12 Jobs in Pharmacy – Responsibilities – Salaries – Qualifications

In general, if someone wants to become a pharmacist, that person must obtain a Bachelor of Pharmacy first after 4 years in college. After that they have to attend a professional program study about 1 to 2 years to earn a PharmD degree and can be called a pharmacist. With this PharmD degree someone can be called a pharmacist and can perform pharmaceutical services.

Pharmacists are known by the public as professions working in pharmacies or hospitals. Nonetheless there are other employment options such as academia, regulatory bodies and pharmaceutical industry. Here we will describe the work that pharmaceutical graduates can do,

Jobs that are directly related for a pharmacist in general are divided into 3. There are:

  • Community pharmacist
  • Hospital pharmacist
  • Research scientist (medical)

To understand these 3 jobs, we will discuss everything related to those jobs such as their responsibilities, salary, working hours, qualification and skills below.

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1. Community Pharmacist

Working as community pharmacist mans that someone has the responsibility for dispensing and distributing medicine to patients. They will work in accordance with the legal and ethical guidelines to ensure that the drugs given to patients are safe to be used. We can find community pharmacist at pharmacies, supermarkets that sell drugs, and local healthcare centers. They will be in charge of safeguarding and improving people’s health by providing information about the drug and also by serving the purchase of prescription drugs.

In addition to serving prescription drugs, the community pharmacist can also sell over-the-counter (OTC) medicine products and provide precise information about the drugs the patient purchases. Sometimes we also find community pharmacists providing special services in health checks such as blood pressure monitoring and diabetes screening, health counseling, and other positive activities.


Here are the responsibilities of a community pharmacist:

  • Dispensing prescription medicine for patient
  • Ensuring that different treatments are compatible and related to patient’s condition
  • Checking and ensuring that medicine are correctly and safely supplied and labeled because pharmacist is legally responsible for any dispensing error
  • Supervising the preparation of any medicines
  • Keeping and managing a register of controlled drugs for legal and stock control purposes
  • Communicating with doctor related to patient’s treatment
  • Serving over-the-counter medicines and offering self-medication service for patient
  • Counseling and giving patients all information that is related to their treatment, including adverse reaction of drug that may occur, interaction with other medicine/food, information about how their medication work and why they have to take them and many more
  • Monitoring patient’s blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood glucose, and so on
  • Arranging the delivery prescription medicines to patients
  • Doing the home care service for special patients (pediatric, geriatric)
  • Monitoring patient’s treatment via their patient medication record
  • Keeping up to date with current pharmacy practice, new drugs, and their uses

Salary and Working Hours

A community pharmacist can earn about 2500 – 3000 USD every year. This depends on the policy provided by each place. If they already have enough experience, then they can earn about 4500 USD per year. A community pharmacist can also get promotions up to the management board and can earn about 5000 – 8000 USD every year.

Each pharmacy and other public health services will be open for a certain time within a week. But we can also find pharmacies and public health services that are open for 24 hours. For that condition a community pharmacist will usually work with rotation system. In one day they will work more or less for 7-8 hours and will work in shifts.

Qualifications and Skills

To be a community pharmacist, there are some qualifications as below:

  •  Successfully complete a PharmD education in the accredited University
  • Complete a period of time training in community pharmacy
  • Pass the national exam to achieve the legal practice license

Besides having qualifications as mentioned above, a community pharmacist must have non-formal skills as listed below:

  • Good communication skills, because a community pharmacist must be able to communicate and listen to what patients say, sometimes a community pharmacist even need to discuss the patient’s treatment to doctor and other healthcare professionals
  • Be able to work in with others in multidisciplinary team and even lead others in a team
  • Concern for welfare of the general public
  • Accuracy and meticulous attention to detail because a small amount of dosage may result in big difference for patient
  • A methodical approach to work
  • Understand business and management principles related to drug selling
  • Have a professional and confident attitude
  • Have ability to inspire the trust of others
  • Willing to responsible to any job that they do

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2. Hospital Pharmacist

A hospital Pharmacist is someone who has a scientific mind and enjoys working with public as well as health professionals. They are experts in the field of medicine, how the medicine works and the effects in human body. A hospital pharmacist also need to responsible for dispensing prescription, involved in the purchasing and quality testing of medicines in hospital.

