what is a pharmacist?

As a pharmacist, you are a healthcare professional that is responsible for dispensing medications to patients. You also ensure those medications are used safely and effectively. You are trained to understand how different medications work, including the potential side effects and any reactions they might have with other drugs. Using this training, you advise patients on how to take their medications properly and answer any questions they may have.

In addition to dispensing medications, you also play a key role in the healthcare system by collaborating with other healthcare professionals when necessary. You work closely with doctors, nurses, and other professionals to ensure patients receive the best possible care. You are also responsible for ensuring that medications are safe for patients to use. This involves reviewing prescriptions to ensure they are accurate and appropriate for the patient's condition.

Good interpersonal skills are essential in this line of work, as you deal with patients on a regular basis. You also collaborate with healthcare professionals, which requires good communication and a collaborative nature. Attention to detail is also important, as your ability to notice potential problems with a prescription directly affects the quality of life of your customers.

If the thought of helping people and improving their quality of life appeals to you, read on to find out what skills and competencies are necessary to thrive in a career as a pharmacist.

pharmacist roles

average pharmacist salary

According to Talent, the average salary of a pharmacist in India is ₹262,500 per year based on a typical hourly rate of around ₹105. At the entry-level end of the spectrum, pharmacists can earn a little under ₹200,000 per year. Meanwhile, the highest-earning pharmacists in the country make as much as ₹500,000 per year.

factors that affect pharmacist's pay

Your salary as a pharmacist can vary depending on several factors, including the amount of experience you have. Other factors include what level of education you obtained and the location of the pharmacy they work in.

As with many professions, experience is a significant factor when it comes to a pharmacist's potential salary. As you gain more experience and expertise, you are able to negotiate higher pay. Your level of education is also important. A Bachelor of Pharmacy is necessary for this profession, but you may also have additional qualifications. These include a Master of Pharmacy degree or a doctorate. A higher level of education will often help you in negotiating a higher salary.

The location of a pharmacy can have an impact on your salary, too. Pharmacists working in urban areas tend to earn higher salaries than those working in rural areas. This is due to there often being a greater demand for healthcare services in cities, and the cost of living is generally higher in urban areas.

female and male pharmacists
female and male pharmacists

types of pharmacists

The core aspects of your role as a pharmacist are mostly unchanged by the type of pharmacist you are. That being said, there are some differences between the different types of pharmacist roles. Here are the most common types of pharmacists:

  • community pharmacists: community pharmacists—sometimes called retail pharmacists—work in pharmacies that are open to the public. In this role, you dispense prescriptions and provide over-the-counter medications, health advice, and health-related products. You may also perform health screenings, such as blood pressure checks, and provide advice on things like quitting smoking or losing weight.
  • industrial pharmacist: as an industrial pharmacist, you work in the pharmaceutical industry dealing with the development of medications. You are responsible for researching, developing, and testing new medications, as well as manufacturing and quality control. You may work for pharmaceutical companies, government organisations, or academic institutions.
  • hospital pharmacist: in this role, you work in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, providing on-site pharmacist services. As with other types, you are responsible for dispensing medications, managing drug inventories, and ensuring that medications are used safely and effectively. You work closely with doctors and other healthcare professionals to develop treatment plans for patients in the facility.
  • academic pharmacist: academic pharmacists work in colleges and universities. In this role, you teach pharmacy students and conduct research on drugs and medications. You may work in research institutions or government agencies.

working as a pharmacist

The specific duties of a pharmacist include the following:


education and skills

Some of the academic qualifications for pharmacists include:

  • 12-standard: being a pharmacist requires at least a degree, which in turn means reaching a 10+2 level of education in school. This should be in a science stream.
  • bachelor's degree: having a bachelor's degree in pharmacy is a minimum requirement for becoming a pharmacist. Other qualifications are acceptable as long as the Pharmacy Council of India approves them.
  • master's degree: while not essential for becoming a pharmacist, a master's degree may help you command a better salary.

pharmacist skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of a pharmacist include:

  • communication: you are able to communicate effectively with patients, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. You can explain medication instructions clearly and answer any questions that patients may have.
  • attention to detail: you have good attention to detail, as even small errors in medication dosages or administration can have serious consequences. You review medication orders carefully and ensure that the correct medication is dispensed at the correct dosage.
  • clinical knowledge: you have a deep understanding of the clinical aspects of medication therapy. You are able to interpret medical orders and understand the underlying pharmacology.
  • interpersonal skills: an important part of your role as a pharmacist is the ability to work effectively in a team environment. You are able to collaborate with other healthcare professionals on treatment plans.
multiracial pharmacists
multiracial pharmacists

FAQs about working as a pharmacist

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a pharmacist.

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