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Career and Education Opportunities for Pharmacists in Seattle, Washington

For those living in the Seattle, Washington area, there are many career and education opportunities for pharmacists. About 5,250 people are currently employed as pharmacists in Washington. By 2016, this is expected to grow 13% to 5,950 people employed. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for pharmacists are expected to grow by about 17.0%. Pharmacists generally compound and dispense medications following prescriptions issued by physicians, dentists, or other authorized medical practitioners.

Pharmacists earn about $51 hourly or $106,340 yearly on average in Washington and about $51 hourly or $106,410 per year on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Pharmacy, people working as pharmacists in Washington earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Pharmacy nationally. Pharmacists work in a variety of jobs, including: apothecary, radiopharmacist, and staff pharmacist.

There are sixty-five schools of higher education in the Seattle area, including one within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree to start your career as a pharmacist. The most common level of education for pharmacists is a first professional degree. You can expect to spend two years studying to be 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 Seattle 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.


University of Washington-Seattle Campus - Seattle, WA

University of Washington-Seattle Campus, 1400 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, WA 98195-4550. University of Washington-Seattle Campus is a large university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 39,675 students and an admission rate of 61%. University of Washington-Seattle Campus has 4 areas of study related to Pharmacist. They are:

  • Pharmacy, professional degree which graduated 111 students in 2008.
  • Pharmaceutics and Drug Design, doctor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, doctor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Administration, Other Specialties, master's degree and doctor's degree which graduated one and three students respectively in 2008.


Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.