They usually work in hospital with medical and nursing staff to make sure patients receive the best treatment for their disease. Other than that, hospital pharmacist also need to advice the drug selection, dose, and type of administration for patient. They have to provide help and advice to patients in all aspects of their medication.


For being a hospital pharmacist, someone needs to have responsibilities as listed below:

  • Check prescription medicine and make sure that there are no errors and the medicines are appropriate and safe for the individual patient
  • Provide advice on drug selection, dosage, and dosage form of medicine that is most suitable for a patient
  • Doing the ward rounds to understand the patient drug histories
  • Doing a discussion with other medical professionals on problems patients may experience when taking their medicines
  • Doing a discussion with patient’s relatives, community pharmacists, and General Practitioners about patient’s treatment
  • Make sure that medicines are stored appropriately
  • Supervise the work of less experienced and less qualified staff
  • Provide drug information for other hospitals, general public, other medical professionals, and patients
  • Write drug formularies (guidelines) about drugs that are used in the hospital and implement hospital regulation
  • Keeping up to date with the new drugs and treatments

Salary and Working Hours

For a less experience or new hospital pharmacist, they are paid about 3,500 – 4,500 USD in a year. If the hospital pharmacist attends some training or seminar, the salary will rise and they will receive 3,800 – 4,800 USD in a year. In senior level such as advanced pharmacist, consultant pharmacist, team manager and professional manager, the salary will range from 5,000 – 10,000 USD in a year.

And the most senior manager of pharmaceutical service in hospital will receive salary of 9,000 – 12,000 USD in a year. These salaries may be varying in different level and hospital. In a week, hospital pharmacist needs to work up to 38 hours. Sometimes they even need to be part in an on-call rotation.

Qualifications and Skills

To be a hospital pharmacist, there are some qualifications as below:

  • Successfully complete a PharmD education in the accredited University, already obtained a Master degree in pharmacy (MPharm) is more preferable
  • Complete a period of time training in hospital pharmacy
  • Pass the national exam to achieve the legal practice license

Besides having qualifications as mentioned above, a hospital pharmacist must have non-formal skills as listed below:

  • Having a good communication skill in order to discuss the patient’s treatment with patients, patient’s relatives, and other health professionals
  • Accuracy and meticulous attention to detail because a small amount of dosage may result in big difference for patient
  • Having an ability to use scientific knowledge to solve problems
  • Good IT skills for recording patient’s information
  • Having a responsible and confident attitude to work
  • Able to work in a team
  • General clinical awareness
  • Having interpersonal skills and caring also sympathetic manner, because the work usually involves contact with patients on the wards and in outpatients department

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3. Research Scientist (medical)

A research scientist is someone who works by doing research to find new scientific knowledge related to medicines. In addition, they also play a role to develop, or improving existing medicines and treatments.

Usually research scientists can work in higher education institutions, research institutes, hospitals, and industry. The research is very starting from the investigation of basic health or disease, to conduct clinical research to find methods that can prevent diagnosis, and treatment of the disease.

The investigation is also carried out to the molecular level by using animal cells or human volunteers to see the clinical effects of developed drugs.


The responsibility of a research scientist may vary according to circumstances, but most of the work is done in laboratory-based. The general responsibilities of research scientist are as follows:

  • Plan and conduct research and analyze the results
  • Always do the job accurately
  • Able to operate computer software to analyze data and create diagrams to represent results
  • Teaching and supervising students if working at a higher education institute
  • Writing and reporting research results to the funding body to obtain additional funds for clinical research
  • Conducting discussions about the on ongoing research with other departments such as production and marketing departments (if working in industry)
  • Collaborate with industry, research institutes, hospitals, and academia for the sake of better medical research

Salary and Working Hours

Research scientists who have less or no experience will receive a salary of 18,000 USD each year. If the research scientist has earned a PhD degree then the salary will range from 32,000 to 42,000 USD every year. The salary can increase from 65,000 to 90,000 at the senior and professor level.
Working hours are usually 8 hours per day from Monday to Friday. But if the research is done urgently, then sometimes they need to work overtime until the weekend. However, sometimes research scientist’s work time will be flexible depending mainly on the academic environment.

Qualifications and Skills

To be a research scientist, there are some medical or life science subject that is required. The required subjects are:

  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical sciences
  • Genetics
  • Immunology
  • Medical microbiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology

The research scientist usually needs to have a MSc or PhD degree to secure a position in this field. But sometimes many areas of medical research look for graduates in chemistry, physics, or statistic / bioinformatics.

