Never has there been a time when the demand for a pharmacist has been this great.  With the population on a health craze bandwagon, over the counter treatments and diet supplements have added to the demand

Education and Training required

To be pharmacist in the US requires earning a 4-year Pharm.D. degree from an accredited school or college of pharmacy.  But to be admitted to the degree program, a student needs to have completed at least 2-3 years of college study in mathematics and natural sciences like biology and chemistry along with the humanities and social sciences.

To work in any of the states, you need to pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX). In addition, 44 states require you to pass the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (NABP) to assure companies you know pharmacy laws.

Getting the Job

With about 270,000 licensed pharmacists in the country, about 65% of Pharm.D. graduates work in a retail setting like drugstores and about 22% work in hospitals while the rest work in government agencies, pharmaceutical companies and mail order internet pharmacies. The position remains in high demand due to high turnover and the market demand for over the counter medication and health supplements

If you want to work in a clinical or research company, you need to have a 1-2 year pharmacy fellowship of residency, while those who wish to operate their own pharmacies take master degrees in MBA or obtain a degree in public health or public administration.

Working Conditions

Pharmacists working in retail drugstores can experience sustained peaks anytime throughout the day filling out prescription orders or attending to customers with over the counter medication needs.  Those in pharmaceuticals companies work in sterile clean rooms required for research work.

Salary and Benefits

The median annual salary for pharmacists in 2008 was at $106,500 where the 50% spread earned between $92,700 and $121,500 a year. The highest 10% took home more than $131,440 while the lowest 10% earned less than $77,400.