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Become A Clinical Pharmacist

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Working As A Clinical Pharmacist

  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Processing Information
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • Make Decisions

  • $113,270

    Average Salary

What Does A Clinical Pharmacist Do

Pharmacists dispense prescription medications to patients and offer expertise in the safe use of prescriptions. They also may conduct health and wellness screenings, provide immunizations, oversee the medications given to patients, and provide advice on healthy lifestyles.

Duties

Pharmacists typically do the following:

  • Fill prescriptions, verifying instructions from physicians on the proper amounts of medication to give to patients
  • Check whether prescriptions will interact negatively with other drugs that a patient is taking or any medical conditions the patient has
  • Instruct patients on how and when to take a prescribed medicine and inform them about potential side effects they may experience from taking the medicine
  • Give flu shots and, in most states, other vaccinations
  • Advise patients about general health topics, such as diet, exercise, and managing stress, and on other issues, such as what equipment or supplies would be best to treat a health problem
  • Complete insurance forms and work with insurance companies to ensure that patients get the medicines they need
  • Oversee the work of pharmacy technicians and pharmacists in training (interns)
  • Keep records and do other administrative tasks
  • Teach other healthcare practitioners about proper medication therapies for patients

Some pharmacists who own their pharmacy or manage a chain pharmacy spend time on business activities, such as inventory management. Pharmacists also must take continuing education courses throughout their career to keep up with the latest advances in pharmacological science.

With most drugs, pharmacists use standard dosages from pharmaceutical companies. However, some pharmacists create customized medications by mixing ingredients themselves, a process known as compounding.

The following are examples of types of pharmacists:

Community pharmacists work in retail stores such as chain drug stores or independently owned pharmacies. They dispense medications to patients and answer any questions that patients may have about prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, or any health concerns that the patient may have. They also may provide some primary care services such as giving flu shots.

Clinical pharmacists work in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings. They spend little time dispensing prescriptions. Instead, they are involved in direct patient care. Clinical pharmacists may go on rounds in a hospital with a physician or healthcare team. They recommend medications to give to patients and oversee the dosage and timing of the delivery of those medications. They also may conduct some medical tests and offer advice to patients. For example, pharmacists working in a diabetes clinic may counsel patients on how and when to take medications, suggest healthy food choices, and monitor patients’ blood sugar.

Consultant pharmacists advise healthcare facilities or insurance providers on patient medication use or improving pharmacy services. They also may give advice directly to patients, such as helping seniors manage their prescriptions.

Pharmaceutical industry pharmacists work in areas such as marketing, sales, or research and development. They may design or conduct clinical drug trials and help to develop new drugs. They may also help to establish safety regulations and ensure quality control for drugs.

Some pharmacists work as college professors. They may teach pharmacy students or conduct research. For more information, see the profile on postsecondary teachers.

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How To Become A Clinical Pharmacist

Pharmacists must have a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from an accredited pharmacy program. They must also be licensed, which requires passing licensure and law exams.

Education

Prospective pharmacists are required to have a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree, a postgraduate professional degree. In July 2014, there were 130 Doctor of Pharmacy programs fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).

Admissions requirements vary by program, however, all Doctor of Pharmacy programs require applicants to take postsecondary courses such as chemistry, biology, and anatomy. Most programs require at least 2 years of undergraduate study, although some require a bachelor’s degree. Most programs also require applicants to take the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT).

Pharm.D. programs usually take 4 years to finish, although some programs offer a 3-year option. Some schools admit high school graduates into a 6-year program. A Pharm.D. program includes courses in chemistry, pharmacology, and medical ethics. Students also complete supervised work experiences, sometimes referred to as internships, in different settings such as hospitals and retail pharmacies.

Some pharmacists who own their own pharmacy may choose to get a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) in addition to their Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Others may get a degree in public health.

Training

Following graduation from a Pharm.D. program, pharmacists seeking an advanced position, such as a clinical pharmacy or research job, may need to complete a 1- to 2-year residency. Pharmacists who choose to complete the 2-year residency option receive additional training in a specialty area such as internal medicine or geriatric care.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states license pharmacists. After they finish the Pharm.D. program, prospective pharmacists must pass two exams to get a license. The North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX) tests pharmacy skills and knowledge. The Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE) or a state-specific test on pharmacy law is also required. Applicants also must complete a number of hours as an intern, which varies by state.

