Alternative Career Paths for Pharmacists: Part 3

Despite perceptions that few jobs in pharmacy exist outside of the traditional setting, this is not the case.  In our previous posts on this subject, we discussed many of these paths. Here, in the final installment of our alternative pharmacy careers series based on the article by Thora Jones in Pharmacy Times titled “Diversity in Pharmacy: Atypical Jobs for Pharmacists,” are three additional avenues to consider when searching for a job in the pharmacy sector.


Many pharmacists, especially those with post-graduate residency training, choose to explore the academic aspect of pharmacy through teaching. By becoming professors or preceptors at pharmacy schools, trained pharmacists are able to further others’ education while expanding their own knowledge base and skill set. The demand for qualified pharmacists in the teaching field is at an all-time high, making this career choice an important and impactful one. Schools offering pharmacy technician certificate programs are also searching for pharmacists or certified pharmacy technicians to teach courses, widening the number of options available to those interested in teaching.

Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)

Certified Diabetes Educators possess a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to prediabetes, diabetes prevention and diabetes management. In order to pursue this field and become a CDE, individuals are required to pass a certificate program which specializes in teaching diabetic patients about how best to manage their disease. These health professionals educate those affected by diabetes through multiple mediums, including presentations and one-on-one interaction. The goal of a CDE is to provide support for patients, helping them understand and better manage their condition. When working with a patient or the patient’s family, CDEs may answer questions, offer advice or suggest behavior modifications that can be helpful in managing diabetes.

Clinical Pharmacist Practitioner (CPP)

In certain states, pursuing a Clinical Pharmacist Practitioner position is an alternative career option for pharmacists. In order to become a Clinical Pharmacist Practitioner, there are specific criteria pharmacists are expected to comply with or already possess. Additionally, for CPPs to practice in this sector, a treatment protocol must be in place for each disease state that they plan on treating. One of the job responsibilities that distinguishes a CPP position from traditional pharmacy roles is the aspect of interacting with patients and prescribing medications under the direction of a licensed physician, similar to the way family nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants operate.

So the next time someone asks “What does a pharmacist do besides fill prescriptions?” share with them some of the unique avenues and job choices available within the pharmacy field.

View our previous post on Alternative Careers for Pharmacists here.

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