Are you confused about whether you should take pharmacy as a career or pharmacology as a career? This post will help you understand all the differences between pharmacists and pharmacologists. Both pharmacy and pharmacology might sound similar, but in reality, both of them are different in terms of daily work.
If you are interested in entering into a career that does not require you to go through surgeries and examining the patients, then you should choose between pharmacy and pharmacology. To understand everything more deeply, first, you need to know what includes in pharmacy and what includes in pharmacology.
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What is A Pharmacist?
The duty of a pharmacist is to work in an independent pharmacy, a clinical pharmacy, or a hospital. The pharmacist works in conjunction with pharmacist technicians and pharmacist assistants. The pharmacists need to work in different work environments. It includes hospitals, community pharmacies, sales, etc.
To become a pharmacist, you need to go to university or graduate-level education. During your university and graduate-level education, you learn drug uses, therapeutic roles, actions of drugs, and much more.
To become a professional and licensed pharmacist, there is an exam for pharmacist licensure. To be eligible to take the exam, the education requirement varies from country to country. Depending on the country, you need to have either a Bachelor of Pharmacy, Master of Pharmacy, or Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Talking about the United States, pharmacists must have the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree to become eligible for taking the licensure examination.
A pharmacist is responsible for various tasks. It includes ensuring the quality of medicines supplied to the patients, making sure that supplied medicines are within the law, making sure that supplied medicines are suitable for the patient, and advising the patients about medicines. Apart from these activities, pharmacists also: supervise the medicine supply chain, give advice to other healthcare professionals, provide services to the patients, go through the quality assessment of the medicines.
When the doctor submits the prescription, the job of a pharmacist is to make sure the prescriptions are filled accurately. Filling prescriptions is the major role of a pharmacist. Apart from this, a pharmacist also needs to assist patients, providing guidance on using medications, overseeing other pharmacy employees, etc. It also includes maintaining pharmacy records (like patient records, medication records, etc.), teaching pharmacy students, and making customized medications.
In the United States, all the graduating pharmacists need to obtain the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree in order to be eligible for the licensure exam. The licensure exam is NAPLEX (North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination).
What is A Pharmacologist?
People often get confused between the roles of pharmacists and pharmacologists. But, there is a great difference between the roles and duties of pharmacists and pharmacologists. Pharmacologists are the professionals whose duties are researching & understanding the chemical processes. Pharmacologists create, develop, and test new medications.
If you want to become a pharmacologist, you need to specialize in testing medicines. As a pharmacologist, your tasks will be to research new medications, do consultations with specialists & physicians, and evaluate pharmacologist studies. Further, in pharmacology, there are various branches and specializations.
Just like pharmacists work in pharmacies, pharmacologists work in laboratories. They work laboratories for researching and understanding the chemical processes. They are drug scientist who focuses on making drugs safer. They focus on developing more drugs and testing new drugs to make sure they are safe.
Basically, as a pharmacologist, you need to conduct researches and studies for different branches of medicines. Pharmacologists have a Ph.D. degree in biology or any other life science. The job responsibilities of a pharmacologist include: conducting clinical trials for new medications, building new methods for studying medications, and properly reviewing and evaluating the data.
With the help of pharmacologists, it becomes easy for the companies to make drugs safer, develop more drugs, and test new drugs. Pharmacologists work in the working environment that requires more heavy research. After becoming a pharmacologist, you won’t be working directly with patients or customers.
If you want to become a pharmacologist, you need to have a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate degree in pharmacology. Because it includes research-oriented tasks, you need to have a great educational background in toxicology, chemistry, and biology. On top of everything, if you are planning to study further to become a pharmacologist, make sure you love researching because it will be your job description.
Can A Pharmacologist Be A Pharmacist?
If you are looking for the answer to this question, it means you are not clear about the job description and the role of pharmacologists and pharmacists. Both of these job positions are different. You need to be clear about duties, responsibilities, and job descriptions of both to get a clear-cut idea.
A pharmacist has so many duties and responsibilities. As a pharmacist, you need to keep an eye on the job description of a pharmacist is to prepare medications after reviewing orders and dispensing medications by compounding, packaging & labeling. Apart from this, the pharmacist also needs to monitor drug therapies.
Talking about pharmacologists, the job responsibilities of a pharmacologist include: conducting clinical trials for new medications, building new methods for studying medications, and properly reviewing and evaluating the data. If you want to become a pharmacologist, you need to have a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate degree in pharmacology.
If you are a pharmacologist or pharmacist, you may have a doubt regarding can pharmacologist be a pharmacist and vice versa. The answer to this question is NO. Pharmacologists cannot become a pharmacist, and pharmacists cannot become a pharmacologist. The name of two might seem very similar, but they are different in so many ways. The responsibilities of pharmacologists and pharmacists are totally different.
The education qualifications and experiences both get is also very different. Hence, there is no chance for a pharmacologist to become a pharmacist or the pharmacist to become a pharmacologist. People often think that the career option for pharmacologist and pharmacist are interchangeable, but this is not the case.
