Who they are: Pharmacists assist patients in achieving the best results from their medications. They assist people with anything medication-related in order to achieve the best health possible.
What they do: The responsibilities of pharmacists have expanded substantially from their traditional role of dispensing medicine prescribed by authorized health care professionals. Pharmacists today consult physicians, work in direct patient care and educate patients about their medications. Some pharmacists work in research, exploring the development of new pharmaceuticals.
Where they work: There is a wide range of flexible options for the working conditions or pharmacists. Pharmacists can work in pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, the military, in research, or for the government.
Outlook: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for pharmacists is neutral, meaning the number of pharmacists will not decrease or grow in the next ten years.
After completing required coursework and other prerequisites, aspiring pharmacists apply to a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program, which takes four years to complete. Like other health professions, admission is competitive.
Prerequisites and requirements for pharmacy schools can differ from school to school. To learn more about general requirements, look here for the Pharmacy School Admission Requirements (PSAR). A good starting place when considering application to a pharmacy school is the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). You will also find information on the Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS), a centralized application service for applicants applying to colleges and schools of pharmacy. They provide a comprehensive checklist and other information useful in the planning process.