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The services provided by professionals in the pharmacy occupation are vital to the health and well being of patients. Professionals working in these jobs are responsible for providing patients with access to life saving and life sustaining medications. In addition to providing patients with access to these medications, pharmacists are also responsible for reviewing patient medications to ensure that side-effects or adverse or life threatening drug interactions do not occur. Pharmacists that provide patients with medications should be able to communicate with patients to provide them with important information about how to use their medications and the potential side effects.
In general there is a considerable need for pharmacy professionals. Advances in medical science have made it possible for patients with chronic health issues to live longer. In addition, advances in science have increased life spans for all individuals. In order to remain healthy, many individuals require medications. Pharmacy professionals that provide these services and understand the chemistry involved in the use of various medications will be able to support patients in achieving better health outcomes. Pharmacy professionals will be particularly important for helping patients manage their medications. Drug interactions among multiple medications must be monitored to ensure the patient remains healthy.
Careers for professionals seeking jobs in the pharmaceutical industry include pharmacy technicians and aides as well as pharmacists. The qualifications and education needed for these positions is remarkably different as do job responsibilities. Pharmacy technicians and aides, for instance, can receive training and education through a certification program at a vocational school. These programs take between six and 12 months to complete. Once educational requirements have been met, technicians must receive certification by their state in order to assume employment. Pharmacy technicians and aides are responsible for assisting the pharmacist and performing jobs such as counting tablets and registering patient prescriptions. Pharmacists, on the other hand, require six years of post-secondary education following graduation from high school to seek employment. Pharmacists must be licensed by the state in which they are employed. In their jobs, pharmacists are responsible for filling prescriptions and managing patient records. Some pharmacists may also be responsible for mixing medications needed by patients.
Industry Salary Info
Salaries for pharmacy professionals will vary based on the individual’s level of education and position. Pharmacy technicians and aides typically earn considerably less than pharmacists. Median hourly wages for pharmacy technicians and aides were $13.32 in 2008. Those at the top of the profession had median hourly wages of $18.98 while those at the lowest end of the pay scale had median hourly wages of $9.27. Aides and technicians with higher levels of education and experience were able to acquire higher salaries than those entering the profession with no experience. Pharmacists, by comparison had median annual salaries of 104,206 in 2008. Salaries for pharmacists are quite generous do to the extensive amount of education required for these professionals. Although median salaries are high, opportunities for advancement in the field are limited. Salaries for pharmacists may also vary based on place of employment. Pharmacists working in hospitals may have higher salaries than those working in standalone drug stores.
The job outlook for all occupations in the field of pharmacy is expected to be quite robust overall. Demand for pharmacists will increase as a result of the aging Baby Boomer population and continued advances in medical science. More elderly people will require medications to treat chronic illness to sustain health and quality of life. Pharmacists will be needed to fill prescriptions and manage patient care through monitoring prescription drug use and interactions. Jobs for pharmacy technicians and aides are also expected to increase significantly. Demand for professionals in these occupations will be fueled by an increase in the number of older patients requiring medications as well as efforts to reduce the costs of providing pharmacy services. In many drug stores and hospital pharmacies, efforts to reduce staff costs have resulted in the employment of one pharmacist and several technicians. Cost-cutting efforts will increase the demand for pharmacy technicians as companies favor these low-cost positions.