Home / Career Guides / How to Become a Pharmacy Manager

How to Become a Pharmacy Manager

Are you a pharmacist looking to take on more responsibility? Do you enjoy managing a practice full of employees? If so, becoming a pharmacy manager may be right for you. Pharmacy managers are pharmacists with the experience needed to maintain a smooth storefront. Pharmacy managers will supervise other pharmacists, check medication labels, keep track of inventory, set schedules, and inform patients of the side effects of their medication.

As a pharmacy manager, you will need to have excellent communication skills, in-depth knowledge of all pharmaceuticals, and experience managing others successfully. You should have excellent attention to detail and be extremely thorough in all that you do. If you fit this profile, you could be the perfect fit for a pharmacy manager.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] values nothing more than customer satisfaction, with the sole exception of customer safety. It is important to us that our customers receive their medications in an efficient and pleasant manner, and that they leave the pharmacy with a positive impression of the professionals who filled their prescriptions. [Your Company Name] seeks to hire experienced, highly competent and hard-working pharmacy managers who are prepared to strive for and achieve this lofty standard of excellence. If you can picture yourself attending to the pharmacological needs of your customers, while simultaneously answering whatever medical questions they ask you, and managing a staff of other pharmacists, this position could represent a terrific opportunity for you.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Managing all pharmacy employees, policies, and procedures.
  • Preparing drugs and prescription orders for collection or delivery.
  • Overseeing the ordering of equipment and supplies.
  • Controlling inventory.
  • Applying best practice protocols when storing prescription drugs and controlled substances.
  • Verifying prescription details with the healthcare specialists who prescribed them when required.
  • Providing guidance on the recommended use, dosage, and possible side effects of medication.
  • Maintaining an approved drug and controlled substances list and verifying expiry dates.
  • Monitoring product displays, shelves, and the general appearance of the pharmacy.
  • Addressing customers’ requests and complaints.
  • Hiring and training new pharmacy employees and scheduling shifts. 
  • Keeping accurate records of inventory, patient information, and insurance claims.
  • Preparing yearly budgets.
  • Ensuring pharmacy services are in line with state and federal requirements.

Education and experience

  • A doctor of pharmacy degree (PharmD) accredited by the accreditation council for pharmacy education.
  • A bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related degree.
  • State-approved license to practice as a pharmacist.
  • 3+ years of managerial experience in a pharmacy environment. 

Required skills and qualifications

  • Up to date knowledge of the pharmacological uses and side effects of prescription drugs and controlled substances.
  • Advanced knowledge of protocols regulating the safe storage of prescription drugs and controlled substances.
  • Exceptional communication skills in advising customers and managing employees.
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Proficient with pharmacy management software, such as RxMaster Pharmacy System.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to oversee and evaluate the work of technical and professional staff.
  • Able to establish and maintain effective relationships with the public, employees, departmental staff, and supervisors.

Preferred qualifications

  • Certified immunizer
  • 3+ years of pharmacy experience in a retail setting including prescription filling and verification, records and legal compliance, pharmacy operations, pharmacy software, and technology systems and insurance
  • Experience performing prescription dispensing 
  • Strong working knowledge of applicable state and federal controlled substance laws

Typical work environment

It is the responsibility of pharmacy managers to supervise the pharmacists serving under them and ensure that their pharmacy operates optimally. You should excel in delegating jobs to your subordinates, giving medical recommendations to customers, processing prescriptions, and keeping tabs on an expansive inventory of medications. Pharmacist managers will spend the majority of their time on their feet, walking through the pharmacy, filling prescriptions, and ensuring that all customers are being handled efficiently.

Typical hours

Pharmacy managers typically work irregular hours, including nights and weekends. They might also work 10 or 12 hour days 3 or 4 days a week. Their hours may change from week to week. 

Available certifications

Pharmacy managers can benefit from receiving certifications on top of their degrees. This will allow companies to hire the best and most experienced pharmacists. Some of the top certifications include:

  • Certified Pharmacy Technician. In order to earn this certification, you must first take and pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE), administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). By studying for the PTCE and receiving a satisfactory grade, you will establish your capabilities as a pharmacy technician, and prove that you possess both the requisite knowledge to excel in a pharmacy environment as well as the ability to interface with and work alongside pharmacists with minimal friction or confusion. This certification must be renewed every two years.
  • Basic Life Support for Healthcare and Public Safety. In order to earn this certification, you must first complete a brief course covering the proper application and implementation of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and emergency cardiovascular care (ECC) across a range of different hypothetical real world scenarios. After emerging from this course you will be better prepared to identify common medical crises and respond to them accordingly and with confidence. While emergency preparedness in a healthcare setting is the main focus of this course, those who take it will also hone their deductive skills and refine their approach to interacting with patients. This certification is good for two years following completion of the course.

Career path

The path to becoming a pharmacy manager starts with earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related field. After completing a four-year degree, candidates must pass the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) to be admitted to a Pharm.D. doctorate program from an accredited school. As part of the curriculum, students are required to do internships in different pharmacies and medical settings. Pharm.D. graduates typically gain experience in entry-level positions in retail, mail order, long-term care, hospitals, and other facilities with pharmacies. 

To become a pharmacy manager, candidates must obtain a state license by passing the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX) and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJA). They must also be certified to administer immunizations and vaccinations. Certification is administered by the Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery program from the American Pharmacists Association. Some pharmacy managers advance to own a pharmacy, and they typically need a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) to do that. Continuing education is an important part of being a pharmacy manager to keep up to date with the knowledge of medications, procedures, etc. Pharmacy managers can further their careers by earning voluntary certifications.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 29-1051

2020 Employment322,000
Projected Employment in 2030315,300
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift -2% decrease
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift-7,000 decrease

The COVID-19 pandemic has put an enormous strain on pharmacists but has also stimulated new opportunities. Lockdowns and supply chain bottlenecks have adversely affected pharmacists as they have in many other professions. As a result, pharmacies have looked into other strategies to minimize their dependence on foot traffic and explore new growth areas, such as making it more convenient for patients to obtain medications without leaving home or offering vaccines on location. Pharmacists are also assuming a part of the responsibility of front-line patient care as medical providers are stretched to their limits with long hours in COVID-ridden emergency rooms and ICUs. Pharmacists have filled gaps in patient education and vaccine administration. 

Pharmacies are adapting in other ways to meet new patient expectations. Options such as telehealth and remote, on-demand access to healthcare providers have extended to pharmacists as well. Technology and automation are leading to new solutions that will allow patients to access pharmacies faster and easier. Solutions like automated central fill/mail order systems to fill patient prescriptions are continually increasing efficiency.