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What type of schooling is needed in order to become a pharmacist?

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John’s Answer

Zemira pharmacists work in healthcare facilities, drugstores and hospitals, providing prescription drugs and medication advice to patients. Pharmacists can also work outside of retail pharmacy in the public sector or in a specialty, such as distribution of medications, pharmaceutical development or patient education. To become a pharmacist, students must complete a doctoral program, including supervised work experiences, and gain state licensing.

There is no set-in-stone undergraduate degree for pharmacists. To get into a post-graduate pharmacy school, candidates will need at least a 2-year degree (though most will benefit from a bachelor's degree). Students interested in the pharmacist education needed might want to take undergraduate coursework in topics like: Physics; Chemistry; Biology or Anatomy.

Prospective pharmacists should seek a Doctor of Pharmacy program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). Accreditation demonstrates that a program is preparing students to meet the standards of the profession. According to the ACPE, state licensing boards require applicants to have graduated from an accredited program. Clinical experience is a major segment of a Pharm.D. program. In the first two to three years, depending on the university, students take Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences, in which students develop essential skills, such as consulting patients, delivering immunizations and performing screenings. During the remainder of the program, students take Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs) that place them in patient care settings under the supervision of licensed pharmacists. APPEs have rotations that allow students to experience different areas of pharmacy, including inpatient, ambulatory operations and electives.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), pharmacists who want to work in a clinical setting may consider completing a residency program or fellowship program. Residencies and fellowships are individualized programs that train pharmacists for administrative work or a specialty field, such as informatics or community care. Programs typically last 1-2 years and may include research on the benefits of drug therapy and other topics in the field. Pharmacists who want to run their own pharmacy might also look into a Master of Business Administration.

Pharmacists must be licensed to practice. In addition to having a Pharm.D. from an accredited program, individuals must pass the North American Pharmacists Licensure Examination (NAPLEX), which tests applicants on pharmacotherapy, dispensing medications, and providing accurate healthcare information. All states require applicants to complete either the Multi-state Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE) or a state-sponsored exam. The MPJE tests students on the legal aspects of the pharmacy practice, licensure requirements, and the regulatory laws that govern the profession. The NAPLEX and the MPJE are administered by the National Association of Pharmacy Boards. States may have additional licensing requirements, including background checks or age limits.

Pharmacists work full-time and most are expected to work odd or extended hours as the job demands it, but they are generally well-compensated. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an aging population and rising rates of chronic diseases are expected to contribute to a growth in jobs in the pharmacy field. Between 2018 and 2028, the BLS projects a growth rate of 6%. The average Pharmacist salary in the United States is $128,500 as of July 27, 2020, but the range typically falls between $116,000 and $135,900. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

Hope this was Helpful Zemira

John recommends the following next steps:

Management skills – Pharmacists are pros at management. Whether you are a retail pharmacist, hospital pharmacist, or director of pharmacy, you manage employees and workflow on a daily basis.
Finance skills – If you work in retail or at a hospital, then you are responsible for drug inventory control. Extrapolate that into dollars. You also manage overtime for your employees and assess profit and losses reports for your store.
Mentoring skills – Hospital and retail pharmacists have opportunities to precept pharmacy and pharmacy technician students. Show your skills in teaching, directing, and assessing competency of students.
Multitasking skills – Multitasking is an everyday duty for pharmacists. Being able to work on 2 or 3 projects at a time and complete each of them in a timely manner is a skill that most employers seek.
Communication skills – Working with physicians, nurses, patients, and health care facilities make pharmacists experts in appropriate and effective communication.

