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How To Become A Pharmacist

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 1

If you are thinking about becoming a pharmacist, you are probably wondering how to become a pharmacist. If you are just getting out of high school then you should know that you will need a strong background in chemistry, biology and math to become a pharmacist. If you are in college right now or are thinking about going back to school then I would suggest taking as many undergrad courses in the above subjects to help you along.

College of Pharmacy

In order to become a pharmacist you will need to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from a college of pharmacy and pass several examinations. The Doctor of Pharmacy degree has replaced the Bachelor of Pharmacy degree which in no longer being awarded. It should be noted that a Doctor of Pharmacy or a PharmD is neither an undergraduate degree such as a BA or BS nor is it considered a graduate degree such as a MS, MBA, or PhD. The Doctor of Pharmacy is a professional degree for Pharmacists similar to the doctor of medicine, MD, for physicians or a doctor of dental, DDS for dentists.

College of Pharmacy
In order to apply to a Doctor of Pharmacy program, you will have to do two years of pre-pharmacy study, after applying and getting in to what every program you chose, you will then have to do four more years to earn your Doctor of Pharmacy. Generally it does not matter if you do your prerequisite courses at a school other then the one you choose to attain your Doctor of Pharmacy, however, the program will take into consideration the rigor of the institution where the courses were completed, along with the number or courses taken at the same time. If you have schools in mind, then it would be wise to check with their College of Pharmacy to see what exactly their prerequisite course entail and what types of grades you need in those classes. In 2009, 116 colleges and schools of pharmacy were accredited to confer degrees by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), including one international school. It should be noted that about 70 percent of PharmD programs require students to take the Pharmacy College Admissions Test to gain entry.

Courses offered at colleges of pharmacy are designed to teach students about all aspects of drug therapy. In addition, students learn how to communicate with patients and other health care providers about drug information and patient care. Students also learn professional ethics, concepts of public health, and medication distribution systems management. In addition to receiving classroom instruction, students in Pharm.D. programs spend about one-forth of their time in a variety of pharmacy practice settings under the supervision of licensed pharmacists.

Become A Pharmacist

Become A Pharmacist
Once you graduate, in order to become a pharmacist you must get licensed. A license to practice pharmacy is required in all states. To obtain a license all applicants must be graduates from a college of pharmacy that is accredited by the ACPE and must pass a series of exams. All states require the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX), which tests pharmacy skills and knowledge. Forty-four States and the District of Columbia also require the Multi-state Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE), which tests pharmacy law. Both exams are administered by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). Each of the eight States and territories that do not require the MJPE has its own pharmacy law exam. In addition to the NAPLEX and MPJE, some States and territories require additional exams that are unique to their jurisdiction. All jurisdictions except California currently grant license transfers to qualified pharmacists who already are licensed by another jurisdiction.

Graduates of foreign pharmacy schools may also qualify for licensure in some U.S. States and territories. These individuals must apply for certification from the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination Committee (FPGEC). Once certified, they must pass the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Examination (FPGEE), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam, and Test of Spoken English (TSE) exam. They then must pass all of the exams required by the licensing jurisdiction, such as the NAPLEX and MJPE. Applicants who graduated from programs accredited by the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP) between 1993 and 2004 are exempt from FPGEC certification and examination requirements.

When choosing to become a pharmacist it know it will be a long road of schooling however, the benefits can out way the years of schooling. The field of pharmacy is experiencing unprecedented growth, and the role of the pharmacist touches every aspect of health care. Employment is expected to increase faster than most occupations, and as a result of rapid growth and the need to replace workers who leave the occupation, the job prospects should be very good. In case you were wondering, according to the latest salary surveys, the median salary for Pharmacist was over $100,000. I hoped this article helped, and good luck with your quest to become a pharmacist.



Sep 29, 2010 4:13pm
Excellent article that was well written, and provided me with some great knowledge that I didn’t have before.
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