Career Definition for a Pediatric Pharmacist
Pediatric pharmacists counsel children and their parents about medication and write prescriptions as needed. They track their patients' medical progress and make sure that there are no harmful drug interactions or unexpected side effects. Pediatric pharmacists often work in medical facilities like doctor's offices, pharmacies, and hospitals.
|Required Education||A Pharm.D. degree from an accredited institution plus state licensure|
|Job Duties||Counseling children and their parents about medication, writing prescriptions, tracking patient progress|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$121,500 (pharmacists)|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)*||3% growth (pharmacists)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Pediatric pharmacists must have a Pharm.D. degree from an accredited school and hold a state license to legally work in the field. The requirements for the license can vary by state, but they usually involve passing a number of written tests. Most Pharm.D. programs admit students who have already completed two or three years of college-level courses, and the programs themselves often take several additional years, often including a period of residency. Students who want to become pediatric pharmacists should take classes like biology, chemistry, pharmacology, and research techniques.
Pediatric pharmacists need to have excellent communication skills and should be good with children. They need an eye for detail and should have a firm understanding of medications' effects on the human body.
Career and Economic Outlook
While there isn't much data related directly to pediatric pharmacy, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) does predict job growth of 3% from 2014 to 2024 for pharmacists as a group. This faster than average growth is projected to stem from the new medications developed for conditions and the older population, as well as the need for more pharmacists to explain and discuss new medications. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median annual salary for a pharmacist as $121,500 in May 2015.
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Alternate Career Options
Here are some examples of alternative career choices:
Registered nurses provide direct patient care, such as administering medication, operating medical machinery, observing patients and keeping doctors informed of their condition, and advising patients on self-care at home after illness, injury or surgical procedures. A registered nurse must complete a diploma, associate's degree or bachelor's degree program; passing the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN, is also required, as is state licensing. Specialized nursing certification is also available. The BLS reports that job growth is expected to be much better than average - 16% - from 2014-2024, and that registered nurses earned median pay of $67,490 in 2015.
A pharmacy technician job requires less schooling than a pharmacist job but still falls in the same overall career field. Pharmacy technicians work at pharmacies or hospitals filling prescriptions under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. In hospital settings, they may also give prescribed medicines to patients. Some pharmacy technicians learn through on-the-job training, while others complete a 1-year postsecondary certificate program. State licensing and certification requirements vary. Pharmacy technicians are expected to see faster-than-average job growth of 9% from 2014-2024, per the BLS. The agency reports that working pharmacy technicians earned median pay of $30,410 in 2015.