Thank Yo for your Continued Support Dexter. Persistence overshadows even talent as the most valuable resource shaping the quality of life. John Frick

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Darcel’s Answer

To become a pharmacist you need a doctorate degree in pharmacology. In high school if you have a strong interest in chemistry, biology and microbiology that is a great start. You need to get A's and B's in the science courses in high school and college. You college major maybe chemistry. There are several site online that tell you the specific courses and personality types that best suit Pharmacist. There are also professional organization/associations. Better yet talk to a pharmacist, one that has been in profession the longest 10=15+ years, 5 years then a newbie. To become a pharmacist is similar to becoming a doctor you will be in school for a long time because science is a complex subject matter when it comes to the human body. How long will it take to become a pharmacist approximate 5- 7 years of under graduate, premed or pre-pharmacology courses 2- 3 years and 5 years of doctorate program. The degree and education does cost a lot of money. Good luck

Darcel recommends the following next steps:

High School Degree interest and A's B's in course related to science and dealing with the body, Chemistry, Biology, Microbiology and Physiology.
College Pre-med with emphasis on Prep-course for Pharmacology program
There may or may not be a standardized test after your four degree to get into a pharmacology degree doctorate program
Be prepared to apply to several doctorate program for Pharmacology to be accepted to one it's an competitive process.
Visit all the four year colleges/universities online that have the Pharmacology program. Research how to become a pharmacist online
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Dinah’s Answer

It really depends on the school you are applying to. Many students can go straight from high school into pharmacy school. Some pharmacy schools accept students immediately after they graduate from high school. Pharmacy schools that accept all or most students directly from high school are referred to as “0-6” programs because these students can complete their pre-pharmacy and professional study within six years after high school. Many schools in state and out of state have different prerequisites, but general chem, general bio, orgo, and human anatomy/physiology are the major classes I saw in most pharmacy schools. For me, I wanted to earn my bachelors degree, before applying to pharmacy schools. I finished my bachelors degree and now I am a P1 student and a pharmacy intern. So, research what prerequisites the pharmacy schools you are applying to, so your classes align with the school you are applying to.
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EJ’s Answer

Zemira, I'm glad you're interested in being a pharmacist.
First, check with any pharmacy school you're interested in and find out what pre-requisite courses you need.
Usually it takes about 2 years to complete those courses if you're full time student. Don't forget to study PCAT while you're taking pre-requisite classes since most pharmacy schools require PCAT score.
After you complete pre-requisite courses, then you can apply to pharmacy school.
Most pharmacy schools are 4 year program but some school offers accelerated program where you can graduate sooner.
You can take board exam after completion of pharmacy school and become a pharmacist once you pass the exam.

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Galia’s Answer

You need to study pre-pharmacy where you take science classes to prepare you to pharmacy school and general education, then you attend pharmacy school for four years.
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Logan’s Answer

Hi! Many of the people who already answered gave great insight! I’m a current student at VCU in Virginia. Start looking into what requirements are needed for each school. (Each school is different). Many people say you have to major in chemistry, biology, etc. I did not fit that criteria. I majored in communications, I still took the prerequisites for school and the PCAT. Many of the pharmacy schools look for people who are different. My advice was do things that not all applicants do. That way your application stands out from the rest! Hope this helps!

Logan recommends the following next steps:

Research schools you’d like.
Start thinking about studying for the PCAT.
Enjoy your time and DON’T stress!
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Melissa’s Answer

Everyone above has posted great and helpful information. It all truly depends on which university you attend. A lot of universities are trying to speed up the process to which students obtain their Doctorate in Pharmacology so I’d definitely do your research on the university before attending. Some require that you have 4 years of undergrad, some require that you only have 2 years of undergrad. Be aware that the workforce after you obtain your Doctorate in Pharmacology, is highly competitive. Also be aware of the different workplace settings and salary. Working in a retail pharmacy will result in a higher salary; however, you’ll work long shifts where you’re on your feet and possibly the only pharmacist in the pharmacy, so it can be a lot of pressure. Working in a hospital pharmacy will have a lower salary than retail; however, you’ll be working at a desk in the pharmacy or in different units within the hospital like the ICU’s, where you’ll work directly with physicians and other healthcare professionals. I hope that this helps!