Besides having qualifications as mentioned above, a research scientist must have skills as listed below:

  • Having a good communication skill both written and oral
  • A methodical approach to work
  • Technical, scientific and numerical skills
  • Ability to work well in a team
  • Attention to detail
  • Having problem-solving skill and analytical thinking
  • Genuine enjoyment of the research subject

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Besides those 3 jobs that are related directly to pharmacy, there are also some jobs in pharmacy background. These jobs are:

1. Clinical research associate

Clinical research associate (CRA) is a person who conducts clinical trials to see the effectiveness, risks, and benefits of the drug to ensure that the drug is safe until the patient is using it. CRA can be found in the pharmaceutical industry. The work covered all stages in clinical trials including investigation, composing, setting-up, monitoring, until the end of the trial. To become a CRA then the required qualification is a PharmD degree from a qualified university. And within a year a new CRA can earn about 35,000 USD, and 50,000 for CRA with more experience.

2. Higher education lecturer

Jobs in pharmacy fields? Higher education lecturer is an academic lecturer for undergraduate and postgraduate subjects. Usually they work at the university or some further education colleges. Teaching methods that they use are includes lecturer, seminars, tutorials, practical demonstrations, field work, and e-learning. Each lecturer also has a research project to develop research activities from their institution.

The salary of a higher education lecturer is between 42,000 – 55,000 USD every year. For senior teacher, they can earn a salary of 50,000 – 75,000 USD per year. The qualification to become a higher education lecturer is to earn a minimum of Master of Science degree. But nowadays many institutions are looking for higher education lecturer with PhD degree.

3. Medical sales representative

The job of a medical sales representative is as a link between drug companies and healthcare professionals. They work by selling drug products (medicines, medical devices) to doctors, hospitals, and pharmacists. The ability that must be possessed by medical sales representatives is medical knowledge so they can present the medical product that they sell.

The salary that can be received by a medical sales representative is 25,000 USD per year. At the level manager the salary is about 50.000 USD per year. The required qualifications for this job are the Bachelor of Pharmacy or graduates from other faculties that are related to health and medicine.

4. Pharmacologist

Pharmacologist works to research and develop new drugs or existing drugs. Pharmacologist is required to be able to understand how the drug can work so it can be used effectively and safely. They will usually conduct studies related to drug development. Within a year they can earn a salary of 19,000 USD, but if they have earned a postdoctoral degree then the salary earned is 70,000 USD per year. Required qualifications are graduates from faculty who study pharmacology. And nowadays a pharmacologist with Master of Science degree is more preferable.

6Product / process development scientist

This work is a job that can be found in pharmaceutical companies. They are required to understand and control all processes of drug manufacturing into finished products in industry. In addition to medicines, they can also work in the food, cosmetics, and chemicals industries. Within a year they can earn a salary of 28,000 – 45,000 USD.

The required qualifications are pharmacy graduates with PharmD degree. In addition, workers are also required to understand the current Good Manufacturing Practice which is the basic standard in the pharmaceutical industry.

7. Regulatory affair officer

Regulatory officers play a role in ensuring licensing, marketing, and legal compliance of pharmaceutical products to ensure the safe and efficacy of the drug is guaranteed. They must combine science knowledge with legal and business issues to ensure the product meets the established requirements. Within a year the regulatory affair officer can earn a salary of about 25,000 – 38,000 USD, and at a higher level they can earn salary of 77,000 – 100,000 USD. To become a regulatory affair officer, the required qualifications are a Bachelor of Pharmacy with a PharmD degree.

8. Science writer

Science writer is someone who writes about research, news and articles related to science. Writings that are made will usually be published in professional publications, scientific journals, and general media. Science writers must understand all the information, theory, and application of science. Writing should also be easily understood by the general public. Within a year the science writer can earn a salary of 19,000 – 34,000 USD.

Science writers have flexible working hours but must complete their tasks according to deadlines. To become a science writer, someone needs to be graduated from faculty that is related to health or science such as pharmacy, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, biology, and others. Also, this can be your jobs in chemistry degree.

Indeed, there are many jobs in pharmacy background that you can take. Meanwhile, the fields are mostly in medical, hospital, laboratory, health care, and drugstore fields. People with pharmacy background major would be so brilliant and get high salary from the jobs.

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