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What classes do I have to take in college to become a Pharmacist ?

What are some goals I should have for myself if I want to be a pharmacist?
What are some good colleges I can attend in Oregon to become a Pharmacist?
What could be helpful to know when going into this career?

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Subject: Career question for you


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Parixit’s Answer

To become a pharmacist, you will need to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from an accredited pharmacy school. The specific classes you will need to take in college will depend on the pharmacy school you plan to attend, but typically, you will need to complete the following prerequisite courses:

General Biology
General Chemistry
Organic Chemistry
English Composition
Social/Behavioral Sciences
In addition to these prerequisite courses, some pharmacy schools may also require or recommend additional courses in subjects such as microbiology, anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, and/or genetics.

During school:

The classes you will take during your Pharm.D. education will depend on the pharmacy school you attend, but typically, you will take courses in the following areas:

Pharmaceutical Sciences: Courses in this area cover the chemical, physical, and biological properties of drugs, drug interactions, and drug metabolism.
Pharmacotherapy: Courses in this area cover the use of medications to treat diseases and conditions, including drug selection, dosing, administration, and monitoring.
Pharmacology: Courses in this area cover the effects of drugs on the body, including their mechanisms of action, side effects, and toxicity.
Pharmacy Practice: Courses in this area cover the role of pharmacists in patient care, including medication dispensing, patient counseling, and medication therapy management.
Pharmacy Law and Ethics: Courses in this area cover the legal and ethical considerations involved in the practice of pharmacy.
Patient Communication and Counseling: Courses in this area focus on developing effective communication skills with patients, including how to explain medications, answer questions, and provide counseling.
Clinical Rotations: These are hands-on experiences where you will work with licensed pharmacists in various settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and community pharmacies. Rotations provide practical experience in applying what you have learned in the classroom to real-life patient care situations.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Trevone
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Trevone,

Embarking on the journey to become a pharmacist involves meeting specific academic prerequisites and setting strategic goals. Here's a guide to the college courses you should prioritize, some objectives to aim for, and a couple of esteemed colleges in Oregon to consider.

Essential College Courses

General Chemistry: This foundational course for all pharmacy programs explores the core principles of chemistry, such as chemical reactions, stoichiometry, thermodynamics, and equilibrium.
Organic Chemistry: This class delves into the study of compounds containing carbon and their reactions, a key understanding for drug synthesis and pharmaceutical chemistry.
Physics: Comprehending the physical properties and interactions of drugs and drug delivery systems is made possible through physics.
Biology: To understand human anatomy, physiology, and the impact of drugs on living organisms, a solid grounding in biology is required.
Mathematics: Statistics and calculus courses are instrumental for analyzing research data and comprehending pharmacokinetics, the mathematical modeling of drug behavior.
Medical Terminology: Being conversant with medical terms aids in clear communication with healthcare professionals and in understanding medical literature.
Pharmaceutical Sciences: This area encompasses pharmacology (drug interaction with living organisms), pharmacognosy (study of natural drugs), and pharmaceutics (science of making medications).
Clinical Lab Practice: Practical experience in a lab setting equips you with invaluable skills for your future role as a pharmacist.
Ethics and Law: Grasping ethical issues and legal regulations in pharmacy practice is crucial for providing responsible patient care.
Communication Skills: Successful pharmacists need to communicate effectively with patients, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders.

Strategic Goals

Aim for a high GPA: With intense competition for pharmacy programs, strive for a GPA of 3.5 or above to stand out.
Acquire relevant work experience: Pursue internships or part-time work in pharmacies or healthcare settings to hone your skills and show your dedication to the profession.
Prepare for the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT): This test assesses your proficiency in areas vital for pharmacy school success, like chemistry, reading comprehension, quantitative reasoning, and writing. A high PCAT score can enhance your pharmacy program application.
Network with professionals: Establish connections with pharmacists, professors, and other professionals for advice, mentorship, or recommendation letters.
Stay abreast of industry trends: Keep up-to-date with the latest in drug research, technology, regulations, and patient care to show your passion for the field during interviews or applications.

Recommended Oregon Colleges

Oregon State University (OSU) College of Pharmacy: Situated in Corvallis, OSU provides a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). The program encourages hands-on learning at various practice sites across Oregon. OSU also has an early admission program for exceptional high school students through its BS/PharmD program.
University of Portland School of Pharmacy: Located in Portland, this school offers a PharmD program that nurtures well-rounded professionals capable of providing patient-centered care and promoting health equity. The program, accredited by ACPE, includes service learning experiences in underserved communities locally and globally. It also offers early admission through its 3+4 program partnerships with other institutions across the Pacific Northwest region.

Best of luck on your journey!

James Constantine.
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Chelsey’s Answer

I would echo all the info that Dr Modi provided in his response. I will add a resource list for all pharmacy schools in the country.
I would not limit yourself to schools in Oregon only. While it is usually beneficial to stay within your home state, you want to keep all reasonable options open so that you can complete your degree as soon as possible. Pharmacy School admittance is highly competitive.

Try to get a job working in pharmacy before you apply. It will help you know if pharmacy is for you or not. Be aware that there are many avenues within the pharmacy world so your first pharmacy gig will probably not be your last. You can always get specialized certifications to move into other areas.

Best of luck on your journey!!!