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Job Outlook:
As fast as average
Education: Doctoral or professional degree
High: $164,230.00
Average: $129,410.00
Average: $62.22

What they do:

Dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners and provide information to patients about medications and their use. May advise physicians and other health practitioners on the selection, dosage, interactions, and side effects of medications.

On the job, you would:

  • Review prescriptions to assure accuracy, to ascertain the needed ingredients, and to evaluate their suitability.
  • Assess the identity, strength, or purity of medications.
  • Provide information and advice regarding drug interactions, side effects, dosage, and proper medication storage.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Pharmacists must evaluate the contents and side effects of prescribed medication to ensure that the patient may safely take it.

Communication skills. Pharmacists frequently must explain to patients about how to take medication and what its potential side effects are. They also may need to convey information to pharmacy technicians, interns, and other healthcare staff.

Compassion. Pharmacists often work with people who have health issues. They must be sympathetic to patients’ problems and needs.

Detail oriented. Pharmacists are responsible for accurately providing the appropriate medication for each patient.

Interpersonal skills. Pharmacists spend much of their time interacting with patients and as part of a healthcare team coordinating patient care.

Managerial skills. Pharmacists, particularly those who run a retail pharmacy, must have good leadership skills. These skills include ability to oversee inventory and direct staff.


A3 Your Strengths Importance

Characteristics of this Career

95% Attention to Detail  -  Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
92% Concern for Others  -  Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
91% Stress Tolerance  -  Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
91% Dependability  -  Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
89% Cooperation  -  Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
86% Integrity  -  Job requires being honest and ethical.
84% Self-Control  -  Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
81% Analytical Thinking  -  Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
81% Leadership  -  Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
77% Persistence  -  Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
74% Adaptability/Flexibility  -  Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
72% Initiative  -  Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
69% Independence  -  Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
67% Social Orientation  -  Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
A3 Your Strengths Importance


100% Investigative  -  Work involves studying and researching non-living objects, living organisms, disease or other forms of impairment, or human behavior. Investigative occupations are often associated with physical, life, medical, or social sciences, and can be found in the fields of humanities, mathematics/statistics, information technology, or health care service.
72% Conventional  -  Work involves following procedures and regulations to organize information or data, typically in a business setting. Conventional occupations are often associated with office work, accounting, mathematics/statistics, information technology, finance, or human resources.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Values of the Work Environment

78% Recognition  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
72% Support  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
67% Relationships  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
61% Achievement  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
61% Working Conditions  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
61% Independence  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.


A3 Your Strengths Importance

Abilities | Cognitive, Physical, Personality

81% Oral Expression  -  The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
78% Oral Comprehension  -  The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
78% Written Comprehension  -  The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
75% Near Vision  -  The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
75% Problem Sensitivity  -  The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
72% Inductive Reasoning  -  The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
72% Written Expression  -  The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
72% Deductive Reasoning  -  The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
72% Category Flexibility  -  The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
69% Information Ordering  -  The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
69% Speech Recognition  -  The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
69% Speech Clarity  -  The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Skills | Cognitive, Physical, Personality

68% Reading Comprehension  -  Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.

Job Details

Verify accuracy of patient information.
Communicate detailed medical information to patients or family members.
Advise patients on effects of health conditions or treatments.
Maintain inventory of medical supplies or equipment.
Order medical supplies or equipment.
Maintain medical facility records.
Treat chronic diseases or disorders.
Recommend types of assistive devices.
Collaborate with healthcare professionals to plan or provide treatment.
Advise medical personnel regarding healthcare issues.
Prepare medications or medical solutions.
Refer patients to other healthcare practitioners or health resources.
Prepare medications or medical solutions.
Determine protocols for medical procedures.
Calculate numerical data for medical activities.
Merchandise healthcare products or services.
Manage healthcare operations.
Train medical providers.
Present medical research reports.
Instruct patients in the use of assistive equipment.
Maintain medical facility records.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Attributes & Percentage of Time Spent