The only similarity is both pharmacists and pharmacologists have some background in science and maths but, this does not make their job position being interchangeable. To become a pharmacist, you need to take classes on small business management, law, and medical therapy management. Apart from these, it also requires you to pass the licensure examination to become a licensed and certified pharmacist.
Just like pharmacists need to go through the classes on small business management, law, and medical therapy management, to become pharmacologist, you need to specialize in the pharmacology. Pharmacologists study pharmacology in detail. It involves the action of the drug on the body and the action of the body on the drug. This is known as pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. Talking about pharmacists, they do not study pharmacology in detail.
Pharmacists are known as healthcare professionals and to become a certified & licensed pharmacist, they need to pass the licensure examination. They are also allowed to prescribe drugs and medications. Talking about pharmacologists, they are not allowed to do so. In short, pharmacologists cannot do all the work of pharmacists and vice versa. They may perform some parts of work, but not all.
Do Pharmacologists Make More Than Pharmacists?
While choosing any career, the main thing we consider is the payout of that career. It is essential to consider the salary aspect carefully. Another crucial aspect you need to consider is your expertise and interest regarding a particular job position. Before considering the salary factor, you need to focus on whether you have an interest and expertise in the given career option or not. If you have a great interest and expertise in a particular job position, choosing that as a career would be a good choice.
Though the titles of pharmacologists and pharmacists might sound similar, both have different job roles, duties, and salary criteria. For the students who want to become a pharmacologist or pharmacist, they need to be very clear about the job responsibilities in both. Both of these fields are really complex. Now, coming to the main question – Do pharmacologists make more than pharmacists?
The salary in both fields is based on experience, skills, and expertise. On average, pharmacists make more money than pharmacologists, but if you have great potential as a pharmacologist, then you can expect more payout than the pharmacist. Again, this is highly based on your skills, experience, and knowledge in pharmacology.
As per the research by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it was found that the average salary of a pharmacist is around $124,170, and the average salary of a pharmacologist is around $99,013. It is not fixed that pharmacologists will get higher salary than that of pharmacists; it depends on the skills and experience. Mostly, pharmacists make more money as compared to pharmacologists.
Doing pharmacy and becoming a licensed pharmacist is very complex. The education of becoming a pharmacist takes around 8 years in the United States (four years for college and four years for a graduate pharmacy program). The time duration of the program differs from one university to another. Some universities also offer a 0-6 program. After the completion of the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree, the graduates need to take and pass the licensure exam (NAPLEX) to become a licensed pharmacist.
Just like pharmacy, doing pharmacology studies and becoming a pharmacologist is also very complex. In pharmacology, you will not need to go through the licensure exam, just like the pharmacy. You can start earning as a pharmacologist by completing a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, genetics, biology, or any other similar field.
What’s the Salary of Pharmacologists?
Salary is one of the most crucial factors of any job position. No matter which career field you choose, the main thing you take a look at is the payout you will get. Before considering the salary factor, you should consider whether the job position is really for you. No matter how great payout you get from a particular job position, but what if you do not have an interest in that job.
Before knowing the average salary received by pharmacologists, you need to know the duties and responsibilities involved in pharmacology. Pharmacologists are drug scientists who focus on studying drugs and developing new drugs. The pharmacology career is not for you if you are not interested in research related stuff.
As a pharmacologist, you will be helping companies to build parameters for effectiveness and safety in dosages. Pharmacologist the job position in which you will be working in laboratories. Talking about pharmacy, you will not be mainly working in laboratories and you will not have a direct connection with customers or patients. As a pharmacist, you will be working directly with the customers or patients.
Just like the pharmacy career option, pharmacology is also very complex and scientific. It is a broad field in which you will need to conduct studies and research for different medicine branches as a pharmacologist. You will be working in a laboratory setting to design and conduct different experiments for checking the effects of medicines.
Talking about the job responsibilities of pharmacologists, it includes conducting clinical trials, building new ways for studying medications, creating standards for dosages. Like pharmacists, you will not need to go through a licensing exam in order to become a certified pharmacologist. You can start earning money just by getting a bachelor’s degree in biology, biochemistry, genetics, or any other similar field.
Talking about the salary of a pharmacologist, it is based on so many factors. The average salary of a pharmacologist is around $99,013 in the United States. The earning factor is majorly based on your skillset, knowledge, and experience. Depending on your skills, qualifications, experience, and knowledge as a pharmacologist, the salary may vary anywhere from between $51,000 and $131,000.
Is Pharmacology A Good Career?
Becoming a pharmacologist is a good idea when you are really good at research and you love researching because as a pharmacologist, you will be work in laboratories and research would be a crucial part of your job. Whether pharmacology is a good career option or not, it varies from person to person. It is not for everyone. To figure out whether the pharmacology career option is for you, you need to understand the tasks and jobs involved in pharmacology.
