Senior Care Pharmacists

Outlook

Employment Prospects

Employers

Senior care pharmacists traditionally work for nursing home facilities. According to the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, a number of employers exist within this setting. For example, a senior care pharmacist may work for a small long-term care provider, which provides pharmacy services to several nursing facilities in a small area. A senior care pharmacist can also work for a large long-term care provider, which is a pharmacy providing services to a large number of nursing facilities in a region. A pharmacist in geriatric care can also be hospital-based, working in a hospital's pharmacy and providing services to nursing facilities that are owned or run by the hospital.

There are also a growing number of senior care pharmacists employed in nontraditional settings. These pharmacists may provide services to employers such as assisted living facilities, hospice agencies, and home health programs. In addition, senior care pharmacists may be academically based, teaching at schools of pharmacy; may work in industry for drug companies as administrators or researchers; or may be self-employed, running their own consulting businesses and working with care providers such as nursing facilities, geriatric care managers, and hospice agencies.

Starting Out

Those in geriatric pharmacy often cite the desire to provide in-depth help to their older clients as one reason for starting out in this field. Recent graduates from pharmacy school should be able to get help locating jobs through their schools' career services offices. Professional organizations are also sources of information; the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists offers a free resume' review and employment listings on its Web site.

Graduates can also apply to and complete residency programs in geriatric pharmacy. Such a residency will give you further training for working in this field and enhance your credentials. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists accredits residencies, including residencies in pharmacy practice and residencies in geriatric pharmacy. During a residency, which usually lasts one year, pharmacists work full-time and earn a stipend. Residents who complete their programs have excellent employment prospects. Sometimes they are offered jobs at the places of their residencies. Visit https://accreditation.ashp.org/directory/#/program/residency for a list of residencies.

Another option is to begin working in a pharmacy that provides services to a general population, gain work experience, and move into geriatric pharmacy practice when the opportunity presents itself.

Advancement Prospects

Senior care pharmacists can advance by moving to larger pharmacies for more responsibilities, such as managing a larger staff of pharmacy technicians and working with more nursing facilities than they had in their past jobs. Other senior care pharmacists may consider it an advancement to move into a different area of consulting, for example, changing from nursing facility consulting to long-term care facility consulting. Those in academia advance by becoming full professors, and those in industry may advance by obtaining positions with increased management responsibilities. Some senior care pharmacists with experience may decide to form their own consulting businesses, either alone or in partnership with other pharmacists.

Tips for Entry

Read The Consultant Pharmacist (https://www.ascp.com/page/journal) to learn more about the field.

Visit the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists’ CareerPharm Web site, https://www.ashp.org/Professional-Development/CareerPharm, which offers job listings, career advice, and other employment-related resources.  

Read profiles of senior care pharmacists on the Web site of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists: https://www.ascp.com/page/meetascp.

Participate in a residency program in geriatric pharmacy to increase your skills and make networking contacts. Pharmacists sometimes are offered jobs at the places of their residencies.