JANUARY 01, 2007
Elizabeth S. Roop

PHARMACISTS WANTING TO DO more than just fill prescriptions, and who want to know that the career path they have chosen is rich with both variety and challenges, should take a look at Walgreens.

The nation's largest retail pharmacy chain, Walgreens—which filled 529 million prescriptions and recorded sales of $48.6 billion in 2006 while serving an average of 4.7 million customers each day—is considered an innovator in drugstore retailing. In fact, many of the modern store and pharmacy features pioneered by Walgreens have become industry standards, such as computerized pharmacy systems that are connected nationwide, point-of-sale scanning, and drive-thru pharmacy service.

In 2006, Fortune magazine ranked Walgreens as the top food and drugstore in its list of Most Admired Companies—the eighth consecutive year the company earned the top spot—and in its list of Global Most Admired Companies.

"Walgreens is not solely a community pharmacy, it is a health care company. We have patient services and MTM [medication therapy management] services that our pharmacists use to help improve the lives of their patients every day," said Amanda Bidlencik, RPh, Walgreens' manager of pharmacy relations. "This allows our pharmacists to make an impact on the overall health care and medication management of their patients."

With more than 5500 stores in 47 states and Puerto Rico, Walgreens can offer pharmacists career opportunities that are as varied and diverse as the company's geographic distribution. In addition to positions within Walgreens' stores, opportunities ranging from pharmacy benefits management to clinical services are available at Walgreens Health Services.

Walgreens is a unique place to work for more reasons than the career options it offers, however, according to Bidlencik. It is unique because of the strong pharmacy focus the company has maintained since it was founded in 1901.

"We have been a pharmacy company for over 100 years, and during that time, our leaders have always been pharmacists. Because of this, pharmacists working for Walgreens can be assured that their profession is valued by the company and that their needs and the needs of their patients come first," she said. "Also, the success of the company enables tremendous growth opportunity. Pharmacists who come to work for Walgreens know their opportunity for advancement is limitless."

In fact, added Bidlencik, "the leaders of our company started out as pharmacists, and that same opportunity continues at Walgreens."

There are a number of information resources for pharmacists interested in learning more about careers with Walgreens, including on-line at www.walgreens.jobs, or through the corporate recruitment office by calling 866-WORK-4-WAG (866-967-5492).

For students, Walgreens offers a variety of programs to help them gain experience and support in the community setting, including the company's internship and Educational Assistance Program, said Bidlencik. Once on-board as an intern, there are no limits to where a pharmacist can go.

"We have pharmacists working in all areas of our company, from pharmacy operations to purchasing to Walgreens Health Services," she said. "A typical career path starts as a pharmacy intern, then pharmacist, then pharmacy manager. From there, the opportunities are endless."

Ms. Roop is a freelance writer based in Tampa, Fla.

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