Fields within the Medical Path (Part10)

Fields within the Medical Path (Part10)

Do you want aA medical field career, but aren’t sure what you want to do or where you will fit in? Thankfully, there are plenty of career options from which to choose, and not all of them require years of schooling and long residencies.

Perhaps you are interested in dealing directly with people and providing high quality customer service; if so, you might find working as a medical receptionist or hospital intake coordinator appealing. Medical assistants, nurse’s aides, and dental hygienists are just some of the careers that might appeal to those interested in medical field careers without investing years in school. If the idea of long-term training does not deter you, then any number of medical careers exists: physician, nurse, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, physical therapist. Many of these upper level vocations require a minimum of four years in college, with most requiring graduate level work with clinical practice. These careers are challenging in both classroom and real life, but those who have the determination and discipline necessary to succeed in these areas will discover a lifelong, rewarding medical career.


Thanks to the aging population of the United States, the need for qualified people in this medical field career has grown in the past several years. “According to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the number of prescriptions filled increased from 1.9 million in 1992 to more than 3.1 million in 2002 (60 percent increase in over 10 years)” (quoted by American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy). Better qualified pharmacists are needed to fill so many prescriptions! Pharmacists have become more active participants in the health and welfare of patients. Pharmacists are a supportive resource to both patient and physician. They help educate people about their medications and how to take them properly. Licensed pharmacists work in drug stores, hospitals, Internet and mail order pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies, and the federal government. Pharmacists occupied approximately 270,000 jobs in 2008 (BLS, 2009), 65 percent of which were in retail pharmacy positions.

If you’re interested in becoming a pharmacist, be prepared to spend at least six years in school. The minimum degree required to practice as a pharmacist in the United States is the Pharm.D. (Doctorate of Pharmacy). A bachelor’s degree in pharmacy is no longer given. Pharm.D. programs are four years in duration and require two years of specific professional study before admission. Coursework is weighted in math and science. Pharmacists go on to complete a one- or two-year residency or internship, which usually requires a research project to graduate from the program. After a student obtains a Pharm.D., he or she must sit for a series of exams to be licensed – a requirement for practice in all 50 states. As with other health care professions, it helps a pharmacist to be people oriented, helpful, and compassionate. Pharmacists spend a lot of time answering questions and educating the general public about medications that often produce many side effects; it behooves them to be patient and client focused.

The BLS predicts a positive job outlook for pharmacists in the coming years, forecasting a 17 percent growth rate in the next ten years. The increasing elderly population and their need for medications as well as the increasing number of people with prescription benefits are just two of the reasons to support this prediction. The average salary for pharmacists in 2008 was $106,410, the majority of which worked in retail chain drug stores.

Becoming a pharmacist is a smart career choice for anyone interested in science and helping people live longer, healthier lives. Innovations in the pharmaceutical industry will continue and there will always be a need for competent pharmacists.

As always, you can count on EresumeX for your free job search portal.

~Dawn Krovicka