Pharmacists may be best known to the American consumer as the friendly professional behind the grocery or convenience store counter who will fill prescriptions given by a doctor. Of course, there is a lot more to the profession than the retail aspect. Pharmacists work for pharmaceutical companies, in research facilities and also in hospitals. Yet it takes a sober evaluation of future trends to find must-know information regarding the best places to work as a pharmacist.
For example, while the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that employment growth in the pharmacist occupation between 2006 and 2016 will exceed the averages of other professions, the question where the employment opportunities may be found is not as easily answered. As of 2006, 62% of employed pharmacists worked in the pharmacies you find at grocery stores and related venues. That being said, 23% found employment in the hospital industry. Since an aging population that lives longer will increase the need for pharmaceuticals, these job opportunities are likely to remain stable and grow.
Nevertheless, another growing field for pharmacists to consider is the assisted living facility or even the home healthcare provider industry. Pharmacists specializing in geriatrics with respect to medication dosing information, drug interactions and also people skills may find that the playing field is wide open and thus the salary demands may be largely negotiable for the skilled pharmacists. Add to this that insurance companies may look to pharmacists to greatly augment the senior patient education with respect to drugs and vaccinations, there is a good chance that the pharmacist of tomorrow may find lucrative employment in this niche.
Another one of the best places to work as a pharmacist may also be the field of public health. While vaccinations for a good many ailments are currently available, there is also the growing number of Americans who eye them quite wearily and may actually refuse to inoculate themselves or their children against a number of ailments. Oftentimes this is due to fear of potential side effects, while at other times it is merely a matter of lacking patient education. Pharmacists in the public health sector may provide the needed patient education while at the same time also working with governmental agencies to project disease spread, available disease control options and possible curative drug therapies.
Another venue that is often overlooked — or may carry a bad rep — is the Internet pharmacy. While there are some illicit drug sellers that refer to their businesses as online pharmacies, there are actually plenty of bona fide Internet pharmacies operated by prescription insurance carriers. Costs at the online stores are usually considerably less than at a brick and mortar pharmacy; nevertheless, it takes a skilled pharmacist to evaluate the incoming prescriptions, be available for patient questions or concerns and also oversee the potential for drug interactions before a shipment is made. Tracking missing orders and – if needed – reporting lost or stolen drugs to the appropriate agencies may also fall under the auspices of this professional.
It is evident that the image of the neighborhood pharmacist, which is currently in the hearts and minds of consumers, will undergo a serious revamping. This also requires a change in the mindset of the pharmacist, especially when the newly minted pharmacy school graduate evaluates the best places to work as a pharmacist.