Pharmaceutical Administration Jobs: Career Options and Requirements

Careers in the pharmaceutical administration industry typically require a significant amount of formal education. Learn about the requirements, job duties and salary for a few of the common career options.

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Pharmaceutical companies need knowledgeable administration just like any other company. Explore career data such as education requirements, potential salary and employment outlook for hospital pharmacy directors, pharmacoeconomists, and pharmaceutical district sales managers, which are three common administrative positions in pharmaceutical companies.

Essential Information

The career field of pharmaceutical administration includes marketing, managing and selling prescription drugs. Jobs in pharmaceutical administration include hospital administration of pharmacies, executive-level sales managers and pharmacoeconomists.

Career Hospital Pharmacy Director Pharmacoeconomists Pharmaceutical District Sales Manager
Required Education Doctor of Pharmacy degree Master's degree Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Licensure Relevant research experience Sales experience
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 17% (for all medical and health services managers)* 3% (for all pharmacists)* 5% (for all sales managers)*
Annual Median Salary (2015) $94,500* $121,500 for all pharmacists* $113,860 for all sales managers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Working in pharmaceutical administration requires a significant amount of formal education as well as the ability to oversee many employees and projects at once. Careers include hospital pharmacy director, pharmacoeconomist, and pharmaceutical district sales manager.

Hospital Pharmacy Director

Hospital pharmacy directors work in clinical settings, managing support teams and supervising pharmacy operations. Directors ensure that practices are in line with hospital policies and regional laws. Pharmacy directors report to hospital administration, recommend courses of action and carry out policies.

Requirements for Hospital Pharmacy Directors

Pharmacy directors must be state-licensed pharmacists. Licensed pharmacists have earned a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from a pharmacy school accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, admission to a Pharm.D. program generally occurs after three or more years of college, which should include course work in the sciences. The Pharm.D. degree takes an additional four years to complete.

After graduation from a Pharm.D. program, students must pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX). Some states require pharmacist candidates to pass a pharmacy law exam as well. Prior to working in a hospital setting, pharmacists generally need to have some practical clinical experience, typically offered in a residency program.

According to job ads in CareerBuilder.com in April 2015, pharmacy directors were required to have a minimum of three years management experience in a hospital comparable in size to the one where the position is located. Pharmacy director requirements also included the ability to work independently and to support the needs of medical co-workers and patients. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in May 2015, the annual median salary for medical and health services managers was $94,500. The BLS predicted that medical and health services manager jobs would increase 17% from 2014-2024, much faster than average for all occupations.

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Pharmacoeconomist

Pharmacoeconomists design studies, including cost-benefit and cost-minimization studies, to demonstrate the value of pharmaceutical products and services to patients, physicians and policymakers. Pharmacoeconomists update companies on pricing research as well as health economics and policy. By studying the costs of competitors' pharmaceuticals, pharmacoeconomists find ways to best position a company and its products within the global pharmaceutical marketplace.

Requirements for Pharmacoeconomists

Pharmacoeconomists must have a minimum of a Master of Science in Pharmacy or Pharmacoeconomics and may have already earned a Pharm.D. degree. Doctorate programs and postdoctoral certificates in pharmacoeconomics exist to train aspiring pharmacoeconomists with health-related educational backgrounds.

According to job ads on CareerBuilder.com in May 2015, qualified pharmacoeconomist applicants had 4-5 years of related experience for managerial level jobs. Senior level managers were expected to have five years of relevant research experience working in the health field with large sets of data, such as patient-reported outcome survey data. Additionally, managerial level pharmacoeconomists must have strong leadership and communication skills. The BLS reported that all pharmacists earned a median salary of $121,500 in 2015. The BLS also predicted pharmacist jobs to increase by 3% from 2014-2024.

Pharmaceutical District Sales Manager

Pharmaceutical district sales managers are responsible for making sure that pharmaceutical sales teams meet and exceed market share and revenue quotas. They recruit, train and support regional sales associates. When needed, sales managers meet with customers to help local sales team members maintain good relationships with key clients. Pharmaceutical district sales managers are also responsible for controlling expenses and understanding market competition. They work closely with the marketing, human resources and finance departments.

Requirements for Pharmaceutical District Sales Managers

Pharmaceutical sales managers need strong communication, leadership, problem solving and decision making skills. According to job ads on Monster.com in May 2015, pharmaceutical district sales managers were required to have earned a 4-year college degree. In addition, qualified applicants had 3-5 years of sales experience in specialty pharmaceuticals, as well as 2-5 years of experience in sales management. The BLS reported that sales managers earned a median annual salary of $113,860 in 2015; the agency also predicted that they could look forward to an average job growth increase of 5% from 2014-2024.

Prospective pharmacoeconomists and pharmaceutical district sales managers can expect strong competition, not only because of the slower than average growth rate in positions but also because of the desirability of those positions. Those interested in working in pharmaceutical administration are much more likely to find employment as medical or health service managers, such as hospital pharmacy directors. The education requirements range from a bachelor's degree to a doctoral degree, depending on the profession.

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