A pharmacist safely prepares and dispenses medical treatments. They work in a hospital or clinic with doctors and nursing staff or in a pharmacy in a drugstore or superstore. They are responsible for checking that prescriptions are correctly prepared for each patient and for supervising pharmacy staff.
As a pharmacist, you are an expert on the prescription and use of medications. You dispense drugs to patients and advise them on how to take them safely. For non-prescription treatments, you can advise on appropriate doses and administration. You supervise prescriptions to ensure their quality, safety, and legal compliance.
Your work schedule varies depending on your employer, but a pharmacist's job in Canada is typically a 37.5-hour week. In hospitals and in large retail chains, you can expect to work shifts and weekends to cover opening hours or the patients' regimens. In smaller clinics and stores, you might work overtime.
In a laboratory or in academia, you often work 9-5, Monday to Friday. You do not normally travel during the working day, and travel for work abroad is unusual.
Your pharmacist resume should include:
In your cover letter you describe how you meet each element of the employer's job description and person specification. You should support each point with reference to your resume and descriptions of achievements.
The job outlook for pharmacists varies from fair to good, depending on the province. Employment growth from the expansion of the sector is expected to increase; however, new school leavers are projected to outnumber the new positions. There is an increase in jobs from changes such as new pharmacies opening in superstores, and an ageing population is expected to require more medicines. The retirement age is expected to be lower than average; however, many pharmacists are finding management opportunities in the health service or opening their own businesses.
As a pharmacist, you can work in a number of areas in the healthcare sector:
According to Salary Explorer the average salary in Canada for pharmacists is $151,000. That varies widely depending on qualifications, experience, the region and the employer. An entry-level position with a bachelor's degree can pay $72,300, while you could earn $236,000 with a graduate degree and over ten years of experience. In addition, a pharmacist job in retail can also include overtime and shift work to cover working hours and be compensated with time and a half.
Top paying areas for pharmacists in Canada include: Alberta and Quebec.
Pharmacists typically work in dispensaries in the healthcare sector, whether in hospitals and clinics or drugstores and superstore pharmacies. As a pharmacist in a hospital, your main work is with clinicians, checking doctors' prescriptions and preparing medicines to be administered by nursing staff. In retail, you work with the public, dispensing medication to doctors' prescriptions, dispensing non-prescription drugs and treatments, and advising customers on healthcare in general. Pharmacists also work in research and industry, in drug development, testing and manufacture. Your skills and knowledge as a pharmacist are in demand in teaching and regulation and preparing and running clinical trials of new treatments.
The minimum academic qualification for a pharmacist is a bachelor's degree in pharmacy. You also need to follow a structured training programme and pass registration and jurisprudence exams set by the regulator of your province. You can find a link to your regulator at the site of the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA).
This is the qualification that you require if you are employed as a pharmacist or a druggist, dispensing medicines to patients. If you are coming back to work in a pharmacy, you may also be required to pass an exam to demonstrate that you are still competent.