How Much Education Does A Pharmacist Need?-Pharmacy is really one broad profession as you can either work behind your local glass or work in a hospital prescribing medication for patients but for whichever path you will be taking as a pharmacist, you are certainly going to enjoy the profession as you would also earn high too.
Becoming a pharmacist is a great part to take but you should know that it will include many years of schooling so before you decide to become a pharmacist, it is important that you plan well and understand the requirements that are necessary for you to become a pharmacist.
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In this article, we are going to discuss how you could become a pharmacist and also the number of years you would spend in school to become a pharmacist.
Who Is A Pharmacist?
A pharmacist is a healthcare professional who specializes in storing, preserving and providing medicine to patients. They can guide you on how to use medications and also give you insight on the possible effect of using a particular drug. They are medical experts that help individuals to get the best out of their medication.
Their job doesn’t stop there as they also assist in carrying out research and testing of new drugs.
What Does A Pharmacist Do?
The job of a pharmacist is broad as they are one of the most important healthcare professional. We are going to look at some of the duties of a pharmacist as this information will help you understand what you will be doing when you eventually become a pharmacist.
Some of the duties are:
- A pharmacist advises patients on the use of prescription
- A pharmacist administers vaccination
- A pharmacist prepares and dispenses medications based on the order of a physician
- A pharmacist advises patients on general health issues like exercise, diet, stress management etc.
- A pharmacist informs clients on product they may need like medical equipment.
Education Requirements To Become A Pharmacist
In this section of the article, we will show you how much education you will need to become a pharmacist and also practice it. They are:
- Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
Some countries have mapped out courses through which students can get degree to become pharmacist. You can run an undergraduate program in pharmacy or in other related fields.
The bachelor’s degree is the first educational requirement you will need in order to become a pharmacist and it doesn’t mean that after getting your bachelor’s degree, you are certified to practice pharmacy as you will have to go through some other steps.
- Complete a pharmacy school
This will be after you have gotten your undergraduate degree and completing this school could be around 4 to 6 years and the school must be accredited. When you must have completed the program, you will earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm.D.).
This degree is more detailed than the undergraduate degree and you will learn the science of drugs and medications. The degree covers subjects like adsorption rates of drugs, medical chemistry, how drugs work in the body, prescription management, biopharmaceuticals etc.
It doesn’t stop there as students with this degree will receive license and certification to operate as a pharmacist in different pharmaceutical specialization.
- Undertake internship program
After completing the Pharm.D. Degree, you can decide to go through additional training by enrolling in an internship program. You will have to look for an internship program that suits your area of specialization so that you can get full experience on how to become a pharmacist.
- Obtain license to operate as a pharmacist
After getting all the educational requirements to become a pharmacist, you will have to obtain a license to be able to practice it. With this license, you can start working as a pharmacist and it will require you to pass a licensure examination. With this license, you will be seen as a qualified and certified pharmacist and can also own your own pharmacy.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How long does it take to earn a Pharm.D. degree?
Like we mentioned earlier that completion of the program could take about 4 to 6 years as you must have gotten an undergraduate degree in pharmacy or any related field of study.
- What skills are needed to become a pharmacist?
To become a pharmacist, you will be expected to develop some skills like accuracy which will enable you to be accurate in dispensing medication as this is important.
You are also expected to have interpersonal skills as it will help you relate with doctors, other healthcare professionals and also patients. You will need to be able to communicate with the physicians and also your patients as it will help you understand your patients better in order to see how you can help them.
- Are there any accelerated Doctor of Pharmacy degree program?
There are schools that offer Pharm.D. Degree that last for three-years and this is also for those that have completed an undergraduate program in pharmacy and have the knowledge about pharmacy. Some other school offer a four or five-years program for Pharm.D. Degree.
- What are the career paths to choose in pharmacy?
Before considering your career as a pharmacist, there are roles that you might consider as this will help to know how much education you will need. Just like some profession, pharmacy has its own specialization and job roles. They are:
Pharmacy Assistant: they are charged with the responsibility of keeping stock of merchandise and supplies, tracking medication deliveries and also working cash registers.
Pharmacy Technician: these people are responsible for drugs prescription as they collect patient information for refills, measure the appropriate amount of prescription, track inventories, package and label prescriptions etc.
Pharmacist: these people are the main people in the pharmacy profession as they have a lot to do with the prescription of medication. What they do is determined by if they are working at a retail pharmacy or hospital. They administer drugs; educate patients in how to take medications and the effect of the medication on the body. They also conduct health and wellness treatment.
Pharmacy is a wonderful profession and they are in demand in many countries of the world. From all we have discussed, you must have seen that you need to be grounded in your field as a pharmacist as it will help you relate well with doctors, other healthcare professionals and even your patient.
If you have gotten your Pharm.D. Degree, then you will have to take a certified examination to get license to work as a pharmacist. You can decide to work in a clinic, hospital or even run your own pharmaceutical store.
If you are considering going into pharmacy, the best time to do so is now so you have to apply to a pharmacy school today and get your degree to become a qualified pharmacist.