Major Difference Between Pharmacology and Pharmacy to Know

Students considering pharmacology and pharmacy careers should consider the day-to-day responsibilities of each.

Major Difference Between Pharmacology and Pharmacy

Working in a research lab for a pharmaceutical company or in a university makes for a very different career than working in a public-facing pharmacy.

Differences Between Pharmacist vs. Pharmacologist.

How Do You Choose?

The most convenient way to determine your direction is to further research each career and what it takes to achieve it.

You’ll also want to look into the quality of life, pay and benefits, and how easily you’ll be able to find work in the location of your choice.


Besides dispensing medication, pharmacists provide patient-professional health care education about the uses of medications.

They are widely considered medication experts, especially concerned with managing diseases through medication and distribution use.


On the other hand, are not seen performing any of these duties; rather, their designation is more on the science behind medicine, which includes how it reacts in the body system.


Helping People Get Well.

The main goal of a pharmacist is to help patients get well through the use of medicine. Their aim is to diagnose disease, cure it, prevent further spread of it.

They typically eliminate or reduce symptoms and nullify the physiological process of a patient’s health. Pharmacists can achieve these goals through their understanding of the composition of drugs and their manufacture, as well as their use.

This includes drug purity and strength and, in the light of this knowledge, they make sure patients are treated with the right medication to ensure they get well.

Job Descriptions: Healthcare Job Descriptions

While they may be closely related, the studies of pharmacy and pharmacology are uniquely their own, and students of either program will enter different career paths upon graduation.

Pharmacy graduates can dispense medication in their role as a pharmacist. On the other hand, pharmacology graduates explore and study-related reactions to the use of medicine in the human body.

Pharmacists: Dispensing Medication

Students who have intentions to work in a pharmacy dispensing medication should aim for at least a degree in pharmacy. A Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D.) along with the passage of a state license exam permits graduates to be a practitioner of pharmacy in the United States.


Do not perform any of these duties; instead, they focus more on the science behind medicine, including how it reacts to the body.

Pharmacologists: Studying the Effects of Medicine

Even before medications are being dispensed or prescribed. They study the sources, chemical properties and effects of medicine in the human body.

This study can vary anywhere from drug discovery to toxicology, with a wide variety of disciplines available within the industry of pharmacology.

Pharmacology: Pharmacodynamics and Pharmacokinetics

Unlike pharmacy, pharmacology may include two (2) closely related areas:



While Pharmacodynamics is designated to be the study of how drugs affect cellular systems through molecular, biological, and physiological effects.

Pharmacokinetics then makes an analysis on the absorption, delivery, and excretion of the drugs from the system.

These two (2) components are very important to the study of pharmacology and serve of lesser importance when compared to a pharmacy.

Work Environment

As a pharmacist, the person will work in a pharmacy, probably like the ones in his or her town’s convenience or grocery stores.

They may also find work at a hospital or clinic while pharmacists work for universities or drug companies.

Pharmacologists, on the other hand, normally work in research centers, laboratories, and academic institutions.

They are often employed by government organizations, private foundations, and the drug manufacturing industry to conduct research and development.

Work Duties

As a retail pharmacist, one will spend his or her time filling prescriptions, advising patients, and completing insurance forms and other administrative designations.

It’s true most pharmacists work in stores, but they could also work as a consultant or in a clinical role, especially to assist doctors who work directly with patients.

Pharmacologists, however, are the developers of the drugs, and they test them for effectiveness and safety.

They are often designated in one area, such as endocrine pharmacology, chemotherapy, toxicology, or veterinary pharmacology.

Pharmacist Education

For one to become a practicing pharmacist, he or she will need to have a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, which usually takes four (4) years to complete.

To be prepared for an advanced pharmacy job, they may take on a one (1) to two (2) year residency program after they have finished their Pharm.D.

Business courses also can be helpful, especially if the person wants to run his or her own store. They will also need to pass at least two (2) licensing exams in order to work–one (1) testing general knowledge and one (1)on pharmacy law in their state of residency.

Pharmacologist Education

A Pharmacologists may need to have a Ph.D. in pharmacology or some other related field. Though programs may vary depending on the institution, one can expect to complete a significant amount of original research.

Giving the fact that pharmacology is highly related to medical science, some institutions may provide the option to earn a joint M.D. and Ph.D. degrees.

Sometimes pharmacologists also complete two (2) to four (4) years of postdoctoral research. They are not required to have a license to work as a pharmacologist.

Pharmacology vs Pharmacy salary

A Pharmacist earns a median annual salary of $122,230, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, On the low end, pharmacists earned a 25th percentile salary of $109,400, which perhaps implies that 75 percent earned more than this amount.

The 75th percentile salary is $138,920, which also means 25 percent earn more. In the year 2016, 312,500 total people were employed in the U.S. as pharmacists.


 Here, income varies widely, depending on the field the individual work in. The median salary for all medical scientists is $82,240.

While it is recorded that the highest paid professionals in this field earn $175,320 working in professional, scientific, and technical services.


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