Pharmacy Career Paths Offer Many Choices

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Okay, you've decided to pursue a career as a pharmacist. But do you know which subfield you might want to enter? Today's pharmacists have a variety of career paths to choose from.

Retail Pharmacists. Here, you'll dispense medications at drug stores or grocery stores. The hours can be demanding in retail, since many stores are now open 24/7. Most retail pharmacies employ two full-time pharmacists on 12-hour shifts alternating two days on and two days off.

Long-Term Care Pharmacists. Often called "closed door pharmacists," these medical professionals work in long-term care homes where ongoing care is provided to the elderly or incapacitated individuals. These pharmacists do not work directly with patients and take their orders from doctors or other licensed health care providers. They stock and organize the meds for each patient on an individual basis. They also remain on call, often overnight.

Clinical Pharmacists. Working in a hospital or medical center, clinical pharmacists are part of a medical care team, performing rounds on patients with a physician. They assist doctors in determining medications and advise on side effects and doses.

Nuclear pharmacists. These professionals measure and deliver radioactive materials used in imaging systems. Because of the many rules governing the use and handling of radioactive materials, nuclear pharmacists start their work in pre-dawn hours. This is because radioactive materials must be delivered within a few hours of their use.

Home infusion/Chemotherapy Pharmacists. These specialized pharmacists help cancer patients by accurately mixing today's advanced chemotherapy drugs.

For more information about pharmaceutical careers, check out the National Pharmacists Association or the American Pharmacists Association.

For more information on health careers, visit

Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients.

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