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Career and Education Opportunities for Pharmacists in Alexandria, Virginia

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for pharmacists in the Alexandria, Virginia area. The national trend for pharmacists sees this job pool growing by about 17.0% over the next eight years. In general, pharmacists compound and dispense medications following prescriptions issued by physicians, dentists, or other authorized medical practitioners.

Pharmacists earn about $53 per hour or $110,980 annually on average in Virginia and about $51 per hour or $106,410 annually on average nationally. Incomes for pharmacists are better than in the overall category of Pharmacy in Virginia, and better than the overall Pharmacy category nationally. People working as pharmacists can fill a number of jobs, such as: pharmacy manager, industrial pharmacist, and druggist.

The Alexandria area is home to eighty-four schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Alexandria where you can get a degree as a pharmacist. Given that the most common education level for pharmacists is a first professional degree, you can expect to spend two years training to become a pharmacist if you already have a Bachelor's degree, or about six years starting with a high school diploma.


Pharmacist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, pharmacists compound and dispense medications following prescriptions issued by physicians, dentists, or other authorized medical practitioners.

Pharmacists furnish data and advice regarding drug interactions, side effects, dosage and proper medication storage. They also maintain records, such as pharmacy files, patient profiles, charge system files, inventories, control records for radioactive nuclei, and registries of poisons and controlled drugs. Equally important, pharmacists have to inspect prescriptions to assure accuracy, to ascertain the needed ingredients, and to review their suitability. They are often called upon to order and purchase pharmaceutical supplies and drugs, maintaining stock and storing and handling it properly. They are expected to dispense medications as prescribed by doctors and dentists. Finally, pharmacists offer health promotion and prevention efforts, for example, training people to use devices such as blood pressure or diabetes monitors.

Every day, pharmacists are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to see details at a very fine level of focus. It is also important that they read and understand documents and reports.

It is important for pharmacists to formulate and maintain processes for mixing and labeling pharmaceuticals, in line with policy and legal requirements, to insure quality and proper disposal. They are often called upon to analyze prescribing trends to track patient compliance and to inhibit excessive usage or harmful interactions. They also collaborate with other health care professionals to develop and evaluate the quality and effectiveness of drugs and drug regimens, providing advice on drug applications and characteristics. They are sometimes expected to assess the identity, strength and purity of medications. Somewhat less frequently, pharmacists are also expected to teach pharmacy students serving as interns in preparation for their graduation or licensure.

and work in hospitals or for Health Management Organizations (HMOs), dispensing prescriptions, serving as a medical team consultants, or specializing in specific drug therapy areas such as oncology or nuclear pharmacotherapy. And finally, they sometimes have to publish educational data for other pharmacists or patients.

Like many other jobs, pharmacists must have exceptional integrity and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Alexandria include:

  • Medical Laboratory Technician. Perform routine medical laboratory tests for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. May work under the supervision of a medical technologist.
  • Medical Laboratory Technologist. Perform complex medical laboratory tests for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. May train or supervise staff.
  • Nuclear Medical Technologist. Prepare, administer, and measure radioactive isotopes in therapeutic, diagnostic, and tracer studies utilizing a variety of radioisotope equipment. Prepare stock solutions of radioactive materials and calculate doses to be administered by radiologists. Subject patients to radiation. Execute blood volume, red cell survival, and fat absorption studies following standard laboratory techniques.
  • Pharmacist Technician. Prepare medications under the direction of a pharmacist. May measure, mix, and record amounts and dosages of medications.
  • Physician Assistant. Provide healthcare services typically performed by a physician, under the supervision of a physician. Conduct complete physicals, provide treatment, and counsel patients. May, in some cases, prescribe medication. Must graduate from an accredited educational program for physician assistants.
  • Respiratory Therapist. Assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. Assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians. Initiate and conduct therapeutic procedures; maintain patient records; and select, assemble, and operate equipment.


Howard University - Washington, DC

Howard University, 2400 Sixth St NW, Washington, DC 20059-0001. Howard University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 10,696 students and an admission rate of 49%. Howard University has a professional degree program in Pharmacy which graduated ninety-three students in 2008.

ACT College - Arlington, VA

ACT College, 1100 Wilson Blvd, Suite M780, Arlington, VA 22209-2297. ACT College is a small college located in Arlington, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 331 students. ACT College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Administration, Other Specialties which graduated nineteen and zero students respectively in 2008.



Licensing agency: Department of Health Professions
Address: Board of Pharmacy, 6606 West Broad Street, 4th Floor, Richmond, VA 23230-1717

Phone: (804) 662-9908
Website: Department of Health Professions Board of Pharmacy

LOCATION INFORMATION: Alexandria, Virginia

Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria, Virginia photo by SchuminWeb

Alexandria is situated in Alexandria City County, Virginia. It has a population of over 143,885, which has grown by 12.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Alexandria, 124, is far greater than the national average.

The three big industries for women in Alexandria are professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and construction. The average commute to work is about 30 minutes. More than 54.3% of Alexandria residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Alexandria is 4.6%, which is less than Virginia's average of 6.4%.

Church of Resurrection Episcopal, Agudas Achim Synagogue and Alexandria Bible Church are some of the churches located in Alexandria.

Alexandria is home to the Circle Terrace Hospital and the Kate Waller Barrett Branch as well as Marina Park and Founders Park. Shopping centers in the area include Hamlet Shopping Center, Landmark Shopping Center and Arlandria Shopping Center. Visitors to Alexandria can choose from Comfort Inn-Landmark, Best Western Old Colony Inn and Hilton Inn for temporary stays in the area.