Pharmacist Schooling Requirements
Pharmacists are health professionals who follow instructions from physicians regarding the amount and type of medication to distribute. Research licensing requirements and career opportunities in order to choose an appropriate pharmacy program.
How to Choose a Pharmacy Program
Students interested in pursuing a career in pharmacy must earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) from a school accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).
Before beginning professional practice, pharmacists must satisfy various licensing requirements. In addition to holding a PharmD., candidates in most states must pass two tests administered by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. The North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam tests pharmacy skills, and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam tests knowledge of pharmacy law. Therefore, students may want to ask programs about their graduates' success rate on these exams to find out which programs are providing the best preparation for licensure.
Applicants must also complete a minimum number of clinical experience hours before receiving their license. Prospective students may want to seek programs that provide clinical experience in a variety of settings, such as hospitals and community pharmacies, so that they will be more informed about employment opportunities upon graduation.
Students who aspire to own and manage their own stores may want to consider schools that offer dual-degree programs that allow students to earn a Master of Business Administration alongside their Pharm.D.
Pharmacy School Program Overview
Pharm.D. programs include courses in pharmacology, biochemistry and immunology. Prospective pharmacists spend four years studying clinical practice, ethics and pharmaceutical law. Some complete pharmacy residency programs to gain specialty training in various areas of pharmaceutical science, such as psychiatric pharmacy, geriatric pharmacy or nuclear pharmacy.
Applicants to Pharm.D. programs need to fulfill course prerequisites and take the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT). Most programs require 60-90 credits of prerequisite coursework covering chemistry, biology, composition, math and physics. Students that hold bachelor's degrees in a closely related major may be exempt from some course requirements.
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