100% Telephone  -  How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
100% Indoors, Environmentally Controlled  -  How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
100% Importance of Being Exact or Accurate  -  How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
100% Face-to-Face Discussions  -  How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
100% Work With Work Group or Team  -  How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
98% Contact With Others  -  How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
96% Consequence of Error  -  How serious would the result usually be if the worker made a mistake that was not readily correctable?
95% Frequency of Decision Making  -  How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?
93% Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results  -  What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the image or reputation or financial resources of your employer?
92% Deal With External Customers  -  How important is it to work with external customers or the public in this job?
92% Time Pressure  -  How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?
91% Electronic Mail  -  How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
90% Freedom to Make Decisions  -  How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
88% Responsibility for Outcomes and Results  -  How responsible is the worker for work outcomes and results of other workers?
87% Importance of Repeating Same Tasks  -  How important is repeating the same physical activities (e.g., key entry) or mental activities (e.g., checking entries in a ledger) over and over, without stopping, to performing this job?
86% Exposed to Disease or Infections  -  How often does this job require exposure to disease/infections?
84% Spend Time Standing  -  How much does this job require standing?
79% Physical Proximity  -  To what extent does this job require the worker to perform job tasks in close physical proximity to other people?
78% Coordinate or Lead Others  -  How important is it to coordinate or lead others in accomplishing work activities in this job?
76% Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions  -  How much does this job require making repetitive motions?
73% Structured versus Unstructured Work  -  To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?
68% Responsible for Others' Health and Safety  -  How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?
68% Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People  -  How frequently does the worker have to deal with unpleasant, angry, or discourteous individuals as part of the job requirements?
67% Level of Competition  -  To what extent does this job require the worker to compete or to be aware of competitive pressures?
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Tasks & Values

85% Documenting/Recording Information  -  Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
84% Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge  -  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
83% Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards  -  Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
82% Making Decisions and Solving Problems  -  Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
81% Getting Information  -  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
79% Working with Computers  -  Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
79% Processing Information  -  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
77% Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings  -  Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
72% Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others  -  Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
71% Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates  -  Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
71% Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work  -  Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
70% Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events  -  Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
69% Assisting and Caring for Others  -  Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
67% Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships  -  Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

What Pharmacists Do

Pharmacists review the accuracy of each filled prescription before it is given to the customer.

Pharmacists dispense prescription medications and provide information to patients about the drugs and their use. They also advise physicians and other healthcare workers on the selection, dosage, interactions, and side effects of medications to treat health problems. They may help patients with their overall health through activities such as providing immunizations.


Pharmacists typically do the following:

  • Fill prescriptions to the proper amount based on physicians’ instructions
  • Check patients’ allergies, medical conditions, and other drugs they are taking to ensure that the newly prescribed medication does not cause adverse reaction
  • Instruct patients on proper use, side effects, and storage of prescribed medicine
  • Administer vaccinations, such as flu shots
  • Advise patients about general health topics, such as exercise and managing stress, and on other issues, such as what equipment or supplies would be best to treat a health problem
  • Work with insurance companies to resolve billing issues
  • Supervise the work of pharmacy technicians and pharmacists in training (interns)
  • Maintain patient and pharmacy records
  • Educate other healthcare workers about proper medication therapies for patients

Pharmacists verify instructions from physicians to fill and dispense prescription medications. For many drugs, pharmacists use standard dosages from pharmaceutical companies. However, pharmacists also may create customized medications by mixing ingredients themselves, a process known as compounding.

Pharmacists usually have a variety of other duties. In addition to answering patients’ questions about their prescriptions, for example, pharmacists may advise about or assist with topics of general health or the use of over-the-counter medications. Pharmacists also may have administrative responsibilities, including keeping records and managing inventory.

The following are examples of types of pharmacists:

Community pharmacists work in retail settings 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 health concerns. They also may provide some primary care services such as giving flu shots and performing health screenings.

Clinical pharmacists work in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings where they provide direct patient care. They may go on rounds in a hospital with a physician or healthcare team. Additionally, they recommend medications to patients and oversee the dosage and timing of the delivery of those medications. They also evaluate the effectiveness of drugs and a patient’s progress. Clinical pharmacists may conduct certain medical tests and offer advice to patients. For example, pharmacists may earn credentials to work in a diabetes clinic, where they 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. They may give advice directly to patients, such as helping seniors manage their prescriptions. Consultant pharmacists also advise facilities on improving services to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations.

Pharmaceutical industry pharmacists work in areas such as marketing, sales, or research and development. Their work includes designing or conducting clinical trials of new drugs. They may also help to establish safety regulations and ensure quality control for drugs.

Work Environment

Pharmacists held about 334,200 jobs in 2022. The largest employers of pharmacists were as follows:

Pharmacies and drug retailers 42%
Hospitals; state, local, and private 27
General merchandise retailers 6
Ambulatory healthcare services 6

Pharmacists collaborate on patient care with other healthcare workers, including physicians and surgeons, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners.

Pharmacists spend much of their workday standing. Their work may expose them to harmful substances, but following safety protocol and wearing lab coats, gloves, and other protective gear reduces the risk of injury or illness.

