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What did you generally have to do in order to become a pharmacist?

#pharmaceuticals #pharmacist

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Anthony’s Answer

Hello,
In the United States, you need a doctorate of pharmacy to become a licensed pharmacist. The steps to do so are as follows:
1) Complete pharmacy school prerequisites at an undergraduate institution. Some students choose to complete a bachelor's degree while doing so. Some pharmacy schools have different requirements, but you can look at a few to get a general idea of the standard courses required.
2) Build a resume with extracurriculars to support your academic application.
3) Take the PCAT, which is the pharmacy school acceptance exam.
4) Apply to pharmacy schools through PharmCAS.
5) Attend pharmacy school interviews and get accepted to a pharmacy school.
6) Complete the pharmacy school program and graduate with a Doctorate of Pharmacy (PharmD)
7) Pass the NAPLEX and MPJE (pharmacy law exam) for the state you wish to practice in.
This is a very general road map on how to become a pharmacist. This is not concrete, as there is some room for differentiation. Primarily, some pharmacy schools are six-year programs directly out of high school and allow students to take the prerequisites as the preceding two years of their pharmacy school curriculum.
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Kody’s Answer

It is usually 2-4 years of undergraduate. Some people will go the 2 year route if they really know they want to pursue pharmacy. Others will go the 4 year route to get an undergraduate degree prior to attending pharmacy school just in case. I chose the 4 year route because I didn't know I wanted to become a pharmacist until later.

Once in pharmacy school, the first three years are all didactic (in the classroom) learning experiences. The final year is a year full of rotations where you will be placed in different pharmacy settings to gain experience and knowledge prior to graduation. After graduation, the student must take the state boards (NAPLEX and MPJE) prior to becoming a pharmacist. And then throughout your tenure as a pharmacist, you must continue to do continuing education since there are always new drugs and therapeutics coming to market.
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Steven’s Answer

As many of the answers state, pharmacy school is, at a minimum, a 6-year commitment. The curriculum is very science-based, with chemistry-related courses as a core (inorganic, organic, biochem, medicinal chem, etc.)
I don't agree with other statements that pharmacy is heavy in math - there is some math but nothing like you might encounter in an engineering space.
although a 6-year commitment seems like a lot, especially when you're younger, once you get through you will be set for life. almost all pharmacy jobs start in the low 6-figures, and you can have a ton of career choices.
My own journey started as a community pharmacist, filling prescriptions in a retail setting. From there I became a district manager for the chain I was working at, and then I became involved in my organizations managed-care division and eventually would up selling pharmacy benefits for a short time. Then I moved into the insurance industry (think Blue Cross, United, etc.) where I have had a very successful 20-year run.
On the insurance side we hire many pharmacists to do things like review prior authorization requests - we also have pharmacists working in the sales and account areas...so again, lots of places to go if you are inclined!
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Krystyna’s Answer

In addition to the at least 6 years of school, there is often a large amount of rotating through different practice sites as well as extracurricular activities that are encouraged. These practical experiences are incredibly helpful to assess what type of practice you'd like to get involved in, and make you a well-rounded candidate for any future jobs! I think it's just important to note that going through pharmacy school is not just going to classes, but a lot of outside activity as well.

Another thing to consider is if you'd like to do a residency after pharmacy school. During pharmacy school you can work towards getting experience in the type of residency you might be considering, and anticipate at least a year of residency based on your goals. These are just a few things I think would have been good to know before starting pharmacy school.
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Michael’s Answer

You need to go to 6 years of college at a university with a pharmacy program. Pharmacy programs are very heavy in math and science.
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