Pharmacists who administer vaccinations and immunizations need to be certified in most states. States typically use the American Pharmacists Association’s Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery program as a qualification for certification.

Pharmacists also may choose to earn a certification to show their advanced level of knowledge in a certain area. For instance, a pharmacist may become a Certified Diabetes Educator, a qualification offered by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators, or earn certification in a specialty area, such as nutrition or oncology, from the Board of Pharmacy Specialties. Certifications from both organizations require varying degrees of work experience, as well as passing an exam and paying a fee.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Pharmacists must provide safe medications efficiently. To do this, they must be able to evaluate a patient’s needs and the prescriber’s orders, and have extensive knowledge of the effects and appropriate circumstances for giving out a specific medication.

Communication skills. Pharmacists frequently offer advice to patients. They might need to explain how to take a medicine, for example, and what its side effects are. They also need to offer clear direction to pharmacy technicians and interns.

Computer skills. Pharmacists need computer skills to use any electronic health record (EHR) systems that their organization has adopted.

Detail oriented. Pharmacists are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the prescriptions they fill. They must be able to find the information that they need to make decisions about what medications are appropriate for each patient, because improper use of medication can pose serious health risks.

Managerial skills. Pharmacists—particularly those who run a retail pharmacy—must have good managerial skills, including the ability to manage inventory and oversee a staff.

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Clinical Pharmacist Jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Pharmacist Manager 6.3 years
Staff Pharmacist 6.0 years
Retail Pharmacist 4.8 years
Pharmacist 4.5 years
Float Pharmacist 2.5 years
Top Employers Before
Pharmacist 22.4%
Internship 1.3%
Manager 0.9%
Top Employers After
Pharmacist 26.2%
Consultant 1.6%
Manager 1.3%

Do you work as a Clinical Pharmacist?

Clinical Pharmacist Demographics

Gender

Female

58.9%

Male

37.9%

Unknown

3.1%
Ethnicity

White

53.9%

Asian

17.5%

Hispanic or Latino

12.1%

Black or African American

10.7%

Unknown

5.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

33.1%

French

10.7%

Vietnamese

7.9%

Chinese

7.9%

Arabic

6.2%

Mandarin

5.6%

Hindi

4.5%

Russian

4.5%

Cantonese

3.9%

Gujarati

2.8%

Swedish

1.7%

Korean

1.7%

German

1.7%

Polish

1.7%

Ukrainian

1.1%

Malay

1.1%

Dari

1.1%

Urdu

1.1%

Dakota

1.1%

Sanskrit

0.6%
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Clinical Pharmacist Education

