A pharmacist smiling while standing in the pharmacy.

When you think of a pharmacist, you might picture a white-coated professional behind a counter, dispensing medications and offering advice on their use. While this image is not entirely inaccurate, it does not fully capture the complexity and diversity of the profession. The role of a pharmacist extends far beyond the dispensary counter, encompassing a wide range of responsibilities and specializations.

Choosing a career is a significant decision and it is crucial to consider how your personality aligns with your chosen profession. Your personality traits can influence your job satisfaction, performance, and overall career success. So, if you're considering a career in pharmacy, it's worth exploring how your personality might fit with the demands and rewards of this profession. 

What Does a Pharmacist Do?

A pharmacist is a healthcare professional who specializes in the use of medications. They play a crucial role in patient care, ensuring that medications are used safely and effectively.

On a typical day, a pharmacist might dispense prescriptions, counsel patients on medication use, monitor patient health and progress, collaborate with other healthcare professionals, and even conduct research or educate future pharmacists.

There are also many specializations within the field of pharmacy, including clinical pharmacy, community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, industrial pharmacy and academic pharmacy. Each of these roles requires a unique set of skills and offers different opportunities and challenges.

What Are the Skills Needed to Become a Pharmacist?

  1. Communication skills: Pharmacists need to communicate effectively with patients, healthcare providers and other pharmacists. They must be able to explain complex medical information in a way that is easy to understand.
  2. Analytical thinking: Pharmacists must be able to analyze patient information, understand complex drug interactions, and make decisions about medication use.
  3. Attention to detail: Pharmacists must be meticulous in their work, as mistakes can have serious consequences for patient health.
  4. Empathy: Pharmacists often interact with patients who are dealing with health issues. Being able to empathize with patients and provide compassionate care is crucial. 
  5. Technical skills: Pharmacists need to have a deep understanding of medications, their uses and their potential side effects. They also need to be comfortable using various technologies and software used in pharmacy practice.

Which Personality Types Make the Best Pharmacists?

Certain personality traits can make individuals more suited to the profession of pharmacy. Using the Big Five personality traits and TypeFinder types as a reference, we can gain insights into how personality might influence professional aptitude in pharmacy.

Big Five Personality Traits of Pharmacists

  1. Openness: Although high openness is not essential, pharmacists need to be open to new information and willing to continually learn as medical knowledge evolves. They also need to be open to feedback and willing to adapt their practices as needed.
  2. Conscientiousness: Pharmacists need to be organized, responsible and reliable. They must pay close attention to detail and follow strict protocols to ensure patient safety.
  3. Extraversion: While not essential, high extraversion can be beneficial in pharmacy roles that involve a lot of patient interaction. However, more introverted individuals may excel in roles that require more independent and focused work.
  4. Agreeableness: Pharmacists often work as part of a healthcare team and need to be able to collaborate effectively with others. They also need to be patient and empathetic when dealing with patients.
  5. Neuroticism: High levels of neuroticism may be a challenge in the high-stress environment of pharmacy. However, some level of neuroticism can be beneficial, as it can lead to a high level of achievement and a realistic view of problems and limitations. 

You can take our Big Five personality test to see how these traits play out in your life.

TypeFinder Types of Pharmacists

Certain TypeFinder types may find the profession of pharmacy particularly rewarding. For example, ISTJs and ISFJs, with their attention to detail and focus on practical, concrete information, may excel in the role.

However, every TypeFinder type can find a niche within the profession that aligns with their unique strengths and preferences. Take our TypeFinder assessment to find out your unique type!

How to Get Started Becoming a Pharmacist

If you're interested in becoming a pharmacist, start by researching the profession and considering how it aligns with your personality, interests and goals. Consider shadowing a pharmacist, pursuing an internship or speaking with professionals in the field to gain a better understanding of the role.

You might also find it helpful to take a career assessment, such as the Career Personality Profiler, Holland Code Career Test, or DISC Personality Test, to gain insights into your career-related personality traits.

Should I Become a Pharmacist?

Remember, every personality has unique potential within the profession of pharmacy. Whether you're an extravert who thrives on patient interaction or an introvert who excels at independent research, there's a place for you in this diverse field. So, if you're considering a career in pharmacy, take the time to explore how your unique personality and skills might align with this rewarding profession.

Megan Malone
Megan holds an MS in organizational psychology and manages content and brand marketing at Truity. She is passionate about helping people improve their relationships, careers, and quality of life using personality psychology. An INFJ and Enneagram 9, Megan lives quietly in Fort Worth, Texas with her husband and two pups. You can chat with her on Twitter @meganmmalone.