Pharmacy Practice

What You Will Learn in a Pharmacy Practice Degree Program

Working in pharmacy practice is a rewarding job because pharmacists typically have much more one-on-one sessions with patients than doctors or nurses. In fact, pharmacists are often referred to as "the most accessible health care professionals." In many ways, this is true because patients do not have to make appointments to see pharmacists and these professionals work at a variety of convenient locations, including supermarkets and drug stores. Those interested in joining this field have several educational and career choices: they can earn a doctorate, or PharmD, and become professional pharmacists, earn a master’s degree in pharmacy management, or earn an associate degree in health to become a pharmacy technician. Classes that all pharmacy students must take are health, anatomy, medical terminology, and human physiology. With higher degree levels, more classes specific to pharmacy, such as medical mathematics, will be taken as well.

What You Can Do With a Pharmacy Practice Degree

Those interested in joining the pharmacy field have the opportunity to consider a few different career options. Most pharmacy students earn their PharmD to become professional pharmacists. Pharmacists are responsible for adhering to a physician’s prescription and dispensing drugs to a patient. They also answer patient questions about how to take the medications and educate them on the safest ways to handle their conditions. Some will even advise patients on which over-the-counter medications to take to treat common symptoms like headaches and congestion. Some students who wish to go into pharmacy may rather become pharmacy technicians. Technicians work under pharmacists and help them to prepare and dispense medications as well as take care of the administrative duties of the pharmacy. This includes handling health insurance claims and financial transactions. Finally, pharmacy practice management graduates typically work in the business aspect of the pharmacy, taking care of the paperwork, books, and supplies of the facility.

Why a Pharmacy Degree Is in Demand

The importance of pharmacies is not going to fade any time soon. In fact, the health care industry as a whole is one of the most prosperous and steadily growing industries in the job market today. This is because there will always be a need for health care professionals, no matter what political power is in place or how the economy is doing. The job outlook for pharmacists is positive, with a projected growth of 17 percent in the 2008-18 decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pharmacy technicians are also expecting a growth in demand as well to keep up with the increase in pharmacies and pharmacists. In addition to job security, those working in the pharmacy field often reap substantial financial rewards as well. A fair number of pharmacists earn six figure salaries, and technicians often earn generous hourly wages.