Pharmacists are responsible for giving the proper dosages of medicine, providing information on potential side effects and drug interactions. A pharmacist needs to help people and explain complex scientific concepts in easy-to-understand terminology. After reading the pharmacist job description, the reader should be able to identify what a pharmacist is expected to do, their education required for the job, the skills needed to be a successful pharmacist, where they typically work and the job outlook.

Two pharmacist working on a checklist.

What Does a Pharmacist Do?

A pharmacist has to prepare medication, explain dosage protocols to patients, answer patient questions, and aid pharmacist technicians in preparing dosages. A pharmacist can work in the hospital setting or in the community. Pharmacists have to complete their bachelor’s degree and then earn the Doctor of Pharmacy Degree. This doctoral degree takes 4 years to earn. The expected pharmacist salary is $121,500.

Pharmacist Job Description for Resume – Responsibilities

The main responsibilities outlined in the pharmacist job description are in the bulleted list below. These responsibilities are what a hiring manager might find on a pharmacist’s resume.

  • Calculate and prepare medications based on dosage instructions and patient demographics.
  • Explain to patients in an easy-to-understand way how to take a medicine and if the branding of the medicine matters.
  • Research and identify possibly dangerous drug interactions by looking at a patient’s history and the side effect combinations from two or more drugs.
  • Become aware of common and rare side effects of drugs given to patients so that patient questions or concerns about the impact of the drug on their body are answerable.
  • Confidently explain to people what their insurance covers and be prepared to suggest drug substitutions that work best with various insurance plans.
  • Supervise the work of pharmacy technicians to minimize possible prescription and dispensing errors.
  • Keep current in the field to identify new drugs, drug interactions, or updates on the risks of certain drugs on the body.

Pharmacist Job Description Essential Skills

Calculation Skills. Preparing medications requires titration of liquids so the suspension of medicine is solution is correct and accurate dispensing of pills. Pharmacists need to be able to quickly and accurately prepare medications for individual patients.

Managerial Skills. There are additional team members who are vital to the success of a pharmacy. The pharmacist has years of education and needs to have effective ways to communicate this information to their team members.

Flexibility Skills. Drug manufacturers continually look for ways to increase drug effectiveness, reduce drug side effects, or improve the cost of a drug. The continually changing field requires pharmacists to be involved in professional networking channels to become aware of these changes and deliver the best quality care to their patients.

Interpersonal Skills. Drugs and medicine are a vital part of the health of people. Pharmacists play a crucial role in supporting people in their health. Pharmacists need to make sure that the prescriptions given are explained in a way that the patient can understand and that all patient questions about the drugs are answered.

Pharmacist Job Description to Become a Pharmacist

There are two paths to becoming a pharmacist. Both paths require extensive amounts of schooling. They also need to pass licensing requirements. Professionals who want to specialize need to continue their schooling to the post-doctoral level. Pharmacists have their Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Becoming an expert in the field implies that they have an education in six areas to educate people on medicine.

Education & Training Requirements

A pharmacist does not need to major in a particular field in undergraduate. However, majoring in a STEM related field will be helpful as an aspiring pharmacist because courses like chemistry, biology, and calculus are required.

Students then apply for a doctoral program in pharmacy (Pharm.D.). This program typically takes four years. It is important to ensure that the pharmacy school is accredited. The accrediting body is the Council for Pharmacy Education.

Pharmacists can begin working after they complete pass their licensure exams. However, pharmacists who want to work in a specialty will need to continue their education with a residency and then take the licensure exams.

The two exams are the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam. These licenses show that a pharmacist is aware of the knowledge of the field and of the laws related to pharmacy.

Continuing education and professional development are expected for pharmacists to keep their knowledge and skills current. Pharmacists can use the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education to identify quality continuing education programs.

Work Experience

After graduating pharmacy school, pharmacists are able to get hired without prior experience. However, these pharmacists may have to work less favorable hours. Getting board certified or continuing education in residency makes entry-level pharmacists more favorable to hire. Internships are possible at the undergraduate level.

The pharmacy profession is only supposed to grow 3% until the year 2024. This leads to a competitive market to get hired. To increase work experience, it is important for pharmacy students to network and identify the type of environment they want to work in.

Work Schedules

The job description of pharmacists shows that their work schedules vary widely. This is mainly due to the work environment pharmacists choose. Pharmacists who work in a hospital or some stores can expect to work overnight.

Most pharmacists work full-time. The vast majority of pharmacists (42%) work in pharmacies with the rest working in hospitals, grocery stores, or department stores. Extra hours as a pharmacist are rare. Pharmacists have very important job responsibilities to ensure proper dosage for patients and fatigue could increase the chance of mistakes in dosages.

Career Prospects

Choosing to become a pharmacist means entering a competitive work environment. This is due to two reasons. First, the field is only supposed to grow 3% in the next 8 years.

Second, there have been an increase in pharmacy schools, thus sending more qualified candidates into the job applicant pool. Technology is expected to make the field more automated and rely less on manual labor. The salary for pharmacists is high at $121,500.

Advancement for pharmacists normally only occurs with additional schooling. Some pharmacists choose to open their own store or go into research. From a personal perspective being a pharmacist has many assets. The variety of places that pharmacists can work all provide different pros and cons. One of these is likely to fit with your work/life balance.

It is worth it to invest in the education to become a pharmacist based on the work/life balance and the salary. However, the competing factors today provide cons that make being a pharmacist less favorable than in the past. Pharmacists can increase their salary as they gain more experience, and thus more responsibility.


Pharmacists are responsible for managing the medicinal needs of people. This requires a complex skill set and many years of schooling. Pharmacists need to explain in layman terms how medicines interact and answer the questions of their patients. The median salary for pharmacists is $121,500. Overall, as the pharmacist job description revealed, being a pharmacist can be a rewarding, but demanding position.