modern-day pharmacy is constantly evolving through technological development and the introduction of more sophisticated medication that keeps one abreast with updated information for quality patient care provision. The individual undertaking this profession should learn continually throughout his lifetime to keep pace with changes in practice. Specializing can be considered through pursuing a higher degree in certain sub-fields of pharmacy so that one can stay up-to-date while acquiring specialized knowledge. This might also be a way of opening some higher-paid employment opportunities.
Final Thoughts on Pursuing a Career as a Pharmacist
While it is possible to power through, some people find this field difficult to tackle, but with the right attitude and sufficient interest, one most definitely will. The appropriate educational level for a chosen career in this area also needs to be considered, along with the rules of licensing and certification that are in force in the current state. Consider the job prospects and your working environment to determine how well you fit. Look at your obligations and whether it will be worth committing to that career in the future for longer years.
While you figure out your career, you may want to earn part-time online through online tutoring: