Alternative Career Paths for Pharmacists: Part I

According to CareerCast, a job search firm, “pharmacist” was ranked in the top 10 best healthcare jobs for 2015. When most of us hear about careers in pharmacy, our mind automatically goes to positions in a traditional hospital or those working in retail pharmacies. However, there are an endless number of career possibilities for those trained as pharmacists.

An article by Thora Jones in Pharmacy Times titled “Diversity in Pharmacy: Atypical Jobs for Pharmacists” explored some alternative career paths to consider when looking into pharmacy positions. We have summarized three of these below.

Ambulatory Care

There are various other locations besides acute care hospitals where trained pharmacists could put their job skills to use. Such options include long-term care, hospice facilities, psychiatric wards and ambulatory care. Ambulatory care pharmacists usually work in clinics, providing pharmacy medication management. By developing long-term relationships with the patients, ambulatory pharmacists can help coordinate the care of those in the clinic.

Many such pharmacists also take part in Coumadin clinics, a service typically located within a hospital to monitor and manage the medications of patients on blood thinners. Coumadin clinic pharmacists ensure that patients on anticoagulants are closely monitored in order to reduce the risk of complications. These pharmacists may make suggestions on Coumadin doses in regards to INR levels (blood clotting), working closely with the patient’s referring healthcare provider.


Pharmacogenomics is the study of how genes affect a patient’s response to drug therapy. It combines the science of drugs and genetics in order to develop effective, safe medications and doses that can be tailored to each patient. Some companies hire pharmacists to make drug recommendations to physicians based on the pharmacogenetic profile of a patient’s metabolizing enzymes.

Medication Therapy Management (MTM)

Medication therapy management involves more direct pharmacist engagement with individual patients’ medication regimens to help keep them on track. Designed to optimize patient outcomes, MTM involves actively managing the patient’s drug therapy and helping to resolve medication-related issues.

Some services associated with MTM include:

MTM services can lead to cost savings, improved patient satisfaction and adherence to their specific medication schedule. There are many career opportunities within this facet of pharmacy, and some of the work can be done from home. Retail pharmacies are beginning to offer MTM, and there is also the potential to start one’s own MTM business.

The pharmacy profession has greatly evolved since the days when pharmacists were simply considered “pill pushers.” In part two of our alternative careers article, we’ll further discuss the diverse options for those interested in careers in pharmacy.

Read more about pharmacy careers:

The Best Healthcare Jobs in 2015

The Highest Paying In-Demand Jobs in America

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