A career in pharmacy is rewarding in many different ways, particularly in how it impacts the lives of people who need help. Not only does the profession allow continually growing career opportunities, it also cultivates and enriches social, cultural and educational aspects of the pharmacist’s life. Pharmacists are continually expanding their knowledge and services. Here are three options to consider in the profession.

Alternative Pharmaceutical Career Options

The most obvious beginning career choice for a licensed pharmacist is working in a local pharmacy, hospital or long term care facility but there are many other option available to aspiring healthcare professionals. Some pharmacists opt for nuclear pharmacy. They will measure, handle and deliver radioactive medicine services (radiopharmaceuticals) used by patients in need of these types of medicines. The amount of training involved in nuclear pharmacy is extensive and necessary for these types of jobs. Other pharmacists will work in home infusion and chemotherapy. Another choice is in pharmacology, doing drug research and determining how certain drugs affect the biological systems.

Medication Therapy Management (MTM) Specialization

Included in specific master’s degree programs in pharmacy is the specialty of medication therapy management (MTM), the objective of which is to maximize the results of drug therapy while improving the outcomes of patients. This specialist must be a licensed pharmacist but can also get this pharmacist degree online if they desire. MTM might be the model for a large segment of future pharmacy practice. Included in this therapy are patient assessments, patient medication reviews, formulation and implementation of medication plans for patients, monitoring the patients’ medication and interfacing with physicians on a multidisciplinary basis to assure optimum patient care. The MTM specialist is the key player in bridging the gap for the patient who suffers several conditions and takes multiple medications that are prescribed by multiple physicians. Without the MTM there can be a catastrophic pharmacological mess of medication mismanagement.

Doctor of Pharmacy

This is often called the Pharm.D. degree. A prerequisite of getting your doctorate is, obviously, being a licensed pharmacist. The degree is similar to that of a doctor of medicine, but the pharmacist cannot treat or diagnose patients. They’re limited to recommending medication therapy to a licensed physician and often specialize in different aspects of physiology and the effects it has with pharmaceuticals. The physician then implements it should they believe it’s appropriate. The Pharm.D. program usually takes eight years to complete, just like a normal doctorate program. After passing the required two-part examination, the newly graduated candidate can practice pharmacy anywhere in the United States. The Pharm.D. program differs from the pharmacy Ph.D. program in that the person holding a Ph.D. is usually a researcher and not a practicing pharmacist.

Pharmacy is a global profession with lasting effects and repercussions. The pharmacist is highly visible and accessible to the general public. They’re relied on for their extensive knowledge and sound judgment. Career opportunities with significant professional and personal growth await the student contemplating a career in pharmacy.