The pharmacology field includes everything about drugs and medications. The duty of a pharmacologist is to research and develop drugs & medications, while the duty of a pharmacist is to dispense those medications. The role of a pharmacologist is really complex, and to become the one, you need to go through a great study.
After becoming a pharmacologist, you can get so many great job opportunities. It includes working for research organizations, hospitals, universities, and pharmaceutical companies. Pharmacologists don’t work for customers or patients directly, just like pharmacists. They work under various research organizations and companies.
Getting a pharmacology degree would help you work in fields like Toxicology, Biological Pharmacology, Pharmacokinetics, Behavioural Pharmacology, Cardiovascular Pharmacology, Regulatory Affairs, Drug Development, Drug Discovery, Chemotherapy, Neuropharmacology, Clinical Pharmacology, Drug Disposism, Drug Metabolism, Endocrine Pharmacology, Pharmacology Education, Molecular Pharmacology, Therapeutics Pharmacology, Systems & Integrative Pharmacology, Cellular & Biochemical Pharmacology, and Veterinary Pharmacology.
As you see, there are so many career options you have available after becoming a pharmacologist. From all the career options in pharmacology we have listed above, you can get an idea about how broad this field is. Before pursuing the degree to become a pharmacologist, one thing you need to keep in mind is that it is not for everyone. If you are someone who loves research, then you should pursue pharmacology as your career.
Differences Between Pharmacy & Pharmacology
To know whether you should go with pharmacy or pharmacology, you need to understand the differences between them. From the titles, both might feel similar, but they are different in so many ways. Let’s understand the major differences between pharmacy and pharmacology:
1. Education level
The education qualifications required to become a pharmacist or pharmacologist are different.
The first step on the way of becoming a pharmacist is earning an undergraduate degree. If you want to get into the post-graduate pharmacy school, you will need to get a minimum of a 2-year degree. After the undergraduate program, you need to earn a PharmD — degree, which basically takes 4 years. Depending on the pharmacy school, you may need to go through internships or residency.
To become a pharmacologist, you will need a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate degree in pharmacology. Also, you need to have a good educational background in toxicology, chemistry, and biology.
The pharmacy is a wide career option. Your earnings as a pharmacist will be based on the experience, skills, and knowledge you have. On average, pharmacists earn more than $100,000 each year.
Again, the earnings as pharmacologists will be totally based on your experience, skills, and knowledge. On average, pharmacologists make around $100,000 each year. If you have great mastery in research and pharmacology, you can expect to earn more than pharmacists.
3. Duties & Responsibilities
The pharmacists deal directly with customers and patients. They basically work in pharmacies, hospitals, etc. Their main duties include dispensing prescriptions to patients and making sure safety.
Pharmacologists do not work in pharmacies, they work in laboratories. The main part of their job is research. If you are someone who does not like research, then pharmacology is not for you. They focus on researching and developing drugs.
Pros & Cons of Pharmacy and Pharmacology
Here are some pros and cons of pharmacy and pharmacology:
Pharmacy – Pros:
Here are the pros of pharmacy
Help people get well
As a pharmacist, you play a major role in the life of patients. You help people get well.
If you are a pharmacist, you will have so many career opportunities available. You can work in pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes, managed care organizations, etc.
Pharmacists get a higher salary as compared to pharmacologists. Again, it is based on skills and knowledge. On average, they make more than $100,000 a year.
Pharmacy – Cons:
Here are the cons of pharmacy:
Licensing is a major headache when it comes to becoming a pharmacist. In order to become a pharmacist, you will need to pass the NAPLEX licensure exam.
Many times, as a pharmacist, you will need to spend time working long hours without proper staff. Hence, you need to be ready to deal with such situations.
Pharmacology – Pros:
Here are some pros of pharmacology:
Don’t need licensing
To become a pharmacologist, you need to pass the licensure examination. On the other hand, to become a pharmacist, you need to get licensure.
After graduating, you can directly apply to jobs in drug companies, hospitals, universities, government agencies, etc.
Pharmacology – Cons:
Here are some cons of pharmacology:
Comparatively less pay
As compared to pharmacists, pharmacologists get lower payouts. On average, they earn lower than $100,000 a year, while pharmacists earn more than $100,000 a year.
Pharmacology is a greatly research-oriented career. If you are someone who does not like research, then this field isn’t for you.
The titles of pharmacists and pharmacologists might seem similar, but they have major differences. To understand whether you should choose pharmacy or pharmacology as a career, it is essential to know the job description, qualifications requirement, skills requirement, and expected salary of both.
In a nutshell, pharmacist are responsible for ensuring the quality of medicines supplied to the patients, making sure that supplied medicines are within the law, making sure that supplied medicines are suitable for the patient, and advising the patients about medicines. On the other hand, pharmacologists are responsible for conducting clinical trials for new medications, building new methods for studying medications, and properly reviewing and evaluating the data.
On average, pharmacists make more money than pharmacologists. They make more than $100,000 a year, while pharmacologists make less than $100,000 a year. Again, it is based on the skillset, knowledge, experience, and qualifications of the pharmacist or pharmacologist.