In order to become a senior care pharmacist, a candidate must first obtain the training and licensure needed to work as a pharmacist. This training is typically augmented with internships and supplemental work in the field of senior care during the course of academic study. In some cases, additional time may be spent in post-graduate training programs.
A senior care pharmacist is, above all, a pharmacist, and must be trained as such. The specific coursework and training needed to become a senior care pharmacist varies from nation to nation. For many years, the standard training process required a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy, and this training program is still used in some countries.
The recent trend has been toward more advanced training for pharmacists. The United States now trains pharmacists as Doctors of Pharmacy (Pharm. D. or D. Pharm.). This training is intended to create medication specialists, who consult with other medical doctors and provide informed opinions on the use of drugs. This advanced degree is necessary for anyone wishing to become a senior care pharmacist in the United States.
Admission to programs of study in pharmacy is quite competitive. A student hoping to become a senior care pharmacist will need to obtain a solid grounding, at the university level, in math and science. Consultation with admissions officers in a doctor of pharmacy program can allow a student to plan their courses appropriately.
A standard doctor of pharmacy program includes internships, during which students work in specific clinical environments. A student looking to become a senior care pharmacist should use these internships to acquire the specific skills needed to work with seniors. Work in hospitals, nursing homes, or agencies that provide medical support for the elderly can provide this type of on-the-job experience.
Pharmacists in developed nations must generally undergo an examination after their formal academic training is complete. The specific examinations vary from nation to nation, but anyone who wishes to become a senior care pharmacist should expect to take a comprehensive exam. These examinations are meant to guarantee that pharmacists have the necessary skills and knowledge to safely dispense medicine for human use.
There is great demand for pharmacists in the labor pool, and a qualified candidate may well be able to find work in senior care without any additional training. In some cases, though, a candidate hoping to become a senior care pharmacist may pursue additional advanced training. Programs exist to provide further specialized education in various branches of pharmacy practice, including the medical care of the elderly.