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What are the academic steps required to become a pharmacologist?

I'm interested in pursuing pharmacology as a degree and am wondering what my academic path would be in this field. #medicine #research #pharmacy #biomedical #pharmaceuticals #medicine-research #biomedical-science #pharmacology

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Nayeem’s Answer

Pharmacists educate patients about the use of drugs and illness prevention while providing them medication and conferring with physicians about medication issues. Aspiring pharmacists must complete at least two years of undergraduate study (not in any specific discipline) before attaining their Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from a pharmacy school. Pharmacists are also required to obtain licensure by passing the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam.

Undergraduate Education

Pre-pharmacy students must complete at least two years of college to be eligible for pharmacy school, though most complete 3-4 years of a bachelor's degree program. Aspiring pharmacists aren't required to pursue specific majors; however, undergraduate coursework in physics, chemistry, biology, and calculus can provide a foundation for advanced pharmacy classes.

Doctor of Pharmacy Degree

While bachelor's degrees in pharmacy were once the requirement for entry-level positions, pharmacists are now required to hold Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) professional degrees. Pharm.D. programs take four years to complete and prepare students for the technical, scientific and patient-care aspects of the profession. Courses may include:
•Disease treatments
•Pharmacy ethics and law
•Drug absorption rates
•Patient care
•Medicinal chemistry

Pharm.D. programs also incorporate clinical training into their curricula. Through clerkships, students gain practical experience in pharmacy settings under the supervision of licensed pharmacists. The goal of clinical practice is to familiarize students with patient interaction while allowing them to develop professional skills by applying knowledge acquired in the classroom.

Post-Graduate Training

Graduates of Pharm.D. programs may choose to pursue additional training through residencies or fellowships. These programs generally last 1-2 years and allow training pharmacists to gain direct, patient-care experience in community pharmacies, hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Residents may pursue training in general, clinical or specialty pharmacy practice and are typically required to complete research projects. Fellowships provide pharmacists with more specialized training in a particular field, such as biomedical research, community pharmacy practice, or geriatrics pharmacology.

Pharmacist Career Summary


Graduates of Pharm.D. programs must pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination administered by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) in order to demonstrate the skills necessary to safely distribute medicine (www.nabp.net). Most states also require the NABP's Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination on federal and state laws. Other licensing requirements might include a criminal background screening and a certain amount of clinical experience.

Career Options

Once licensed, individuals may go on to serve as pharmacists in community, government or consulting pharmacies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most pharmacists work in retail locations as salaried employees (www.bls.gov). They may also work in private and public healthcare facilities or deliver hospice care.

Outlook and Salary Information

Pharmacists are expected to see an employment increase of 3% from 2014 to 2024, according to the BLS. Job growth may be due to the growing middle-aged and elderly populations and advances in new drug treatments. As patient care becomes a greater aspect of the occupation, the BLS predicted that the healthcare industry would increase the demand for pharmacists to monitor patient medication. In May 2015, the BLS reported that pharmacists earned a median annual wage of $121,500.

The become a pharmacist, you need an undergraduate degree and a Doctor of Pharmacy, along with a license from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

Thank you so much for you answer! This really helped me understand the steps more, especially because I'm deciding between pursuing biomedical research and a pharmacist's degree. Katia D.

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rohit’s Answer

1.Graduate from high school. Alternatively, you can pass the General Education Development (GED) exam. While in high school, pay special attention to science courses like biology, chemistry, and physiology. How you perform in these types of classes early on will help you determine whether a career in medicine is right for you.

2.Get a bachelor's degree. You will need to have a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree from a four-year institution to apply to pharmacy school. It is required that you complete at least two years of pre-pharmacy coursework during this time, including anatomy, biology, calculus, chemistry, physics, and sociology
Find a school that offers a pre-pharmacy program, as not all schools do
If you are currently an undergraduate student, talk to your counselor and check with the pharmacy schools you plan on applying to determine the specific course requirements.
Performing well in science courses like biology, physiology, and chemistry in college will help you when it comes to applying to pharmacy schools.

3.Take the PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test). This test was created and designed to be used in the admissions process for pharmacy schools. It also measures both overall academic ability and scientific knowledge.
Prepare for the test by studying the PCAT handbook/guidelines, and consider taking a PCAT preparatory class or hiring a private tutor to help you study.
Not all pharmacy schools require that you take the PCAT. Check with the various schools you plan to apply to and determine the admission requirements

4.Obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from an accredited pharmacy school. These programs typically take four years to complete. While in pharmacy school, you will study subjects like pharmacology and medical ethics in a classroom setting, and work in hospitals and pharmacies under the supervision of licensed professionals.

5.Get licensed. It is required to have a license to practice pharmacy . Check with your state to determine how often pharmacy licenses must be renewed, and be sure to keep your license current.

6.Find a job. Pharmacists can work in various settings, including hospitals, drug stores, grocery stores, government agencies, public health care agencies, and schools. Choose an environment that you are comfortable with, and check for job openings in your area.
Pharmacists usually work 40 hour weeks, and spend much of their day on their feet. Pharmacists who work in hospitals may need to work odd hours.
Besides their knowledge about prescription medicine, pharmacists must also have strong communication skills, as the job entails dealing with customers/patients daily, some of whom may be sick or injured.
Pharmacists should also have strong managerial skills, as many of them manage retail pharmacies, conducting inventory and overseeing staff.

Thank you so much for your answer! I now have a better understanding of what I should focus on, especially in high school. Katia D.

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