How to become a pharmacist

Job description: What does a pharmacist do?

From the customer’s perspective, a pharmacist’s working day consists mainly of dispensing drugs and medical devices against a prescription or selling non-prescription medicines, cosmetics, and contraceptives.

In addition to advising customers and members of the medical professions about the active ingredients in the drugs and the interactions between the drugs, services are increasingly coming to the fore. Pharmacists instruct people with diabetes how to use insulin pens or carry out blood pressure and blood sugar measurements. They produce some preparations such as ointments or teas themselves in their laboratory either as a recipe (one-off production) or as a shape (in stock). Mortars, scales, pipettes, test tubes, and viscometers are used for this work.

Also, pharmacists need to know which medicines they can dispense to which customers. As part of the so-called aut-idem regulation, they do not always receive exactly the doctor’s medication. Due to the generic discount agreements with the individual health insurance companies, the pharmacist is obliged to exchange a drug for a cheaper one that is identical in terms of the medical indication and the active ingredient. Dealing with the bookkeeping and billing the health insurance companies are also part of her job.

In hospital pharmacies, pharmacists are responsible for pharmaceutical logistics so that delivery bottlenecks for the drugs and medical products required either do not occur in the first place or are at least overcome quickly. You are involved in creating drug lists and not only provide the individual wards with drugs but also check the storage conditions there every three or six months.

Pharmacists who work in research participate in the development of new drugs and dosage forms and the planning and implementation of clinical studies for drugs. This also includes the documentation and publication of the research results.

In addition to the options already mentioned, pharmacists are mainly employed in the pharmaceutical or chemical industry, testing institutes, universities, and educational institutions in the health sector. Alternative locations are health insurance companies, professional organizations and the public health administration.

Average salary: How much does a Pharmacist make in the United States?

The average wage is $117,000 per year ($53.10 per hour) in the United States. Wages typically start from $88,400 and go up to $162,900.

Source: U.S. Bureau of labor statistics

Pharmacist responsibilities and requirements

If you want to become a pharmacist, you need a pharmacy degree. The most important personal strengths of a pharmacist include a sense of responsibility and a careful way of working. When it comes to the production of ointments, solutions, and individual medicines, the active ingredients’ dosage must be accurate to the milligram or milliliter.

In public pharmacies, friendliness, an open, communicative manner, and empathy play a significant role. Equally important are a confident demeanor and a clean, well-groomed appearance. Because competent customer advice and health-related services make up a large part of pharmacists’ work, many employers expect applicants to be highly customer and service-oriented. Exceptional knowledge in a particular area, for example, homeopathy, is often required. Working in a hospital pharmacy requires knowledge of or at least an interest in clinical pharmacy.

Since medicine is evolving and new active ingredients and drugs are being created, or already known drugs are being approved for the treatment of other diseases, a pharmacist’s profession requires constant readiness to learn and further educate oneself.

A pharmacist who wants to run or open his pharmacy needs a license to practice medicine (state approval), a current medical health certificate, and a police clearance certificate. The premises provided for establishing a pharmacy must also comply with the conditions laid down in the pharmacy regulations. The competent authority only grants the required permit when all requirements are met.