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Q: Do you have any information on being a pharmacist?

A: With the needs of the growing aging population in this country, and with scientific advances, pharmacy is a growing field.

Pharmacists must be able to accurately measure, count and mix drugs and medications of all kinds. They must also be able to talk with customers about aches and pains as well as prescription and over-the-counter medications, so it is important for them to keep up with medical advances and technologies.

Computer skills are important to the pharmacist because so much information is kept on computers, along with records outlining medical histories and drugs used by customers.

Some pharmacists are self-employed, while others work for drugstore chains, hospitals, grocery stores, health organizations and clinics.

Pharmacists must earn a high school diploma, and graduate from a college or university with a bachelor's degree in pharmacy (five years) or a bachelor's of pharmacy degree, which takes six years to earn. Graduates from an accredited college of pharmacy must pass a state board examination and serve an internship under a licensed pharmacist.

Once on the job, pharmacists must continue their education in order to maintain their licenses.

There are many colleges and universities that offer pharmacy degrees. Some colleges take students directly from high school, others insist that students take a Pharmacy College Admissions Examination.

Pharmacists earn between $19 and $28 per hour, depending on their level of education and experience.

Carrie Leed is a senior at Williamsville East High School. If you'd like her to find out about a career, write to her in care of NeXt, The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.

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