A clinical pharmacist works in a hospital, doctor’s office or clinic, rather than at a stand-alone pharmacy or a pharmacy that is part of retail store. In addition to filling prescriptions, clinical pharmacists are also involved in observing patients and monitoring their recovery. The starting point to become a clinical pharmacist is education. In addition to earning degrees and obtaining an education, clinical pharmacists must take some extra steps in getting hands-on training as part of the steps to become a clinical pharmacist.
To become a clinical pharmacist, you first have to earn your undergraduate degree. After earning an undergraduate degree, clinical pharmacist candidates then earn the Pharm.D. degree. Most undergraduate degrees should be somehow related to the pharmacy field, such as biology, chemistry, physics or mathematics majors. This degree must be from an accredited school of pharmacy in order for you to obtain your license and work as a pharmacist in the U.S.
Once you earn the Pharm.D. degree, you also have the option to earn some hands-on training. You can do this through a fellowship program or a residency program. These programs generally last one to two years. In addition to the training, these programs also tend to require that you complete a medical research project.
After completing your education and training requirements, to become a clinical pharmacist, you have to obtain your pharmacy license. Every state and territory of the U.S. requires a license to become a clinical pharmacist. In order to obtain the license, however, you must first pass several exams.
The two primary tests you have to take to become a clinical pharmacist are given by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). The first test is the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX), This test focuses on your pharmacy knowledge and skills. Most states, but not all, require you to pass a test about pharmacy law, which is the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE). Even if you are in a state that does not require you to take the MPJE exam, each of these states has different pharmacy law exams.
Some states have additional tests and requirements that you must meet. The best thing to do is to contact the medical licensing board for your state to see if there are any additional requirements that you must meet, for example, some states have a minimum age requirement for license applicants.