If you have a degree in pharmacology, but don't necessarily want to be a pharmacist, you may wonder what other jobs are in pharmacology. There are many different directions you can go with your degree, and a plethora of places you might work.

Do You Have to Become a Pharmacist?

While there are many other career avenues for someone with a degree in pharmacology, "pharmacist" is a generalist term that covers many areas you may not expect. Of course, there are community pharmacists. Some of these operate their own stores and offer gift items, health and beauty aids and other items to consumers. Independent pharmacists are a return to the traditional corner drugstore owner, and recent developments in the industry have resulted in wellness clinics located in the store where pharmacists even give vaccinations and immunizations. Other community pharmacists work in outlets that are owned by chains. These pharmacists can use business acumen to become regional or even corporate managers. Hospital pharmacists function as team members and work with physicians and other professionals to design treatment plans for patients.

Pharmacists in managed care often involve themselves in research and quality control as well as building pharmacological supports for wellness programs. Consulting pharmacists work with nursing homes and other institutions like prisons. Since much of their work centers on the aging population they must have a deep knowledge of the aging process and how drugs affect older people differently. Pharmacists can also work in governmental agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration or the Drug Enforcement Agency studying how drugs affect people and helping derive guidelines for their use or prohibition.

What are Some Other Career Opportunities?

People with degrees in pharmacology may also work as scientists specializing in many areas like:

  • Microbiology – the study of how drugs react on a microscopic or cellular level. One of the greatest uses for this research is discovering how pharmacology can treat or reverse heart disease.
  • Analytical Chemistry – the study of how drugs react under different circumstances to develop medications that are safe and stable.
  • Pharmaceutical Chemist – these scientists work for corporations to research and develop new drugs. You might work in marketing and sales, in research or even in management.
  • Healthcare Scientist – these scientists work in immunology. According to the Prospects, healthcare scientists are conducting vital research into areas such as the causes of allergies and asthma.

What Degrees Do You Need?

Although there are entry level positions available with a bachelor's degree, most pharmacological opportunities are aimed at those persons with graduate degrees. The preferred degrees are Masters of Science in Pharmacology and Ph.D degrees in pharmacology. You can specialize in things like microbiology or nuclear biology as well, and adding business courses to your degree can turn your career in other directions. Depending upon your career direction you will also need certification and licensure.

Related Resource: Long-term Health Administration

The opportunities in pharmacology are exciting and these professionals make great contributions to society both as practicing pharmacists and as research scientists. There are many paths your career may follow with the diverse jobs in pharmacology.