Pharmacy Career Options: Clinical Pharmacist

If you think you’d enjoy practicing your profession in a hospital, clinic, nursing home, or a medical facility instead of a retail pharmacy setting, then a position as a clinical pharmacist might be for you.

While some clinical pharmacists do work in community/retail pharmacies, most work in hospitals, nursing facilities, and through home-based care services. 

Unlike retail pharmacists, a clinical pharmacist more than likely has completed a year or more of a post-graduate (post PharmD, more than likely) training program. This usually entails participation in a general or a specialty pharmacy residency.

Clinical pharmacists often elect to become Board Certified through the Board of Pharmacy Specialties. Specialties can include:

  • Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS)
  • Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist (BCOP)
  • Board Certified Nuclear Pharmacist (BCNP)
  • Board Certified Nutrition Support Pharmacist (BCNSP)
  • Board Certified Psychiatric Pharmacist (BCPP)
  • Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacist (BCACP)

Some pharmacists go on for certification in sub-specialties within the BCPS, such as cardiology or infectious disease.

Clinical pharmacists tend to work more closely with physicians than do retail pharmacists. Clinical pharmacists often advise physicians on drug control and usage in hospitals and clinics, letting them know about a drug’s particular dangers, efficacy and possible or eventual side effects. The clinical pharmacist also helps physicians ascertain the correct dosages of medications. The clinical pharmacist also can help with continuing education programs for facility staff as well as pharmacy students. 

Some states give clinical pharmacists what is known as “prescriptive authority under protocol,” allowing them to write prescriptions with a physician’s protocol. Not all states do, however. Yet what a clinical pharmacist can and can’t do continues to evolve. reported in February that the starting salary for clinical pharmacists was roughly $105,000 (slightly lower than a starting salary for retail pharmacists: $117,000).

As for job prospects, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in 2012 that projected job growth for pharmacists in general between 2010 and 2020 would be 25 percent (faster than average).

Are you a clinical pharmacist looking for new opportunities? Then be sure to check out the Rx relief® job board to view just some of the job openings we’re currently working to fill. If one or more interests you, contact us today to learn more.