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What do you do for a living?

I am a pharmacist for Target.

How would you describe what you do?

On a daily basis I fill prescriptions and deliver medications to patients. I ensure the accuracy of all the prescriptions. I manage the inventory of the pharmacy, ensuring that we have enough inventory to provide prescriptions to our customers when they require them but also keeping the inventory low enough that we’re not going to have a high carrying cost as to incur extra interest for my company. I also manage the human resources for the pharmacy including hiring and firing, coaching, training, and teaching all of the employees and team members for the pharmacy.

What does a typical work week look like for you?

I work, on average 42 hours a week. That consists of one longer week and one shorter week. I work every other weekend and the weekend that I’m off I am off for a three day weekend so that includes Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

How did you become a pharmacist or get started in this career?

I started in pharmacy because I knew a guy, who was very good friends with my grandfather, who owned his own pharmacy and I worked for him for a while. I really enjoyed the aspect of pharmacy where you interact with a lot of different people every day. You make some really genuine relationships with your patients and you have the ability to really get to know them and spend a lot of time and also make an impact on their healthcare.  Also the pay is pretty decent too. And as far as Target specifically goes, when I was in pharmacy school I did a month long rotation in my fourth year of pharmacy school at a Target pharmacy and I really liked the atmosphere and culture of the company. So I interviewed with them at the job fair provided by my pharmacy school and got the job.

What do you like about what you do?

I really like interacting with my patients and getting a chance to get to know them. I enjoy talking with them and seeing them come back in over time. I see them when, for example, they start a family and their kids come in. I get to meet them and really establish a relationship. I kinda get to just sit back and talk to people all day long and that’s one thing I like about what I like to do.

What do you dislike about this job?

As a retail pharmacist you have to be there whenever somebody wants our services which includes having to work weekends and sometimes having to work later into the evening. So the long hours can be a little tough at times but that’s really the only thing.

How do you make money, or how are you compensated on this job.

I’m paid salary. I also get bonuses based on the measurable that’s determined by the company which includes, but not limited to, sales and inventory.

How much money do you make as a Target Pharmacist?

I started out at a salary of one hundred and fifteen thousand a year plus bonuses and after three years I’m up to a $129,000/year plus bonuses which could be between two and five percent.

What education or skills are needed to do this?

To be a pharmacist, you have to have a degree from a pharmacy school. The entry requirements to get into pharmacy school are 65 hours of specific undergraduate work and a four year pharmacy school program.

And then after you complete that program you have to be licensed in the state that you want to work in, which will require taking a test and passing a law exam.

What is most rewarding about this job?

I would say being able to make a noticeable impact on people’s healthcare.

What is most challenging about this job?

The most challenging thing about being a pharmacist is really just managing people who are not always in the best of moods. A lot of times we will see people when they are at their worst. They’re feeling bad, they’re sick, they’re impatient, and you just have to make sure that you’re always making them happy while doing what’s right for them.

What advice would you offer someone considering this career?

Make sure that before you commit to going to six plus years of college and training to be in this career that you take the time to work in a pharmacy for more than a week. Don’t just shadow somebody one time and assume that that’s going to be good enough. Spend some actual time in a pharmacy so that you know what it’s going to be like for more than a week.

How much time off do you get or take each year?

Well with my schedule being not a normal schedule and working nights a weekends it makes it kinda nice. I get two weeks of vacation and four personal days a year. However with the kinda odd schedule where it’s not five sequential days of work you can take just a couple of a days off and be off for a whole week. So I probably wind up getting three to four weeks off a year.

What’s a common misconception people have about what you do?

That’s easy. Everyone just assumes that the only thing you do in pharmacy is just count pills which is probably the least that I do. We have technicians who count the pills. I spend a lot more time dealing with problems such as incorrect prescriptions, unclear prescriptions*, dealing with insurance problems, etc. I also spend a lot of time really talking with people and making sure they understand their medications. So the common misconception is that we count pills but that’s the least common thing that I do.

*If a physician writes a prescription and they did not communicate all of the information as far as what we need to fill a prescription or they wrote a prescription for something that maybe the patient doesn’t really need.

What are your goals and dreams for the future in this career?

As a pharmacist, my goals were to establish a good practice where people trusted me and wanted to come back to me and make me their personal pharmacist, and I’ve achieved these goals. So now my new job or my new goals are to move up into a more managerial position like pharmacy district manager.

What else would you like people to know about what you do?

I would like them to know that pharmacy can be a very rewarding career, both financially and personally. However, it is not a glamorous career and you don’t get a lot of accolades as far as recognition and you’re not going to really be in the lime light. No one’s going to say “ooh you’re a pharmacist”, but it’s a really great job if you are personally motivated.

