Research Pharmacy Career Profile
Adam Starr | NursingLink
Sometimes a research pharmacist works in research for pharmaceutical manufacturers. In this role, they work on developing new drugs and then test their various effects through lab trials. Other research pharmacists work for health insurance companies and create pharmacy benefit packages while conducting cost-benefit analyses on myriad drugs. A research pharmacist can also work in marketing and sales, providing expertise for their clients on the proper usage, potency, and potential side effects of multiple drugs.
Since pharmacists must work with very delicate and specific quantities of chemicals and drugs, they need to work in hyper-clean and brightly lit rooms. Unlike many jobs, pharmacists spend a great deal of their day on their feet, moving between rows of medicines and various lab tables in the research facilities.
Skills and Requirements
Becoming a research pharmacist requires extensive training, education, and licensing. If you’re interested in becoming a research pharmacist you’ll need to earn a Pharm.D. degree from an accredited college or school of pharmacy. Prior to being admitted to the Pharm.D. program you’ll need to have completed at least two years of prior professional study, usually focused on chemistry, biology, physics, and math. Besides the concentration on math and science, many future pharmacists have also completed at least three years of college before moving into the Pharm.D. program. Once you enter the Pharm.D. program, expect to spend an additional four years to complete the program.
After graduating, an additional one or two year residency program or fellowship is often required for people who want to work in research labs. In addition, all states require licensure, to get licensed you’ll need to complete your Pharm.D degree from a school that has been approved by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, and then pass a set of examinations known as the NAPLEX. Some states also require the MPJE.
Job Outlook and Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 17% growth in pharmacy jobs between 2008 and 2018. Meanwhile, the BLS ranks job prospects in this field as “excellent.” The median annual wages for pharmacists in 2008 was $106,410.