Pharmacist Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A Pharmacist,  or Clinical Pharmacist, is responsible for overseeing the distribution of medications to people with various physical or mental health conditions. Their duties include communicating with local physicians to determine the type of medication and dosage for a customer, taking inventory of pharmaceutical drugs to reorder them based on local demand and interacting with pharmacy customers to give them their prescriptions and answer medication questions.

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Pharmacist duties and responsibilities

A Pharmacist will complete a variety of duties throughout their workday. Some duties of a Pharmacist may include:

  • Receiving and filling prescriptions
  • Communicating with medical professionals about patients and their medications
  • Listening to patients’ reports of symptoms and provide suggestions for over-the-counter medications
  • Accurately measuring, preparing and distributing proper medications to the patients that need them
  • Keeping track of inventory
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What does a Pharmacist do?

Pharmacists typically work for pharmacies in grocery stores or drug stores, but they can also work in healthcare facilities like hospitals or medical clinics to provide medication to patients. They work closely with other pharmacy staff to receive prescription orders and oversee prescription refills. Their job is to fill prescriptions, label them with the correct name and address and place them in organized compartments. They also contact customers when their prescriptions are ready. They may also be responsible for helping customers identify overt-the-counter medications for allergies or chronic pain that don’t require prescription medication.

Pharmacist skills and qualifications

Pharmacists need several skills to complete their duties properly. Skills for a Pharmacist may include:

  • Strong mathematical skills and understanding of science
  • Ability to measure substances accurately
  • Strong communication skills
  • Ability to detect and investigate mistakes in a patient’s medications and prescriptions
  • In-depth knowledge of drugs and their potential side effects

Pharmacist salary expectations

The average salary for a Pharmacist is $119,461 per year. Exact salary may vary depending on the applicant’s education, experience level and geographical location. Pharmacists generally stay in their positions for one to three years. 

Pharmacist education and training requirements

Pharmacists generally need a Doctor of Pharmacy degree before they are allowed to practice. They may also need to pass licensing exams such as the North American Pharmacists Licensure Examination before they take a professional position. They may need 1 or 2 years of training in a residency program before they apply to an open position. If applicants should be familiar with any tools or techniques before they start their first day with a company or organization, related training may be a prerequisite.

Pharmacist experience requirements

How much experience a candidate should have before applying to an open Pharmacist position depends on the specific job. If the position requires only a base knowledge of pharmacy, they may only need to complete their education and perhaps a residency program. If the Pharmacist position requires more in-depth knowledge or is a supervisory role, applicants could need a number of years’ related managerial experience before applying to the Pharmacist job posting. If the Pharmacist will be practicing in a specialty pharmacy, such as a veterinary, military or healthcare facility, they could need experience working in a similar setting.

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Frequently asked questions about Pharmacists


What is the difference between a Pharmacist and a Pharmacologist?

The difference between a Pharmacist and a Pharmacologist lies in their work environment and job responsibilities. For example, Pharmacologists typically work in clinical research facilities or pharmaceutical companies to test new drugs as part of clinical trials or studies. From their experimentation and research on new drugs, they determine the proper dosage of medications depending on age, weight or severity of conditions. They also compile reports and determine innovative methods for studying new medicines. In contrast, Pharmacists work in pharmacies to receive approved drugs from pharmaceutical companies to fill prescription orders for members of the public.


What are the daily duties of a Pharmacist?

On a typical day, a Pharmacist starts by reviewing the pharmacy’s email or voicemail to respond to time-sensitive messages from customers, physicians or pharmaceutical suppliers. They review incoming order requests and fill prescriptions as needed. Throughout the day, they interact with customers at the counter or through the service window of pharmacy  drive-thrus. They check on the status of prescriptions for customers and notify them of any prescriptions ready for pickup. Pharmacists also receive orders from pharmaceutical companies and store medications until physicians request refills for their patients. 

During flu season, Pharmacists and their Assistants may administer influenza vaccinations to members of the public for free.


What qualities make a good Pharmacist?

A good Pharmacist has a personable nature that allows them to connect with their customers and provide them with advice when necessary. They have excellent verbal communication, enabling them to communicate between patients, their physicians and pharmaceutical companies accordingly. They also enjoy working as part of a team and delegate tasks among pharmacy staff to complete tasks on time. 

Further, a good Pharmacist has excellent organizational habits, allowing them to store, sort and retrieve prescriptions for customers in an efficient manner. Pharmacists should also have a degree of physical stamina as they might need to stand for long periods of their shift when helping customers or filling prescriptions.


Who does a Pharmacist report to?

A Pharmacist typically reports to the Senior Pharmacist or Store Manager depending on where they work. They may also report directly to their state’s board of pharmacy to ensure their facility complies with state regulations.

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