Planning ahead even as an underclassmen in pharmacy school will save you a lot of time. There have been many of those who spent considerable time as a post-graduate pharmacy resident, fellow, or even pursuing a PhD, and go completely around and work in a retail pharmacy. They could have saved a lot of time doing research in pharmacy school to have avoided the years spent in post-graduate training if they were to end up as a retail pharmacist, which typically does not require a post-graduate residency or fellowship. There are those of course who enjoy trying different things firsthand before settling down in one position. Below are some common career routes for pharmacy students.
Retail Pharmacist: The most common job of a newly christened pharmacy graduate. With many new medications available in the market, increasing retirement of baby-boomers, and the longer lifespan of retirees, the retail pharmacist will always be an essential and immediately available source of reliable health care professionals in this country.
Hospital Pharmacist: Hospital pharmacist review medication orders for appropriateness, drug-drug interactions, provide support to nurses and doctors, and mix medications. They are an extremely helpful resource to other healthcare providers and are a valuable team member in the hospital performing critical tasks such as providing an additional checkpoint for medication safety.
Residency/Fellowship: One or two years of intensive training within a hospital, managed care, or retail organization. One year of residency may sometimes be equated by employers as two to three years of non-residency pharmacy experience.
Regulatory Analyst/Consultant: Pharmacists provide regulatory support for drug manufacturers in support of their clinical trials or drug applications for marketing purposes. Regulatory Analysts or Consultants may receive training as a fellow within an industry pharmaceutical program where they may learn all the nuances associated with drug applications and clinical trials.
Drug Information Specialist: Drug information specialists provide information support to other healthcare providers and patients. They advise on subjects such as interpreting journal articles, reviewing a medication’s adverse effects and interactions, and performing drug presentations to other healthcare providers and even students.
Academia: Pharmacists and those with advanced pharmaceutical degrees (PhD) who have a passion of teaching the future generation of pharmacists may teach at pharmacy schools and even other healthcare schools such as medical and nursing schools. Many of the teachers experiences that range from clinical/retail experience, drug industry, or pharmacology.
Information Systems Pharmacist: These pharmacists have a knack for fixing computers, printers, software, or other information technology issues related to pharmacy medication order entry systems, automated dispensing cabinets, etc. Training for a career in this may require taking classes with vendor products, courses in computers at the college level, or just being good with computers. They are also involved with managing or creating medication reports for management, adding or deleting drugs in the medication database, working with other IT departments, and managing medication alert settings within the pharmacy IT systems.
Medical Liaison: Pharmacists are obvious well known for their knowledge of drugs. Therefore, putting that to good use, they may be employed as medical liaisons on behalf of a drug company. These positions require a level of knowledge beyond those of a typical drug representative. They meet with medical doctors to provide resourceful drug information, as well as provide presentations during drug conferences. Lots of travel is usually necessary, but much flexibility in one’s own schedule is usually allowed. Not a typical office drug as your office may be within your car or home. If you are an extrovert that likes meeting new people, providing presentations, and are a travel warrior this may be the job for you!