There are many career options for doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) graduates. One might be surprised to learn that a pharmacy license is not needed for some of these careers. Jobs that do not involve patient care or drug dispensing typically do not require a pharmacy license and are often classified nontraditonal pharmacy jobs. The following career options are alternatives to the traditional inpatient or outpatient practice setting and do not require a pharmacy license or only require a license from any state. To find available positions visit the healthcare job board.
Academic pharmacists work in schools of pharmacy or medicine. Faculty positions do not require a license unless the position also involves providing services at a hospital, clinic, pharmacy, or other settings that involve patient care. They conduct research, publish articles, and teach future healthcare professionals. The requirements for this position are a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD), Bachelor of Science (BS) in Pharmacy, or a PhD degree in a related field.
Drug Information Specialist
A drug information specialist researches literature and provides responses to drug information questions. They can be the pharmacy representative to pharmacy and therapeutics (P&T) committees. Their responsibilities include preparing medication-use policies and procedures, improving a health system's adverse-drug-reaction reporting and medication-use evaluation programs, and creating and distributing newsletters containing pertinent medication-use information. The practice settings for this job include hospitals, pharmaceutical industry, publication (content development) industry, poison control centers. A BS or PharmD and one-year residency or other training in drug information is required for this position. An active pharmacy license is not required in non-patient care or drug dispensing settings.
Medical writers work for pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, publishing companies of medical textbooks, government healthcare institutions, and more. Medical writers cover topics such as medical research, regulatory affairs, or general medical knowledge. The minimum requirement to become a medical writer is a bachelor’s degree. Most also have a master’s degree or higher. It is helpful to have a background in biological sciences to present scientifically accurate information.
Pharmaceutical Industry Pharmacist
Pharmaceutical industry pharmacists are involved in marketing, research, product development, quality control, sales, and administration. A PharmD is preferred for most pharmacy related positions in the pharmaceutical industry. Completing a fellowship or residency or having clinical or teaching experience are desirable qualifications. An MBA and PhD can be beneficial as well. Pharmaceutical industry pharmacists work in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies or contract research organizations (CRO). Here are some examples of jobs in the pharmaceutical industry.
Medical Science Liaison: Medical Science Liaisons (MSL) educate healthcare ;professionals about the company's products. They work in pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology, or medical device companies. These are home based positions.
Pharmacoeconomics or Health Economics: Pharmacists in these positions conduct research to identify, measure, and compare the costs and outcomes of pharmaceutical products and services. Pharmacoeconomists would work for a pharmaceutical company in order to obtain data that would be of use to payers. Requirements for this position are a PharmD, B.S., Master’s, or a PhD and training in pharmacoeconomics.
Other pharmaceutical industry jobs include Clinical Research Associate (CRA), Medical Director, Medical Information, Drug Safety, Regulatory, Sales, and Marketing. To find out more about these jobs, see Pharmaceutical Industry Jobs for Pharmacists.
Pharmacists in the Military
Military pharmacists provide pharmacy services in various branches of the military. They practice in Army pharmacies, navy pharmacies, air force pharmacies, public health service pharmacies. Duties may range from dispensing to clinical practice, ambulatory care, and research. The requirements for this career are a PharmD, or B.S., active license from any state, and completion of a personal interview and satisfactory physical exam. Military pharmacists must be US citizens.
Pharmacist Position with the FDA
Pharmacists working for the FDA evaluate applications submitted by drug manufacturers, review drug promotions, and conduct surveillance of marketed drugs for safety and efficacy. The minimum requirements to work as a pharmacist with the FDA are successful completion of a 5-year course of study leading to a bachelor's or higher degree in pharmacy from an approved pharmacy school, or 1 year of professional pharmacy experience.
Pharmacologist Position with the FDA
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). Pharmacologists in laboratory settings conduct research on the absorption and metabolism of chemicals and drugs. The minimum requirements to become a pharmacologist at the FDA are a degree with a major in an appropriate biological, medical, veterinary, or physical science, or pharmacy. This position also requires at least 30 semester hours in chemistry and physiology and 12 semester hours in pharmacology. Higher graded positions can be obtained with more education and experience.
Consumer Safety Officer (Regulatory Health Project Manager)
Consumer safety officers work for the FDA. This job entails serving as a regulatory expert on a review team, advising team members on regulatory requirements, and working as a liaison with pharmaceutical industry officials. The qualifications for this position are a degree or combination of courses in the fields of biological science, chemistry, pharmacy, nursing, physical science, food technology, nutrition, medical science, epidemiology, engineering, veterinary medical science, or related scientific fields. Project management experience in the health care/pharmaceutical industries is recommended for this position.
Reviewers work for the FDA and evaluate data submitted by sponsors of an Investigational New Drug Application and New Drug Applications to support the marketing of a drug. They determine the scientific validity of manufacturers’ tests, drug safety and efficacy claims. A doctorate degree in a relevant scientific discipline with at least two years post-doctorate experience is recommended,
Poison Control Pharmacist
A poison control pharmacist provides medical information about drug poisoning and toxicology. They field emergency calls and suggest plans for handling exposures to toxins, chemicals, or life threatening drug interactions. A license is required for this position but it can be obtained from any state. The practice settings for this occupation are poison control centers.
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). An active license is not required to hold these positions because they are not directly involved with patient care. Some positions include Senior Vice President of Professional Affairs, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Executive Officer, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Senior Vice President of Communications, Director of Periodicals, Senior Assistant Editor, Assistant Editor and more.
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