How Much Education Do You Need To Become a Pharmacist?
In the health care industry, demand for pharmacists is in the top 3 in most lists, one of the reasons is the increase of new drugs that goes into the market so if you have a real interest in science and math, this may be the career for you.
What education and how much education do you need to become one?
First off, you’ll need to take a 2-year undergraduate course before you’ll be qualified to go to an accredited pharmacy school. Specific requirements will be dependent on the school but for the purpose of this article, coursework will generally include subjects in physics, chemistry, physiology and anatomy. Some undergraduate courses will also include communication classes. Some schools will require students to complete a pre-specified number of credits in a variety of subjects mentioned earlier. After concluding an undergraduate course, professional pharmacy program applicants will have to pass the pharmacy college admissions test as a basis to prove you are qualified to enter pharmacy school. The exam will assess various areas of competencies in subjects such as verbal, reading, math, biology and chemistry.
Next step would be to go through a doctor of pharmacy program which will take around four years to complete. Academic course will cover various areas in the pharmacy practice such as pharmacy law and ethics, pharmaceuticals, toxicology and other related courses. As part of an accredited school course, students will work as on the job trainees under a licensed pharmacist to gain hands on experience. This part of the professional curriculum is what sets apart accredited courses from online courses you’ll often see online. While there a lot of advantages of online courses, for this particular profession, those pros are outweighed by the cons. In fact, there are accredited online pharmacy courses available but are available for those are already practicing as a licensed pharmacist.
After completing a doctor of pharmacy course the subsequent step would be to take the licensure exam. Currently, the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam is the only nationally recognized licensure exam. Pharmacists will also need to take another exam about state specific pharmacy laws. Depending on what the state pharmacy board approves of, it’ll be either the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam or a related board approved exam.
Continuing Education for Pharmacists
As part of maintaining their licenses, pharmacists need to partake in continuing education courses. The number of hours will vary, depending on the state board. They can also use this to take additional training to go into a more specialized field like nuclear pharmacy or research.