Schools

University of Florida

12.2%

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences

9.6%

Temple University

7.1%

Duquesne University

6.9%

University of Illinois at Chicago

6.5%

Northeastern University

5.5%

Howard University

4.9%

University of Southern California

4.5%

Midwestern University

4.4%

Nova Southeastern University

4.1%

University of the Sciences

4.0%

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

3.7%

University of Kentucky

3.6%

University of Kansas

3.6%

Texas Southern University

3.3%

University of Arizona

3.3%

University of Rhode Island

3.2%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.2%

State University of New York Buffalo

3.2%

University of Maryland - Baltimore

3.2%
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Majors

Pharmacy

79.0%

Business

5.7%

Health Care Administration

1.9%

Biology

1.8%

Chemistry

1.3%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

1.2%

Management

1.2%

Nursing

1.1%

Public Health

1.0%

Medical Technician

0.7%

Clinical Psychology

0.7%

Education

0.6%

Pharmacology

0.6%

Law

0.6%

Medicine

0.6%

Medical Assisting Services

0.6%

Elementary Education

0.4%

Health Sciences And Services

0.4%

Physiology And Anatomy

0.3%

Liberal Arts

0.3%
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Degrees

Doctorate

43.4%

Bachelors

20.5%

Other

19.1%

Masters

11.9%

Certificate

2.7%

Associate

1.3%

Diploma

0.7%

License

0.4%
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Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Clinical Pharmacist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Clinical Pharmacist Community Hospital of The Monterey Peninsula Monterey, CA Jun 01, 2011 $154,355
Clinical Pharmacist Informatics Prowess It Solutions LLC Metuchen, NJ Oct 02, 2016 $147,389
Clinical Pharmacist Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital Santa Rosa, CA Sep 01, 2015 $144,000
Clinical Pharmacist-Diabetes Specialist Sonora Regional Medical Center Sonora, CA Sep 16, 2015 $143,208
Clinical Pharmacist Memorial Hermann Health System Houston, TX May 16, 2016 $132,827
Clinical Pharmacist Memorial Hermann Health System Houston, TX Dec 23, 2015 $132,827
Clinical Pharmacist Rite Aid Corp. Redmond, WA Apr 01, 2014 $131,064
Clinical Pharmacist Health Care Pioneers, Inc. DBA Vivarx Pharmacy Rancho Mirage, CA Jan 03, 2016 $130,000
Clinical Pharmacist Health Care Pioneers, Inc. DBA Vivarx Pharmacy Rancho Mirage, CA Jan 05, 2016 $130,000
Clinical Pharmacist Health Care Pioneers, Inc. DBA Vivarx Pharmacy Rancho Mirage, CA Nov 04, 2016 $130,000
Clinical and Operational Excellence and Process Improvement Pharmacist Kentuckyone Health, Inc. Louisville, KY Jun 03, 2015 $130,000
Clinical Pharmacist Yuma Regional Medical Center Yuma, AZ Sep 19, 2016 $129,269
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist Oroville Hospital Oroville, CA Jul 27, 2011 $127,829
Clinical Pharmacist Trivergent Health Alliance MSO LLC Cumberland, MD Aug 01, 2014 $117,291
Clinical Pharmacist University of Chicago Medical Center Chicago, IL Jan 07, 2016 $116,586
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas Beaumont, TX Sep 10, 2012 $116,480
Clinical Pharmacist-Specialist Adventist Health System/Sunbelt Inc. Orlando, FL Aug 24, 2015 $116,475
Clinical Pharmacist Specialist University of Chicago Medical Center Chicago, IL Oct 30, 2013 $115,000
Clinical Pharmacist-Pediatrics MCG Health, Inc. Augusta, GA Sep 30, 2012 $113,718
Coordinator/Clinical Pharmacist The Charlotte Mecklenburg Hospital Authority Charlotte, NC Feb 05, 2016 $113,360 -
$141,454
Clinical Pharmacist Zaibak PRN, LLC Milwaukee, WI Sep 10, 2014 $112,322 -
$125,220
Clinical Pharmacist Cleveland Clinic Florida Weston, FL Jun 27, 2012 $104,350
Transplant Clinical Pharmacist VCU Health System Authority Richmond, VA Nov 14, 2016 $104,000
Clinical Pharmacist University of Maryland Medical System Baltimore, MD Jul 18, 2011 $102,680
Clinical Pharmacist VHS Harper-Hutzel Hospital, Inc. Detroit, MI Jan 01, 2011 $102,534
Clinical Pharmacist University of Kansas Hospital Authority Kansas City, KS Jul 01, 2013 $102,070
Clinical Pharmacist University of Maryland Medical System Baltimore, MD Apr 11, 2011 $102,054
Lead Clinical Pharmacist Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Inc. Needham, MA Sep 01, 2015 $101,710

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Top Skills for A Clinical Pharmacist

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  1. IV
  2. Drug Information Questions
  3. Drug Therapy
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintain professional licensing and clinical competencies through on-line and live programs at work or attending continuing education programs within my vicinity.
  • Answered drug information questions using relevant databases.
  • Established optimal drug therapy recommendations based upon considerations of efficacy, safety, and cost effectiveness for each patient.
  • Implemented the decentralized cardiac pharmacist to improve communication and patient care in cardiology units.
  • Assisted physicians and nursing staff in setting up therapeutic objectives for drug therapy and establishing parameters for Monitoring safety and efficacy.

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Top 10 Best States for Clinical Pharmacists

  1. Alaska
  2. Maine
  3. Vermont
  4. Minnesota
  5. Texas
  6. Nevada
  7. New Mexico
  8. Wisconsin
  9. California
  10. Arizona
  • (34 jobs)
  • (54 jobs)
  • (29 jobs)
  • (297 jobs)
  • (758 jobs)
  • (99 jobs)
  • (96 jobs)
  • (205 jobs)
  • (1,612 jobs)
  • (312 jobs)

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