6 Nontraditional Pharmacist Careers
One under appreciated benefit of the Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD) is the wide variety of jobs that are available. For example, there are 22 types of jobs or practice settings described in Pharmacy Careers & Pharmacist Practice Settings. Many of these practice areas are outside retail or hospital pharmacies. Several of them do not involve patient management or drug dispensing. Nontraditional pharmacy jobs are providing pharmacists with long-term alternative career options. Here are 6 examples of alternative careers for registered and non-registered pharmacists. Use the Healthcare Careers to find open positions in these areas.
Regulatory Jobs at Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
The FDA has several roles for pharmacists. From entry level to management positions. Examples of jobs at the FDA include Pharmacologist, Consumer Safety Officer or Regulatory Health Project Manager, and Reviewer. Pharmacologist work in non-laboratory settings and are responsible for reviewing and evaluating the pharmacological and toxicological data contained in New Drug Applications (NDAs) and Investigational New Drug Applications (INDAs). Consumer Safety Officers are regulatory experts on a review team, advising team members on regulatory requirements, and working as a liaison between the FDA and pharmaceutical companies. Reviewers work for the FDA and evaluate data submitted by sponsors to support the safety and efficacy of an Investigational New Drug Application and New Drug Application.
There are numerous roles in the pharmaceutical industry for pharmacists. From entry level to top management levels. If you are an entrepreneur you can even start your own pharmaceutical company. The more popular roles for pharmacists in the pharmaceutical industry are Medical Science Liaison, Clinical Research Associate (CRA), Medical Director, Medical Information professionals, Drug Safety, Regulatory, Sales professionals, and Marketing. To find out more about these jobs and openings see Pharmaceutical Industry Jobs for Pharmacists.
There are several positions available for pharmacists within professional pharmacy organizations such as American Pharmacists Association (APhA), American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP), and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Make no mistake these are businesses just like any other business and there are several career opportunities. If you have an interest in lobbying, politics, and have good speaking and leadership skills you may rise very far in this setting.
Academic pharmacists work in schools of pharmacy or medicine where they conduct research, publish articles, and teach future healthcare professionals. Most pharmacists do not aspire to be professors because faculty positions are not the highest paying positions in the profession. However, what they lack in salary they make up in better work-life balance. As a professor you get the satisfaction of developing future pharmacy leaders. Faculty members also have time to pursue other interests that can be lucrative.
Medication Therapy Management
Medication Therapy Management (MTM) is a hot topic. It is not surprising because MTM promises the opportunity for pharmacists to use their training as independent healthcare providers, help improve healthcare, and receive fair compensation. If pharmacists also receive provider status in the Social Security Act this could usher in an era of pharmacist entrepreneurs and expand the profession in a new direction. It is interesting that many hospitals and community pharmacies are posting MTM positions.
The entire healthcare system is dependent on numerous technologies and information systems which include computers and complex databases for storing, analyzing, and retrieving medical information. The professionals who specialize in the application, deployment, and management of these systems are Health Informatics professionals. The growth in use of electronic medical records is fueling growth in this field. Pharmacists that specialize in technologies and information systems that aid in delivery of medications and provision of care are known as Informatics Pharmacists and the field is called Pharmacy Informatics.
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