All About the Different Types of Pharmacy

June 3, 2022

There’s always a need for pharmacists, especially as the economy rebounds. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job growth in pharmacy professions will be bit slower than than average in the coming decade, it’s still a growing field, especially as the population of elderly people increases, raising demand for prescription medications and the people who dispense them. Those who are interested in pursuing a pharmacist career should know that there are different types of pharmacy jobs, not just the ones at your nearest drugstore. Each one has its own pros and cons, and the best path for you depends on your personal needs and career ambitions.

Retail Pharmacy

Retail pharmacy is both the oldest and the most common type of pharmacy. The majority of retail pharmacists work in drugstores, but many also work in supermarkets and mass-market retailers. The job of a pharmacist in a retail setting involves selecting, dispensing, and safely storing medications for patients in the community. They may also be able to administer some vaccines. Pharmacists in retail settings also consult with patients to advise on medications, allergies, and dosing issues. Most pharmacists in retail settings work full-time, although some positions may be part-time.

Hospital Pharmacy

Hospital pharmacists are primarily responsible for the dispensing of medications to patients who are in the hospital. Some hospitals may have pharmacists who are also responsible for drug administration to patients who are leaving the hospital. Depending on their employer, pharmacists in hospital settings may have schedules that include evening, weekend, or holiday hours. Additionally, hospital pharmacists may have some schedule inconsistency in the form of rotating schedules and on-call duties.

Home Care Pharmacy

Home care pharmacists fill medications for patients who are not staying in the hospital. Usually, these patients live at home, in assisted living facilities, or in nursing centers. Home care nurses are responsible for recommending appropriate medications for their patients, and most pharmacists in this field work part-time. Home care pharmacists may also be responsible for managing a network of other home care pharmacists. This can include paperwork and oversight of the quality of services provided by each pharmacist. Some employers may request that pharmacists in this field have additional training in medication administration, nursing, or medical care.

Clinical Pharmacy

Another type of pharmacy is clinical pharmacy. These professionals often work in hospital settings, and they typically have more power to adjust medication and monitor its effects. Like with other types of pharmacy, clinical pharmacists need a valid pharmacy degree in order to work. Most employers will expect pharmacists in this field to have extensive experience as well.

Mail-Order Pharmacy

In a mail-order pharmacy, the focus is on being a supplier of medications. This can include only offering a few specialty medications by mail or a large range of prescriptions. The advantage of working in this type of pharmacy is that you don’t have to deal with many of the same regulations and government red tape as retail pharmacists do.

Assisted Living and Long-Term-Care Pharmacy

Assisted living and long-term-care pharmacies are designed for people with certain health conditions. These are areas where pharmacists specialize and provide a lot of one-on-one attention for the patients. They may be called on for geriatric care, medications to treat or prevent specific conditions, and medication management. As a pharmacy technician working in assisted living, you’ll be responsible for handling and dispensing medications, and you’ll also need to be trained in handling residents with specific health conditions.

Regulatory Pharmacy

A regulatory pharmacist is one involved in the process of researching new medications and getting them FDA-approved. Regulatory pharmacists might help to plan out a drug trial, review and summarize the data collected in studies of new medications, or oversee the process of approving a new drug to ensure that all FDA regulations are followed.

Compounding Pharmacy

A compounding pharmacist creates and dispenses medications and creates medications from scratch. This involves mixing and compounding drugs from powders and liquids. You’ll be responsible for creating custom medications and dispensing them. This means you’ll be able to create medications tailored to each patient’s needs.

Ambulatory Care Pharmacy

Ambulatory care pharmacies are designed to help patients who need medication management. These are patients who are sick but don’t have the full-blown need for the care of a hospital. Your responsibilities as an outpatient pharmacy technician working in an outpatient care pharmacy will vary depending on the pharmacy in which you work. The most common responsibility involves creating and dispensing medication schedules.

Consulting Pharmacy

A consulting pharmacy is one who is consulted to make sure that medications are safely prescribed and administered. These pharmacists work with other health-care providers to ensure that the medications prescribed are safe, appropriate, and cost-effective for the situation. They may also advise patients and/or other pharmacists to make sure that medications are given properly.