In this weekly feature, the editors of SpringBoard highlight one career in the health care professions–including a basic description, educational requirements, core competencies/key skills needed, and related web sites and professional organizations where you can find more information!

Job Description

A state board of pharmacy is the regulatory agency for the practice of pharmacy in that state. The board is usually responsible for licensing pharmacies and pharmacists; regulating drug storage, security, and dispensing; and inspecting pharmacies, drug distributors, and manufacturers. The pharmacy board also handles complaints and imposes penalties when people and businesses violate regulations. It informs pharmacists of changes in laws and regulations and provides guidance regarding the scope of what pharmacists can do.

Overseeing all the board’s work is the executive director, who advises the members on policy matters and strategic planning, guides the implementation of policies, and supervises certain staff members. The executive director must be aware of pharmacy issues and trends, current laws and policies, pending legislation, and issues in inspection, licensing, and enforcement. Day-to-day tasks can include attending legislative hearings, working on ways to improve processes for licensing or inspection, addressing budget issues, and collaborating with other agencies.

Education and Certification

Some states, but not all, require the executive director to be a licensed pharmacist, and many require a certain amount of experience. Knowledge of pharmacy laws and regulations and of how the board of pharmacy functions is essential. Some executive directors have come to the job after serving as appointed members.

Core Competencies and Skills
■ Strong managerial skills
■ Excellent negotiating and public speaking skills
■ Ability to handle multiple responsibilities at once
■ Interest in policymaking
■ Talent for networking and making connections with legislators, government officials, and local leaders in the pharmacy world
■ Thorough understanding of pharmacy laws and regulations
■ Ability to communicate complex information to people from many different backgrounds

Salaries vary substantially by state, ranging from about $80,000 to $125,000.

State boards of pharmacy may be separate agencies or may be located within health departments, departments of consumer affairs or public safety, departments of regulation and licensing, or other sections of state government. In some states, the director of the board of pharmacy also
oversees other agencies, as well.

Employment Outlook
Each state has only one pharmacy board, and these jobs are generally filled by people who have experience with the activities of a state pharmacy board.

For Further Information

  • National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP),
  • National Association of State Controlled Substance Authorities ( NASCSA)

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