Work Schedules

Most pharmacists work full time. In hospitals and other facilities that are open 24 hours, pharmacists may work nights, weekends, and holidays.

Getting Started

Doctoral Degree
Bachelor's Degree

How to Become a Pharmacist

Pharmacists must pay attention to detail, ensuring the accuracy of the prescriptions they fill.

Pharmacists typically need a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from an accredited pharmacy program. Every state requires pharmacists to be licensed.


Pharmacists typically need a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from an accredited pharmacy program. (A list of accredited programs is available from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).)

Admission requirements vary; however, Pharm.D. programs typically require applicants to have at least 2 years of prerequisite undergraduate courses in subjects such as anatomy and physiology, physics, and statistics. Some Pharm.D. programs require or prefer that applicants have a bachelor’s degree in biology, a healthcare and related, or a physical science field, such as chemistry.

Pharm.D. programs usually take 4 years to finish, although some programs offer a 3-year option. Others admit high school graduates into a 6-year program. Pharm.D. programs include courses in sciences, pharmacology, and pharmacy law. Students also complete supervised work experiences, sometimes referred to as internships, in settings such as hospitals and retail pharmacies.

Some pharmacy programs offer a dual-degree option. These programs allow students to get another graduate degree, such as a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) or a master’s degree in public health (MPH), along with their Pharm.D. degree.


Following graduation from a Pharm.D. program, pharmacists seeking a clinical or other advanced position may opt to complete a residency or fellowship. These program typically last 1 to 2 years and provide additional training and research opportunities. Pharmacists who choose a 2-year residency program train in a specialty area such as cardiology, internal medicine, or pediatric care.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states require pharmacists to be licensed, although licensure requirements vary. After completing their degree, prospective pharmacists typically must pass two exams to get a license. The North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX) tests pharmacy skills and knowledge and is required in all states. The Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE) or state-specific test on pharmacy law is also required. Applicants also must complete a state-specified number of hours as an intern. To maintain licensure, pharmacists must complete continuing education.

In most states, pharmacists must be certified to administer vaccinations. For information about certification, see the American Pharmacists Association’s Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery program.

Pharmacists may choose to earn a certification to show advanced knowledge in a specific field. For example, a pharmacist may become a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist, a credential offered by the Certification Board for Diabetes Care and Education, or earn certification in a specialty area, such as emergency care or oncology, from the Board of Pharmacy Specialties. Certifications from both organizations generally require applicants to have work experience and pass an exam.

Job Outlook

Employment of pharmacists is projected to grow 3 percent from 2022 to 2032, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 13,400 openings for pharmacists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.


Demand is projected to increase for pharmacists in some healthcare settings, such as in hospitals and clinics. As the roles of pharmacists expand beyond traditional drug-dispensing duties, these workers increasingly will be integrated into healthcare teams to provide medication management and other patient care services in these facilities.

Meanwhile, many pharmacists work in retail pharmacies, which includes independent and chain drug stores as well as supermarket and mass merchandiser pharmacies. Fewer pharmacist jobs are expected in these settings as the industry consolidates and more people fill their prescriptions online or by mail.

Contacts for More Information

For more information about pharmacists, visit

American College of Clinical Pharmacy

American Pharmacists Association

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists

National Association of Chain Drug Stores

For information on pharmacy as a career, preprofessional and professional requirements, programs offered by colleges of pharmacy, and student financial aid, visit

American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy

For more information about accredited Doctor of Pharmacy programs, visit

Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education

For more information about certification options, visit

Board of Pharmacy Specialties

Certification Board for Diabetes Care and Education

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of pharmacists.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2022
Biochemists and biophysicists Biochemists and Biophysicists

Biochemists and biophysicists study the chemical and physical principles of living things and of biological processes.

Doctoral or professional degree $103,810
Medical scientists Medical Scientists

Medical scientists conduct research aimed at improving overall human health.

Doctoral or professional degree $99,930
Pharmacy technicians Pharmacy Technicians

Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers or health professionals.

High school diploma or equivalent $37,790
Physicians and surgeons Physicians and Surgeons

Physicians and surgeons diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses and address health maintenance.

Doctoral or professional degree $229,300
Registered nurses Registered Nurses

Registered nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate patient care and educate patients and the public about various health conditions.

Bachelor's degree $81,220

Information provided by CareerFitter, LLC and other sources.

Sections of this page includes information from the O*NET 27.3 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.

CareerFitter, LLC has modified all or some of this information. USDOL/ETA has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.