Pharmaceutical Administration Careers: Salary & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a career in pharmaceutical administration? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary information to see if a pharmaceutical administration career is for you.
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Careers in Pharmaceutical Administration

Pharmacy administrators can deal with drug research and regulation, education, drug development and more often the management of pharmacies, including drug preparation and distribution, supply control and personnel supervision. Below is a chart that compares some of the characteristics of common careers in this field.

Pharmacy Technician Pharmacy Administrator
Career Overview Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists in the performance of their duties in retail organizations and hospitals. Pharmacy administrators primarily manage independent pharmacies or the pharmacy operations of various healthcare organizations.
Education Requirements High school diploma or GED; certificate or associate's degree may be preferred Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.)
Program Length 1-2 years for certificate or associate's degree 4 years (following undergraduate work)
Certification and Licensing Certification often required State and/or national certification or licensure required
Experience Required None; entry level Experience often required
Job Outlook (2014-2024) Faster than average (9%)* Data for pharmacy administrator unavailable; outlook for pharmacists is slower than average (3%)*
Median Annual Salary Roughly $31,090* Roughly $124,299 for pharmacy managers**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014), **PayScale.com (January 2016)

Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians are the cogs that allow the wheels of a pharmacy to spin productively. They assist the pharmacist in any number of tasks that can include the preparation of IVs, dispensing medication, taking inventory, dealing with patients and the performance of many other duties and services commonly offered by a pharmacy.

Requirements

You may only need to hold a high school diploma or GED in order to secure a position as a pharmacy technician. Most of your job instruction will be accomplished by way of on-the-job training. However, some states require you to have completed a postsecondary program leading to a certificate of completion or an associate's degree. In addition, your state may insist that you be licensed or registered, which requires sitting for a certification test administered by the National Healthcareer Association or the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. The credential you earn is the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT).

Below are some examples of what employers were looking for in January 2013:

  • A healthcare staffing firm wanted to fill a position for pharmacy technician in Ohio. Candidates were to hold a high school diploma or GED and have completed a formal pharmacy technician training program. Candidates were to be certified by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy as well as have accumulated at least two years of qualifying work experience.
  • An Illinois hospital wanted to hire a full-time pharmacy technician to work at its inpatient pharmacy. Candidates were to hold state registration, and national certification was preferred. Candidates were to hold a high school diploma or GED and have accumulated at least one year of experience at an inpatient hospital pharmacy.
  • A faith-based healthcare system in Tennessee sought a pharmacy technician to work full-time for third shift duties at a hospital pharmacy. Candidates would need to be a graduate of an accredited pharmacy technician training program. Candidates were to be licensed by the Tennessee Board of Pharmacy and have accumulated one year of experience or clinical rotation within a training program.

Standing Out

Since most states require licensure or registration, it can only help your cause and increase your chances of employment if you become certified. In order to retain your certification, you must complete a number of continuing education units every two years. By keeping your registration current and increasing the number of courses you pursue, you may enhance your employment and advancement possibilities.

Pharmacy Administrator

A pharmacy administrator is responsible for the performance of all services offered by a pharmacy. In general, but especially in hospital situations, the pharmacy administrator works closely with medical personnel in seeing to it that prescriptions are filled correctly and services provided as needed. However, training in pharmacy administration can also prepare you for leadership positions in academia, research, government, marketing or sales.

Requirements

In order to become a pharmacy administrator, you must be a pharmacist. In order to become a pharmacist, you must complete a program leading to a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.), which is a professional, rather than academic degree. To qualify for admission to a Pharm.D. program, you must generally complete 2-3 years of undergraduate study. A Pharm.D. program should take you four years to complete. In a typical program you'll find courses related to pharmacy administration, such as principles of pharmacy administration, community pharmacy, pharmacy communication and drug delivery.

Some pharmacy administration jobs call for you to be an experienced pharmacist. In order to practice as a pharmacist, you must be licensed. In order to be licensed, you must sit for the North American Pharmacy Licensure Exam (NAPLEX) and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE). The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy administers these exams.

Here are some samples of pharmacy administrator job ads that ran in January 2013:

  • An Ohio pharmacy services firm wanted to hire a pharmacy administrator. Candidates were to hold or be eligible for Ohio licensure as registered pharmacists. They were to hold an advanced degree and have accumulated at least seven years of experience in a multi-hospital healthcare setting.
  • A chain pharmacy was seeking a pharmacy manager/director of pharmacy for one of its Texas locations. Candidates were to be licensed as registered pharmacists in the state. It was preferred that candidates had accumulated five years of experience in managing, planning, purchasing, logistics, compounding sterile products and patient care. Completion of a postgraduate residency program in clinical pharmacy was preferred, along with certification.
  • A pharmacy system in Ohio was looking for someone to fill a position as director of pharmacy at a hospital. Candidates were to be graduates of an accredited school of pharmacy and hold a Pharm.D. Candidates were to hold an Indiana pharmacist license and to have accumulated at least four years of qualifying work experience.

Standing Out

You can find courses that that can prepare you for a career as a pharmacy administrator in Pharm.D. programs. However, if you decide you'd like to concentrate on pharmacy administration specifically and distinguish yourself from your competition, you might consider completing a program leading to a Master of Science in Pharmacy Administration. In order to be admitted to a master's program in pharmacy administration, you may need to hold a Pharm.D. The program contains courses specifically related to pharmacy administration including pharmacoeconomics, human resources management, sales management, health services finance and marketing. If your interest lies in teaching at the university level or research in the field of pharmacy administration, marketing, regulatory affairs or pharmacoeconomics, you should consider completing a program that leads to a Ph.D.in Pharmacy Administration.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. George Mason University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management
      • Master of Science in Health Informatics
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Public Safety Leadership
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Public Safety Leadership
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Business Management and Public Safety Leadership
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Project Management
  • Online Programs Available
    3. University of Delaware

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Concentration
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate of Sciences - Medical Assistant
  • Online Programs Available
    5. The University of Scranton

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Health Administration
    Certificate
      • Executive Certificate in Health Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    Master's
      • MBA: Health Systems Management
      • MS in Health Care Administration
      • Master of Public Administration - Health Care Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Health Care Administration
      • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
      • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    8. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Healthcare Management
      • Master of Business Admin: Healthcare Admin
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Healthcare Management
      • Bachelor of Healthcare Management - HSA Mgt.
      • Bachelor of Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
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    10. Brightwood College

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Pharmacy Technician Certificate

Featured Schools

George Mason University

  • Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management
  • Master of Science in Health Informatics

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Public Safety Leadership
  • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Public Safety Leadership
  • MBA Dual Concentration: Business Management and Public Safety Leadership

What is your highest level of education?

University of Delaware

  • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Concentration

What is your highest level of education completed?

Keiser University

  • Associate of Sciences - Medical Assistant

What is your highest level of education?

The University of Scranton

  • MBA - Healthcare Management
  • Master of Health Administration
  • Executive Certificate in Health Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
  • MBA: Health Systems Management
  • BS in Health Care Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration

What is your highest level of education?

American InterContinental University

  • Master of Healthcare Management
  • Master of Business Admin: Healthcare Admin
  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Healthcare Management
  • Bachelor of Healthcare Management - HSA Mgt.

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