Tuesday 17 January 2023

FAQ: Marla Ahlgrimm Shares Insight Into A Career As A Pharmacist

Marla Ahlgrimm

Marla Ahlgrimm is a retired pharmacist, compounding specialist, self-care and self-help author, and medical entrepreneur. 
If you’re thinking about a career as a pharmacist, that’s a great call. Pharmacists are in high demand, get paid well, and have an opportunity to help their clients manage their health and wellness goals. Today, retired pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm shares an FAQ that sheds light on common questions about becoming a pharmacist. 
Q: What is a pharmacist? 
Marla Ahlgrimm: A pharmacist is an expert in pharmaceuticals. Their primary job is to prepare, dispense, and store medications and to counsel individuals when they have questions about their prescriptions. A pharmacist must be familiar with many things, including drug dosage safety, side effects, proper usage, potential interferences, and medication biochemical makeup. 
Q: What does the day in the life of a pharmacist look like? 
Marla Ahlgrimm: Each day is different; that’s what makes this career so exciting. While the majority of the time, a pharmacist is preparing medications based on physician prescriptions, they might also spend time offering advising services about OTC medications. Pharmacists are also medical professionals that can conduct basic health screenings and give certain immunizations, such as the flu shot or vaccines. 

Q: Where do pharmacists work? 
Marla Ahlgrimm: If you’re thinking that retail pharmacies are the only option, think again. Some pharmacists work in ambulatory care clinics while others choose to work in a retail setting. There are pharmacists in nursing homes, government agencies, and large pharmaceutical companies. Some pharmacists have even taken to the digital age and opened online dispensaries. 
Q: How much can I make as a pharmacist? 
Marla Ahlgrimm: That really depends on where you live as well as your specialties. The highest-paid pharmacists tend to live in Alaska, California, and Oregon. In any of these areas, you can expect a salary of $130,000 per year or more. 
Q: How do you become a pharmacist? 
Marla Ahlgrimm: You first have to have a desire to help people. Then, you’ll need to earn your bachelor’s degree – most pharmacy schools expect a non-weighted GPA of 3.0 or better. Ideally, you’ll have already taken chemistry, physics, and biology. Your next step is to take the PCAT, which is a pharmacy-specific college admissions test that measures your knowledge and skills in a number of pertinent areas. These include biology, chemistry, and quantitative reasoning ability. You’ll then enroll in a pharmacy program. Upon completion, you’ll take your state pharmacy licensure exam, and then you’ll get to work. 
Q: Is a pharmacist a doctor (M.D.)? 
Marla Ahlgrimm: No. However, as a pharmacist, you’ll be an important part of the healthcare community. You can opt to earn a doctorate in pharmacology (PharmD), but the degree is quite different from an M.D. program. Pharmacists cannot diagnose or treat conditions, although they can offer guidance on vitamins, weight management, and supportive equipment, such as knee braces, that can reduce injuries. 
Q: What if I don’t want to be a pharmacist but want to work in a pharmacy? Are there options? 
Marla Ahlgrimm
Marla Ahlgrimm:
Yes. If you want to jump right into a career in a pharmacy, you can always opt to work as a pharmacy technician. For this, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED and you’ll have to complete a pharmacy tech certification exam. Depending on where you live, there may be other requirements. 
A career in pharmaceuticals is a great option, especially for young women who want to put their minds to good use helping their communities. When you enter the world of healthcare, you are in a unique position to make a difference in the lives of your clients today and in the future.


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