Graduating from pharmacy school is no small feat. After years of study and endless rounds of rotations, residencies, and internships, you’re finally able to don the white coat. The letters “RPh” look quite good next to your name.

But what happens after the celebrations and grad parties end? This is where the fun begins — you get to be a full-fledged working pharmacist.

The learning doesn’t end once you walk that stage. There are certain tricks of the pharmacy trade that you might’ve not known during your school days, and we’ve got you covered.

Here are some things about pharmacy work that they (likely) don’t teach you in pharmacy school.

Use Your Resources

Remember when you weren’t allowed to use calculators for a math test for some arbitrary reason? Not only does the real world permit the use of calculators but they encourage it. In other words, always be willing to check your source if you’re not certain on a given topic.

You might be a walking encyclopedia of medications and their respective side effects. However, thousands of medications are being made and approved every year. That inner encyclopedia of yours can only expand so much.

Referring to online resources is a must when working in your pharmacy. It's not a job requirement to know everything there is off the top of your head. Whether we’re talking new medications or laws and regulations, some resources to bookmark include:

CDC Webinars

FDA Drug Topic Webinars

FDA Email Updates (great to get notified on drug shortages or changes to labeling)

NABP Directory

Might we also suggest checking out our other blogs and pharmacy podcasts? From spring cleaning your pharmacy and going beyond the scripts, pharmacy resources take all shapes and sizes.

More Than Just a Pharmacist

Though provider status for pharmacists remains a hot-button issue, we can all agree that pharmacists — particularly independent pharmacists — do more than check prescriptions.

Pharmacy leadership is often something pharmacy school grads develop after graduation, and that learning curve can be a steep one.

One thing to know to help with that learning curve is that pharmacists wear kinds of different hats. There's the surface level roles, such as dispensing and verifying prescriptions. Then there are things that go beyond the white coat: being a strong leader for your staff and a listening ear for your patients.

The key to a strong team and patient base share one key ingredient: a pharmacist who makes them feel heard and valued. While you can be book smart, strong leadership skills will make your pharmacy a certified pillar of the community.

For more on pharmacy leadership, read our blog “5 Pharmacy Leadership Essentials for 2024.”

The Maze of Insurance and Billing

The reality of opening a pharmacy is that you’re also opening a business — and businesses need to make a profit to stay afloat. Prescription and OTC sales certainly financial metrics, but it’s time to look at the fine print.

That's where insurance billing comes in. You’re likely no stranger to insurance claims and all the complexities that come with it. However, you may not be privy to the specifics of pharmacy reimbursement. Now that you’re a working pharmacist, you have to look at the business side of the work.

Prescription reimbursement remains a hot topic item of pharmacy work. From PBM interference to different payment models (hello, cash-plus model), looking into the financial aspects of pharmacy is an absolute must.

Reach out to professors or industry peers about their experience with the current state of insurance and billing. For many, it’s just as complicated as the structure of some medications. We also recommend our aforementioned pharmacy podcasts — namely the Catalyst Pharmacy Podcast — to learn more about the business aspects of the industry.

Choose Your Own Adventure

As you’ve likely noticed by now, pharmacy work is not one-size-fits-all. Likewise, there isn’t one definitive way to care for your patients. In that spirt, as you’re getting ready for graduation, remember you can blaze your own trail in the industry.

The biggest appeal of independent pharmacy is how it gives you the chance to care for your patients your way. You're not opening a pharmacy — you’re opening your pharmacy.

If retail was never your jam, don’t fret. Specialty pharmacies are becoming all the rage. Not only are they a viable investment, but you can put your own stamp on patient care.

Your pharmacy degree allows you to do more than process prescriptions all day (which is okay). You spent nearly a decade to get that degree for a reason. Honor that reason by doing what you truly want to do.


The hard part is over, or so you think. Working in the pharmacy world gives you experiences and bits of wisdom that only they can provide. The industry is always growing, so be willing to check your resources at a moment’s notice. Yesterday’s trends can become today’s old news.

Becoming a licensed pharmacist is a huge achievement, so enjoy the spoils of victory as you celebrate your graduation. The fun part begins Monday morning.

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