How can I Become a Pharmacist?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
A pharmacist must attend pharmacy school and pass a licensing exam.
A pharmacist must attend pharmacy school and pass a licensing exam.

Pharmacists are medical professionals who specialize in medications. Work as a pharmacist can be quite varied, ranging from dispensing prescriptions in a community drug store to performing research for a pharmaceutical company. As is the case with many medical professions, the requirements for becoming a pharmacist are quite extensive, to ensure that pharmacists are well qualified for their jobs.

Pharmacists must be able to carefully fill a large number of prescriptions on a daily basis.
Pharmacists must be able to carefully fill a large number of prescriptions on a daily basis.

If you are interested in a career in pharmacy, you may want to think about whether it is a job that you will enjoy. As a pharmacist, you will be able to dispense drugs and educate patients about them. In addition, doctors and nurses may consult you about pharmaceutical products, as your extensive training can help them decide which drug is right for a patient, and whether a patient risks an adverse reaction with a particular drug. You will not, however, be able to prescribe medication. If you are not working with the public, you may be teaching pharmacy programs at medical schools, or performing research.

A retail pharmacist must have excellent customer service skills.
A retail pharmacist must have excellent customer service skills.

The first step in becoming a pharmacist is laying the groundwork. Pharmacists must be very skilled at math, chemistry, and physical sciences. Gaining a strong knowledge of these subject in high school is an excellent idea. After high school, try to attend a college which offers a strong range of science and math courses. A pre-pharmacy program is an ideal course of study, but you can also study chemistry or pre-med. With at least two years of undergraduate training, you can apply to pharmacy schools.

Pharmacists may work with veterinarians to prescribe medications to animals.
Pharmacists may work with veterinarians to prescribe medications to animals.

Pharmacy schools have an entrance examination for applicants to make sure that they are fully qualified. Most accept Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) scores. Once you enter pharmacy school, you will spend at least three years in classroom education and one year in a field internship where you will be able to practice your pharmacy skills. A graduated pharmacist receives a Doctor in Pharmacy degree, as the awarding of a Bachelor of Science degree to pharmaceutical students has become obsolete.

After a person is licensed, he can work in pharmacy jobs.
After a person is licensed, he can work in pharmacy jobs.

After graduation, you will have to sit for a licensing exam, much like doctors and lawyers do. This exam is typically held by the state in which you wish to practice. Individual licensing requirements vary from region to region, so make sure that you are familiar with the requirements in the area you wish to work. After you are licensed, you can seek pharmacy jobs, or you may choose to take advanced courses to become a researcher or educator in the field of pharmacy.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon336189

Look around in your area to see what pharmacy schools are available. You can check them out online.

Be aware that what you're about to embark on can take anywhere from four to eight years to complete, so don't go in half-heartedly.

Look at the pharmacy schools and see what course work they require to gain acceptance into the pharmacy school. Find these courses at a local school or community college if you want, but make sure that they'll be acceptable to the pharmacy school. These courses are known as "pre-pharmacy" courses. It usually takes up to two years to complete all of the necessary math, science and other subjects.

Take the PCAT, a test to determine your knowledge. Fill out your application(s) to pharmacy school and apply! Hopefully you've gotten in, and now will spend the next four years learning about medications and how to manage others and make decisions in a pharmacy setting.

anon322789

Do pharmacy techs need to be good at ict? I really don't get what they do.

anon146209

I'm a junior in high school and i have no idea what to do to become a pharmacist.

anon136129

i have little idea about chemistry, maths and physics, but want to become a pharmacist. Is that possible?

anon94749

I am a pharmacy technician and i want to become a pharmacist. I want to know whether i can take admission in the pharmacy school or not? Thanks.

anon80808

I am currently a registered pharmacy tech with the state of Virginia. Can I take courses online for a pharmacist.

anon71676

how can i become a pharmacist when i'm a junior in high school and have a baby?

cupcake17luv

i'm a junior in high school and i have no idea what to do next to become a pharmacist.

anon41290

Yes, Creighton University in Omaha, Ne offers an online PharmD.

anon3679

Can you take courses to become a pharmacist online?

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    • A pharmacist must attend pharmacy school and pass a licensing exam.
      By: mangostock
      A pharmacist must attend pharmacy school and pass a licensing exam.
    • Pharmacists must be able to carefully fill a large number of prescriptions on a daily basis.
      By: NorGal
      Pharmacists must be able to carefully fill a large number of prescriptions on a daily basis.
    • A retail pharmacist must have excellent customer service skills.
      By: Deklofenak
      A retail pharmacist must have excellent customer service skills.
    • Pharmacists may work with veterinarians to prescribe medications to animals.
      By: leungchopan
      Pharmacists may work with veterinarians to prescribe medications to animals.
    • After a person is licensed, he can work in pharmacy jobs.
      By: HconQ
      After a person is licensed, he can work in pharmacy jobs.
    • Pharmacists need to be familiar with possible side effects of medications to answer customer questions.
      By: Tyler Olson
      Pharmacists need to be familiar with possible side effects of medications to answer customer questions.
    • It takes around 6 years to complete all the necessary coursework to become a pharmacist.
      By: mangostock
      It takes around 6 years to complete all the necessary coursework to become a pharmacist.