Pharmacists are licensed health professionals who specialize in the practice of preparing and dispensing both prescription and nonprescription medications. They are knowledgeable about medication action, use, dosage, side effects, and interaction with other substances.

Pharmacists work with people of all ages and may be employed by a hospital, community organization, or retail outlet. To promote public health, pharmacists may provide education and information about medications to individuals and develop and manage systems to control and distribute medications.

A pharmacist may hold a bachelor's, master's, or doctorate degree in pharmacy. All pharmacists must graduate from an accredited program and successfully pass a board-certified licensing examination. A pharmacist must hold a current license in the state or province in which he or she practices. Licensing requirements are managed by individual state or provincial boards of pharmacy.

Last Updated: August 25, 2008

Author: Bets Davis, MFA

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine

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