1 Pharmacy Degree. 5 Fulfilling Career Possibilities

patient getting blood pressure taken

From hospitals to drug stores, a degree in pharmacy opens doors for jobs in so many settings. At Touro College of Pharmacy, we’ll make sure you are prepared no matter what path you choose. You can even start our PharmD program before you’ve completed your undergraduate studies, putting you on the fast-track to a career as a pharmacist.

Once you’ve earned your Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree, there are plenty of ways you can put it to use working as a pharmacist. The pharmacy profession today goes way beyond simply compounding and formulating medications. Tomorrow’s pharmacists have many more career options than ever before. With people living longer and the ongoing discovery of new drugs, the number of prescriptions expected to be dispensed will multiply exponentially. With the globalization of the pharmaceutical industry and of pharmacy practice, almost every country is experiencing similar problems with health care costs and access. The pharmacy profession is recognized as a key solution to addressing these issues. Many pharmacists now work directly with patients, often collaborating with doctors and other healthcare professionals to create drug treatment plans that work safely and effectively. Some pharmacists also use their PharmD degrees to work in an entrepreneurial setting finding new pharmacological treatments and cures.

With the rising costs of healthcare, many patients are reluctant to visit doctors or ask medical questions. Because pharmacists are so accessible, they have the opportunity to play important roles in the community. Not only do they offer advice about medications, they also counsel patients and provide information about managing their symptoms or which warning signs can indicate bigger health problems. In many states, pharmacists directly affect public health by recommending and administering vaccines.

Whether you dream of teaming up with doctors to develop patient treatment plans or working at a biotech company to develop new drugs for countries around the world, check out these five exciting career opportunities for pharmacists.

#1 Ambulatory Care

As healthcare transitions to chronic disease management across the patient care continuum, the demand for ambulatory care pharmacists has rapidly increased.

As highly trained members of the inter-professional team, Ambulatory Care Pharmacists are well positioned to see and treat patients in a clinical setting, physician’s office and care organization. These pharmacists often focus on patients with multiple chronic conditions and are referred to the pharmacist for medication management of their conditions. Qualified pharmacists can become authorized to provide collaborative drug therapy management services which include prescribing medication and ordering laboratory tests.

#2 Pharmacogenomics

This relatively new field combines pharmacology (the science of drugs) and genomics (the study of genes and their functions) to develop effective, safe medications and doses that will be tailored to a person’s genetic makeup.

Imagine a trip to the pharmacy to fill a blood pressure or cholesterol prescription and leaving with a medication tailor-made just for you, no worries about side effects or whether the medicine will work. Using the ever-increasing amounts of genomic data collected from large populations to evaluate various approaches to disease, drug application and development, researchers now better understand how an individual’s genetic make-up influences response to diseases and the drugs that treat them. As a result, the field of pharmacogenomics has emerged as an entirely new personalized approach to medicine.

#3 Specialty Pharmacist

A specialty pharmacist may work in a variety of practice settings in roles that include dispensing, medication therapy management, patient advocacy and therapy compliance.

Pharmacists with a desire to work with orphan drugs or to treat patient populations with complex or rare diseases pursue this area of practice. Specialty pharmacists are unique in that they coordinate many aspects of patient care and disease management including patient counseling and education, medication safety, use and adherence, handling and storage and, when possible, financial assistance for medication costs.

#4 Informatics Pharmacist

Pharmacy informatics are improving medication use and patient safety by making it easier for prescribers to reduce patient risk by providing layers of data related to prescribing habits, patient compliance, drug equivalents and cost-savings potential.

Pharmacists in this field are tasked with the integration of information, technology and data related to the medication use process. Informatics can be used to make smart pumps even smarter, to gain better control over prescriptions for controlled substances, for e-prescribing, telepharmacy, bedside bar coding and inventory management. Informatics Pharmacists are experts in human factors, patient safety, and the use of technology to optimize the care delivery processes and effectively communicate patient care activity.

#5 Clinical Pharmacist

Clinical pharmacists work in hospital settings, making rounds with doctors and nurses. Looking at patient records, your job will be to recommend the safest and most effective medications – and be on the lookout for negative reactions or potential drug interactions.

A big part of a clinical pharmacist’s responsibilities is to help a patient navigate medical transitions, such as being admitted or discharged from the hospital, so medications aren’t duplicated, forgotten, or incorrectly dosed. You also may team up with doctors on Collaborative Drug Therapy Management (CDTM), essentially taking over drug-related patient care by ordering lab tests, adjusting dosages, and monitoring the effectiveness of medications.

Learn more about the many career opportunities available in the pharmacy field.