Today’s Pharmacist

Today's Pharmacist(2) copy

Today’s pharmacist is a health care provider specially trained to ensure the safe and effective use of medications which are increasingly complex and highly specialized. The demand for pharmacists continues to rise as more medications appear on the market along with a growing senior population that requires more drugs.

Today’s Pharmacists Master Medicines In Different Ways

  • Provide direct care and counseling to patients in community pharmacies, clinics and hospitals
  • Work in drug research and marketing in the pharmaceutical industry
  • Teach and conduct research in universities
  • Safeguard the public through their work in government agencies


Because of the important roles they play, pharmacists are among the most well-regarded members of the health care team. To become drug experts, pharmacists must train extensively in science and patient care. The four-year pharmacy school curriculum is rigorous, and today’s pharmacy graduates all hold a doctor of pharmacy degree.


Career Options Are Wide Open

Pharmacists are highly trained drug experts. They are responsible for making sure that patients benefit from the right medicines, given in the right dose, and at the right time-and that the medications patients take are safe and effective.  Pharmacists must consider a lot of things in the process, such as a patient’s disease, age, lifestyle, income, other drugs being taken, the side effects of a medication, how a patient’s genes affect which medication to choose or how much to give, the cost of medications, and much more.

Some pharmacists work in community pharmacies, where you often see them dispensing medications and counseling patients.  Others work in hospitals and medical centers, and specialize in areas such as pediatrics and infectious diseases.

Pharmacists also work for the federal government as they help to set drug policies.  They work in the pharmaceutical industry doing research on new drugs and they teach in universities where they also conduct research.

Plus, pharmacists are among the most respected professionals. In a December 2014 Gallup poll, when people were asked how they would rate the honesty and ethical standards of professionals in 21 different fields, 65 percent of those polled rated pharmacists as high or very high. This rating was in third place to nurses and doctors.

Job Prospects Are Good120,950 Median Salary

The job opportunities for pharmacists are excellent and the salaries are high. The average salary for the United States pharmacists ranges from $89,000-150,000 with a median average salary approaching $121,000 depending on one’s title and specialization.

The employment rate for pharmacy is growing faster than the average for all occupations due to scientific advances leading to new drug products, expanding roles of pharmacists, and expansion in health coverage.

In order to become licensed to practice, all pharmacists who now graduate from pharmacy school must have earned a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree.

Dr. Rajiv Shah on why pharmacists need to take a starring role in health care (Courtesy: TEDx Talks)

Learn More

Pharmacy is Right for Me is an educational campaign that aims to inspire and foster the next generation of pharmacy leaders in the United States. Pharmacy is Right for Me provides students, parents, and educators with interactive tools, resources, and first-person testimonials that give insight into the exciting and diverse career opportunities that exist within the field of pharmacy.

Pharmacy is Right for Me is a collaborative effort by American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), a national organization representing pharmacy education in the United States, American Pharmacists Association (APhA), the largest association of pharmacists in the country; and other national pharmacy associations.  OptumRx, a leading pharmacy benefits management organization and an Optum company provides financial support for maintenance of the website and Pharmacy is Right for Me activities. Content for is overseen by the Pharmacy Career Information Council (PCIC), a collaboration of national pharmacy organizations committed to promoting the pharmacy profession and the pharmaceutical sciences.

Adapted from the website Pharmacy is Right for Me