Pharmacist Course and Class Overviews

Pharmacist courses are primarily offered through pre-pharmacy and Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) programs at 4-year colleges and universities. A student must complete a Pharm.D. program and earn state licensure to work as a pharmacist.

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Pharmacology Courses

The nuts and bolts of pharmacy training lie in a series of pharmacology courses that examine the impact of prescription drugs on different systems of the body. Students learn how pharmaceuticals affect the central nervous, cardiovascular and endocrine systems, as well as how drugs are used to treat diseases like cancer. Pharmacology courses are usually taken during the middle years of a 4-year Pharm.D. program.

Pharmacist Ethics Course

A course in pharmacist ethics teaches Pharm.D. students about laws and ethics governing the profession. Students learn about different agencies, such as the Federal Drug Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration and state pharmacy boards, that establish and enforce pharmacy law. They also learn to comply with standards set forth by these agencies. Students engage in extensive case studies and group work, in addition to discussing the ethical treatment of patients. Pharmacy ethics is usually taken at the end of a student's first year of study or the beginning of his or her second year.

Pharmacist and Healthcare Course

A pharmacist and healthcare class explores the role of pharmacists in the big picture of U.S. healthcare. It covers relationships between pharmacists and patients, particularly as they relate to insurance. Healthcare policies and government regulation also are discussed. A pharmacist and healthcare course is taken within the first two years of most Pharm.D. programs.

Pharmacist Internship Course

A pharmacist internship allows students to gain real-world experience. Most pharmacist doctorate programs require students to complete a pharmacy internship each summer; in addition, some programs devote the entire fourth year to experiential study. Interns undertake the workloads and responsibilities of full-time pharmacists to fully prepare themselves for the workforce.

Biological Statistics Course

The difference between an effective and dangerous dose of medication can be small. For this reason, it's important that aspiring pharmacists understand statistics and their relation to medicine. Biological statistics courses cover mathematical computations needed to serve patients correctly, as well as advanced techniques like variance analysis, hypothesis testing and regression. Many schools include a course in biological statistics in the first year of Pharm.D. study.

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