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. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSHS in Clinical Research Administration
      • MSHS in Clinical and Translational Research
      • MSHS in Regulatory Affairs
      • MSHS Medical Laboratory Sciences
      • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
      • MSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences
    Bachelor's
      • BSHS in Biomedical Informatics
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Regulatory Science
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Healthcare Admin
      • Master: Nursing/Nurse Administrator
      • MS in Nursing
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Healthcare Admin
      • Bachelor: Health Science
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Management - Health Care Management and Leadership
    Master's
      • MS - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Science in Management - Healthcare Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Business Administration - Health Care Management
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Organizational Leadership: Health Care Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Regent University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Penn Foster

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Career Diploma - Pharmacy Technician
  • Campus Locations:
    8. Virginia College

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Diploma Program - Pharmacy Technician
  • Online Programs Available
    9. University of the Southwest

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA Healthcare Administration
  • Campus Locations:
    10. Brightwood College

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Pharmacy Technician Certificate

Featured Schools

The George Washington University

  • MSHS in Clinical Research Administration
  • MSHS in Clinical and Translational Research
  • BSHS in Biomedical Informatics

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Johns Hopkins University

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Kaplan University

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Colorado Technical University

  • Doctor of Management - Health Care Management and Leadership
  • MS - Healthcare Management
  • BS - Business Administration - Health Care Management

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Northcentral University

  • MS - Organizational Leadership: Health Care Administration

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Regent University

  • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
  • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
  • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management

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Penn Foster

  • Career Diploma - Pharmacy Technician

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Virginia College

  • Diploma Program - Pharmacy Technician

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