Career Opportunities in Pharmacy

Career Opportunities in Pharmacy1

It is an incredibly exciting time to pursue a career in pharmacy and students graduating from the Texas A&M Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy have a wide-range of career opportunities available to them. To learn more about these opportunities, see below.   

Retail pharmacy

The majority of pharmacists work in retail pharmacy. Retail pharmacists dispense and verify medications, counsel patients on medication use and general health topics, and recommend over-the-counter products. Additionally, depending on the pharmacy, retail pharmacists may vaccinate patients or offer medication therapy management to patients with chronic disorders or both. Retail pharmacists manage pharmacy technicians and may choose to pursue a management track.   

Independent pharmacy

In addition to the responsibilities described under retail pharmacy, pharmacists working at an independent pharmacy may compound medications and, depending on the size of the pharmacy they own, they may manage finances, order and take inventory of items sold at the pharmacy, manage personnel, make payroll, etc. Individuals interested in owning a pharmacy should consider the PharmD/MBA dual degree program offered by the Rangel College of Pharmacy and consider joining the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA). 

Hospital pharmacy

Hospital pharmacists advise health care providers and patients on the safe and effective use of medications and are responsible for choosing, preparing, storing, compounding, and dispensing medications. Other responsibilities include monitoring medication use, implementing hospital regulations related to medication, and other administrative tasks. Individuals interested in hospital pharmacy typically complete a pharmacy residency program and should consider joining the Student Society of Health-System Pharmacists.   

Clinical pharmacy

Clinical pharmacists work with physicians and other health care professionals to ensure that medications contribute to optimal patient health outcomes. Responsibilities may include evaluating patient response to prescribed medications, attending patient rounds in hospital units and counseling patients. Clinical pharmacists work in hospitals, health clinics, nursing homes and insurance companies. Individuals interested in clinical pharmacy typically complete a pharmacy residency program and should consider joining the Student Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

Managed care

Managed care pharmacists work directly with other health care professionals to provide medication therapy management, while considering the pharmacoeconomic impact on patients. They provide a broad range of clinical services including monitoring patient safety and outcomes, managing formularies, and patient education. Managed care pharmacists typically work for health plans and pharmacy benefit management companies. Residency opportunities are available to individuals interested in managed care and interested individuals should consider joining the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy.

Industry

There are a broad range of opportunities available to pharmacists in the pharmaceutical industry. They can participate in research and development, quality assurance, drug information, sales, marketing, regulatory affairs or clinical trials. Individuals interested in working in the pharmaceutical industry typically participate in postgraduate fellowship programs available at many pharmaceutical companies.

Consultant pharmacy

Pharmacy consultants typically work with long-term care facilities and review drug regimens, offer pharmacokinetic dosing services, patient counseling and therapeutic drug monitoring. Long-term care facilitates include nursing homes, mental institutions, home health agencies, hospice care, correctional institutions, rehabilitation centers and adult day care centers.

Academia

Pharmacists interested in training the next generation can pursue a career as faculty member at a college or school of pharmacy. Pharmacy faculty teach, conduct research, participate in public service, precept students and contribute to patient care. Individuals interested in a career in academia should consider residencies with significant teaching components.

Nuclear pharmacy

Nuclear pharmacists compound and dispense radiopharmaceuticals for use in medical procedures. Individuals interested in nuclear pharmacy must complete a training program after earning a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and should consider residency programs that focus on nuclear pharmacy. Students enrolled at the Rangel College of Pharmacy may choose to enroll in an elective nuclear pharmacy rotation in the fourth year of the PharmD program.   

Government agencies

The National Institutes of Health, FDA, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Veterans Administration, and Armed Forces all employ pharmacists. Pharmacists working with a governmental agency engage in a wide range of tasks, including patient care, biomedical and epidemiological research, reviewing new drug applications, and developing and administering health care policy.

Many other opportunities in pharmacy

There are many additional employment opportunities available to pharmacists. To learn more, see the Pfizer Guide to Careers In Pharmacy.

1 O’Shea, T., "Career Paths for a Graduating PharmD." Pharmacy Times, Oct. 14, 2014.