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What is this job like?

Pharmacists give medicine to people when a doctor says that they need it. They tell people how to use the medicine correctly.

Pharmacists are experts in medicine and its side effects. They sometimes help doctors choose which medicines to give patients. Pharmacists also warn doctors if the doctors have asked their patients to take any medicine that might hurt their patients.

Sometimes, pharmacists mix the medicine themselves. Most often, though, they use medicines that are already made.

Pharmacists mostly work in drug stores. These stores are clean and have a lot of light. Many pharmacists must stand while they work. Pharmacists must wear gloves and masks when they work with dangerous chemicals. Some pharmacists work at night or on weekends because sick people may need medicine at any time. Most pharmacists work about 40 hours a week, but some work longer hours.

How do you get ready?

Pharmacists must have a license from the State in which they work. After high school, it usually takes at least 6 years of study, including college and pharmacy school, to become a pharmacist. The person must also pass a certification test. People who want to be pharmacists should be good at science and math. They should be good at dealing with people. They should also be able to work carefully, because they often deal with strong medicine.

How many jobs are there?

There were about 269,900 pharmacists in 2008. Some of them worked in hospitals. Others worked in grocery stores and retail stores with pharmacies.What about the future?

Employment of pharmacists is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2018. There will be more elderly people in the future, and they will probably need medicines to deal with the problems of getting older.

Very good employment opportunities are expected for pharmacists. It is usually easy for pharmacy graduates to find jobs.

How much does this job pay?

In May 2008, pharmacists had average yearly wages of $104,260.

Are there other jobs like this?


Medical scientists


Pharmacy aides

Pharmacy technicians

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