With patient access to physicians getting costlier and more scarce, pharmacists are stepping into the role of caregiver. They spend less time filling prescriptions (now largely delegated to assistants) and more time on the front lines: teaching diabetic patients how to inject insulin, helping hypertension patients manage their blood pressure, dispensing advice on which over-the-counter medication to use. One of a pharmacist's most important jobs is ensuring that patients can safely take multiple drugs together—interactions can be deadly.
The jobs aren't all at the local drugstore. One fourth of pharmacists work in hospitals. Others work for pharmaceutical companies on new drug development, especially in pharmacogenomics—drugs custom designed to work with an individual's genome. Just as cutting edge, if scarier: Pharmacists will also be key players in conducting mass immunizations and treatments in response to epidemics and bioterrorism.
National: $99,100. More pay data by metropolitan area
(Data provided by PayScale.com)
- The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy publishes links to all accredited pharmacy schools.
- U.S. News rankings of pharmacy schools (fee applies)
Research Pharmacist. Drug research teams working on new medications for cancer, depression, and other diseases often include a pharmacist, to assist in understanding compounds' effects on the body. Unlike retail and hospital pharmacists, research pharmacists rarely need to work nights or weekends. Plus, you're involved in the important work of creating new drugs.