When Bill Harbester started as a stock boy at a local drug store, pharmacists had little interaction with customers.
"A lot of people think all we do is put pills into bottles," he said.
But with more new drugs on the market and a shift in how -- and where -- common medical treatments are handled, the 28-year-old Happy Harry's pharmacist is busier than ever.
Since 2007, Harbester has administered flu shots in the store. In the future, he may be able to perform more routine tests, such as blood glucose readings, that were traditionally done in a doctor's office.
"It's a very promising area, because we're going to interact a lot more than old pharmacies typically allowed us to," he said.
Just as they have begun taking on more jobs, openings for trained pharmacists have become more plentiful. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of pharmacists is expected to grow by 17 percent, or approximately 46,000 new jobs, between 2008 and 2018. Currently, there are 268,000 pharmacists in the United States.
As of May 2009, the median annual salary was $109,180, which reflects an increase of 2.6 percent from the previous year.
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