Pharmacist Education Requirements

This article overviews about all the necessary requirements which includes the degree levels, certification, licensing and skills to become a qualified pharmacist.

Updated by Rakshitha N on 2nd June 2020

While the world population increases, there is increased need for advanced medications and willingness to live a longer file. Due to this the healthcare industry is receiving an exceptional demand for healthcare providers, technicians, nurses  and other related professions. 

Pharmacists are one for them who are responsible for dispensing the medicine according to the physician prescription and additionally provide information about the dosage, possible side effects, instruction on the other range of concern.  

Becoming a Pharmacist takes years of study and distinct requirements to meet such as a degree, certification, training, licensure and skills. With rapid growth in the recent years, there are about more than 6000 additional job opportunities created for this profession. Hence, aspiring students can take up this profession and prosper while gaining a handsome salary. 

Prerequisites

Before starting up this career path, there are certain necessary prerequisites to attain to take up advanced studies in the future. They include, 

  • General and organic chemistry

  • Human anatomy and physiology

  • Microbiology

  • Molecular and cellular biology

For instance, to apply for the 2020 academic year, you must complete all the prerequisites by June 2020 or during summer. Hence before taking up the profession learn about what the industry is expecting for you, the approximate time to become a pharmacist and the other related career concentrations. 


Undergraduate Degree

A pharmacy study should start by getting an undergraduate degree such as a bachelor’s degree or an associate's degree in pharmacy to meet the requirements for a pharmacy school. Usually these programs provide education on the general courses such as english, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, statistics and calculus. Also a brief on core courses such as microbiology, anatomy, economics, physiology and the humanities.

To enter a pharmacy school, you are required  to complete a minimum of  two to three years to gain the prerequisite courses.

After earning an undergraduate degree, you then must clear the Pharmacy College Admission Test to enter a pharmacy college which evaluates your potential and knowledge on verbal ability, reading comprehension and quantitative skills.


Doctor of Pharmacy Programs

A Pharm.D is necessary for a four year program required for the ones who want to obtain a license to practice pharmacy legally. The courses provided under this program  are patient counseling, drug dosages, biochemistry, pharmaceutical calculations, pharmacy laws, health policy, practice management, hematology, pain management, oncology, the central nervous system and infectious diseases and pharmacotherapy.

The common discipline a student can choose in this program are, 

  • Pharmaceutical chemistry

  • Pharmacognosy

  • Pharmacology

Always look for a pharmacy program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as it gives you  better credentials and exposure to various opportunities. 

Pharmacists can attend internships, gain experience at community pharmacies and hospitals to gain experience under the guidance of healthcare professionals and pharmacists.


Residency and training program

To advance your career and earn higher positions in the field of pharmacy, you can pursue the residency program after completing the doctor of pharmacy. A residency program takes about 1-2 years to specialize in fields such as biomedical research, geriatrics pharmacology or community practice.

One added advantage is, this program allows you to connect with people and experience the real world scenarios, work on projects, and practice medicine to open up an individual pharmacy.


Licensing

According to the state requirements you are preferred to earn a license to work at a hospital or pharmacy. Students must clear these 2 exams to obtain a license,

  • North American Pharmacist Licensing Exam (NAPLEX)

  • Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE)


Stand out Skills

The roles of a pharmacist is challenging and requires certain stand out skills and hence here are few listed,

  • Attention to detail

  • Problem solving

  • Accuracy and precision

  • Time management

  • Good communication skills

  • Multitasking

  • Technically sound

  • Connect with people