Also, Target, as a company, is extremely good at developing their personnel. I’ve learned a lot about leadership and communication, and conducting myself in a business atmosphere when I had no prior business training. So I really value and appreciate the company for that.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Taylor Fee July 30, 2015 at 10:10 am

Hi. My name is Taylor Fee and I am interested in shadowing a pharmacist. I live in Fort Lauderdale and I’m a senior in high school and am interested in pharmacy. I spoke with the pharmacist manager at your Fort Lauderdale location and he said that you all offer shadowing and would have to go through the appropriate channels on line. I am hoping u can help. Lmk. Thxs!

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Xon Ming April 19, 2013 at 11:57 am

Hey JobShadow Team! I am currently a sophomore in high school. I am doing a career research paper and we are required to interview someone in our field. I am using this interview as my source and I would very much appreciate if I could have the name of the Target Pharmacist interviewed (if possible). Please know that I will be properly citing this source in MLA format for my paper. Thanks.

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trave45 April 23, 2013 at 8:11 am

Hey Xon, wanted to get back to you on this. This particular interview was done anonymously because they provided detailed income information and didn’t want their name associated with it. Please cite the URL and website. If your teacher has any doubts as to the veracity of the information she can contact us at info@jobshadow.com and we will be happy to show her the audio file of the interview so she can verify.

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Xon Ming April 23, 2013 at 10:47 am

Alright, thanks.

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Lauren May 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm

I am actually a freshman in college, and I have been interested in going to pharmacy school for quite some time. I don’t have a pharmacy technician license, so do you have any recommendations for me to be able to work in a pharmacy and log in some hours? I have heard about job shadowing, but those don’t last too long and I have heard they aren’t as helpful as actually working in a pharmacy for a longer period of time. Thanks for your help!

Lauren

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Cheyenne April 3, 2012 at 10:19 am

I am a freshman in high school and I just recently began researching the pharmaceutical career. The salary is what caught my eye but I also like the idea of being able to help people without having to deal with all the blood and sickness that a hospital contains. The problem is, I have no idea what a pharmacist does or what reqiurements pharmacy schools have. My friends and teachers told me that i’ll need a lot of math and science which is good because I really like both of those classes and I have all A’s, but where is all the information I need?

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trave45 April 3, 2012 at 10:43 am

Cheyenne, thanks for the comment. I believe the answer to the majority of your questions lies in this interview and the interview with a hospital pharmacist that is also on this site. Best of luck in your career search.

Best,

JobShadow Team

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Jen February 25, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Hello,
I am currently a sophomore in high school greatly interested in the pharmacist career. My dad knows a lot about the job for some reason and ever since I was little he has been telling me about it. Therefore, I pretty much know what a pharmacist does, what it takes and how to become a pharmacist. I don’t take any honor or AP classes at the moment and I have gotten 3 C’s so far. I know this sounds terrible and all. I lacked focus and was a little indifferent. I am actually very smart and possess great potential (I don’t mean to sound pretentious or conceited). Up to this point I always liked the arts more and tended to fall through a bit in math/science. However, my interest in the medicine field has been increasing greatly lately, causing me to begin attaining high grades in math/science and I like/understand them more. My brother graduated from a prominent Ivy League school and recently he spoke with me about life, my future, etc. I feel that I have experienced an epiphany after that talk. I feel that I have transformed in a way and I feel a little like a different person who wants to achieve to high extents. I know I have made mistakes and I may now not be an ideal pick for pharmacy schools, but I think that if from now on I maintain a high or perfect GPA, take challenging, advanced courses (including APs, etc.), get high scores on big exams (SAT, ACT, etc.), and do lots of volunteer work, I may still have a chance to get accepted to a relatively good pharmacy school. I want to take that 6-year pharmacy program that is 2 years undergrad and 4 years pharmacy school. What do you think about my position at the moment? Do you think I have a chance at getting accepted into pharmacy schools if I change my academic lifestyle from this point on?
Your response/advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for your time!

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Steven D, Reed January 5, 2012 at 7:25 pm

I love being a pharmacist. For 34 years I’ve stood like a horse dealing with every kind of situation. Every time I think I’ve seen it all, I step into a pharmacy and something always comes up that tests my resourcefulness. I just got an IPad2 and have made show & tell much more interesting. I’ve found that the pictures from these remarkable apps make the patient see what is really going on with them. When they leave with prescription in hand with new knowledge…this is the most heartwarming thing to me. Sure I can get frustrated, but never raise my voice or try to be difficult. What does that ever accomplish? The trick is understanding the problem in front of me. When you live in the solution, the problem goes away

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