How Long Does It Take To Become A Pharmacist?

This article is a guide to estimate how long it takes to become a pharmacist by meeting the requirements of this career path and become qualified.

Updated by Rakshitha N on 16th October 2020

Are you someone who loves to work in the healthcare industry? Interested in taking up a healthcare role and treating people? Becoming a pharmacist is a good fit for you. 

The pharmacy career is one of the fastest-growing professions in the United States and has an average growth of about 4.4 percent with an addition of 3,600 jobs. With the growing population and the increased need for medication to live longer leads to an exceptional need for the healthcare industry. Hence, in this article, we will learn about how much time one can take to become a pharmacist. 

Usually, to become a pharmacist, it takes about 6-8 years long to land on an entry-level career. To simplify this further, you require at least 2 years of an undergraduate degree, 4 years in a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) degree program, and a residency program for 1-2 years to gain training and experience in the field. 

The roles and responsibilities of pharmacists are to dispense the prescribed medication by the doctors, advising patients about the medicine, dosage, effects, risks of the drugs, and other instructions. Additionally, advances in pharmaceutical research mean there are more medication options available than ever before.

How long does it take to become a pharmacist?

The time taken to become a pharmacist can depend on what education level you want to pursue. For an entry-level job, you could take about 6-8 years to complete your educational requirements. This includes 2 years of undergraduate degree followed by a 4-year full-time pharmacist degree program. To learn better about the time you invest in this career path you must be well aware of the educational requirements for a pharmacist first.

To break it down, here are the level explained to you with an approximate time period to complete,

Associate’s degree in pharmacy- 2 years

An associate’s degree is a pre-medicinal degree that offers 60 credits to complete the coursework such as fundamentals of pharmacology, anatomy, and others. This degree is suitable for the ones who want to take up an entry-level job or work as an assistant at a pharmacy as this course only gives the surface-level knowledge. 

Bachelor’s degree in pharmacy- 4 years

The four-year program provides 120-128 credits that offer general and core courses such as math, physics, chemistry, biology, and anatomy. It provides a strong foundation to obtain prerequisites for the ones who want to take up the advanced levels. 

Doctor of Pharmacy- 4 year

Pharm.D is an advanced degree accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), essential for this career path to be taken after completing the undergraduate degree. It gives in-depth knowledge on topics such as medicinal chemistry, toxicology, how drugs work in the body, biopharmaceuticals, public health concepts, ethics and laws, and aspects of prescription management.  

  • Aspiring students can take a combined undergraduate graduate program which sums up to a total of 6-7 years for completing the education required for a pharmacist. 

Residency program- 1-2 years

After completing the educational requirements, you are also expected to gain experience at a residency program or post-doctoral training for 1-2 years. This enhances the skills and experience required to get certified and land up on the job. 

  • Students who are interested can also enroll for a Pharmacy Online Residency Centralized Application Service which helps them with their career and placements.

Conclusion

A pharmacist usually invests time in gaining education and experience while it is surely worth the wait as the average salary offered for this job profile is about $135,337 annually. The healthcare industry is at peak demand right now and choosing this career path will be fruitful for your future.

So make your decision today!