Becoming a pharmacist is not as simple as attending pharmacy school then beginning a job search. Just as with most other careers in the medical field, there are additional requirements to fulfill in order to practice. Here, you will discover what to expect on your path to a career in pharmacy.
Advanced eClinical Training has the clinical education you need to prepare you for pharmacy school. Learn more about how our self-paced, online pre-pharmacy programs can set you apart from other applicants today.
Mapping Out Your Pre-Pharmacy Path
Pharmacists are highly educated, analytical, and organized individuals. If you are considering this profession, you will likely want to plan ahead to make your journey as smooth as possible. The following can help you prepare for your pharmacy school experience:
- Personal qualities and skills – Before starting your pharmacy journey, you need to consider the qualities and skills required to excel in this field. Computer skills are essential, along with strong communication and organizational skills. As a pharmacist, you are responsible for the safety of your patients. You must dispense medications correctly, pay close attention to details, and prevent patients from receiving prescriptions that may interact negatively with their other medications. Since this profession requires extended education and training, you will want to learn as much as you can about careers in pharmacy to ensure this is the right fit for you before making the commitment.
- Bachelor’s degree (or at least two years of undergraduate study) – Not all pharmacy schools require a bachelor’s degree, so it is recommended that you check the requirements for your desired school. Keep in mind that you may receive preference in pharmacy school if you do obtain a bachelor’s degree. Your coursework should focus on sciences such as biology, biochemistry, physics, or environmental science. Take advantage of pre-pharmacy programs if they are available, or choose pharmacy courses as your electives.
- Pharmacy College Admissions Test PCAT) – You will need to pass this exam before you apply to pharmacy school.
- Doctor of Pharmacy degree – A PharmD program will take two to four years to complete, depending on if your program includes an internship. If you attend a school without an internship program, you will need to secure internship experience on your own.
Once you have completed your pharmacy school education, there are still a few legs left on your journey to becoming a practicing pharmacist.
What Happens After Pharmacy School?
Although you have earned your Doctor of Pharmacy degree, you are not quite ready to start sending out your resume. These next few steps will have you well on your way to achieving your dream pharmacy career:
- State licensure – To qualify for a pharmacist license in your state, you must complete an internship and pass two exams. The North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam tests your knowledge of prescription medication and pharmacy skills, while the Multi-State Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam verifies your understanding of your state’s pharmacy law.
- Specialized licensing, if applicable – To provide vaccinations, you need to complete the Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery program offered by the American Pharmacists Association.
- Training – You can obtain the required pharmacist training on the job or through a one- to two-year residency program.
After college courses, exams, licensing, and training are completed and you have been offered your first official pharmacist position, you will need to continue your education with professional development throughout your career. While this may be a requirement to maintain your license, it is also extremely valuable for staying current in the field. As the world of pharmacy changes, your ability to learn and adapt will give you an edge that will ensure your position is indispensable for the length of your career.
Advanced eClinical Training
For pre-pharmacy programs that will start your pharmacy career on the right foot, you can count on Advanced eClinical Training. Our online Pharmacy Technician Certification (CPhT) course will provide you with valuable tools and skills to set you up for success as a future pharmacist. For one-on-one mentoring, we offer a Pre-Pharmacy Mentorship Program with our expert practicing PharmD advisor. Enroll today to get started and be one step closer to reaching your dream of being a pharmacist.