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Pharmacy Manager vs. Pharmacist: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Pharmacy managers and pharmacists are both important roles in the healthcare industry. They work together to ensure that patients receive the medications they need. While both positions require a deep knowledge of drugs and their effects, there are several key differences between these two jobs. In this article, we discuss the similarities and differences between pharmacy managers and pharmacists, and we provide tips for those interested in pursuing a career in pharmacy.

What is a Pharmacy Manager?

Pharmacy Managers are responsible for the daily operations of a pharmacy. They oversee the activities of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to ensure that prescriptions are filled correctly and in a timely manner. Pharmacy Managers also develop and implement policies and procedures to improve efficiency and compliance with state and federal regulations. They may also be responsible for ordering and stocking inventory, as well as managing budget and finances. In some cases, Pharmacy Managers may also provide direct patient care, such as counseling patients on the proper use of their medication.

What is a Pharmacist?

Pharmacists are responsible for filling prescriptions and ensuring that patients receive the correct medication. They may also offer advice on how to use the medication, possible side effects and any other information the patient needs to know. Pharmacists work in pharmacies, which can be found in grocery stores, hospitals or other healthcare facilities. They may also work in research laboratories or for pharmaceutical companies. Pharmacists must have a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree and must be licensed in order to practice.

Pharmacy Manager vs. Pharmacist

Here are the main differences between a pharmacy manager and a pharmacist.

Job Duties

Pharmacy managers and pharmacists share some job duties, such as managing the daily operations of a pharmacy. However, their other job responsibilities can differ based on their roles in the pharmacy. For example, while pharmacists are responsible for advising patients about their prescriptions and providing patient care, pharmacy managers may oversee these efforts by evaluating the work of the pharmacists on staff and providing feedback that can help improve the quality of service.

Another difference between the two professions is that while pharmacists must adhere to federal regulations regarding the storage and disposal of medications, pharmacy managers are often responsible for upholding these standards across all locations within a chain pharmacy. This can include ensuring that all employees understand and follow all safety protocols and acting as an intermediary if there are any concerns with local health departments.

Job Requirements

Pharmacy managers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy, although some employers prefer candidates with a master’s degree. They also must be licensed pharmacists in the state where they work. To become a licensed pharmacist, you must first earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree from an accredited pharmacy school and pass two exams: the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX) and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE). Some states also require pharmacists to complete continuing education credits to maintain their license.

Pharmacists working in hospitals or other healthcare settings may also need to obtain additional certification, such as the Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties’ Certified Geriatric Pharmacist credential or the Board of Nuclear Pharmacy’s Nuclear Pharmacy Certification.

Work Environment

Pharmacists and pharmacy managers work in different environments. Pharmacists typically work in pharmacies, hospitals or other medical facilities. They may travel to patients’ homes or workplaces to provide care.

Pharmacy managers usually work in retail settings, such as grocery stores, drugstores or big-box retailers. Some also work for pharmaceutical companies that manufacture medications. These professionals often spend their days working at a desk, but they may occasionally visit the pharmacy floor to ensure employees are following proper procedures.


Both pharmacy managers and pharmacists need to have excellent customer service skills. They work directly with patients and need to be able to answer questions, provide information and resolve any issues that may arise.

Pharmacy managers also need to have strong leadership skills. They are responsible for overseeing the operations of a pharmacy, which can include supervising staff, ordering inventory and managing finances. They need to be able to motivate their team, delegate tasks and ensure that the pharmacy is running smoothly.

Pharmacists need to have in-depth knowledge about medications, including how they work, their side effects and any interactions they may have with other drugs. They use this knowledge to dispense medications to patients and provide them with advice on how to take them safely. They also need to be able to keep up to date on new medications and changes to existing ones.


Pharmacy managers earn an average salary of $126,840 per year, while pharmacists earn an average salary of $128,828 per year. Both of these salaries may vary depending on the location of the job, the size of the company and the level of experience the professional has.


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