What Type of Degree Programs Are Required for a Pharmacist?

To become pharmacists, individuals need to spend at least six years after high school in academic training to earn their Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm.D.). People who want to become pharmacists must earn a Pharm.D. from an accredited college of pharmacy, pass several exams and earn a license in order to work in all states. Schools offering Pharmacy Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Doctor of Pharmacy Degree Program

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the only degree program required for a pharmacist is the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree, (www.bls.gov). Pharm.D. programs are offered by colleges of pharmacy accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. Students should have previous coursework in chemistry, anatomy, and biology. The Pharmacy College Admissions Test ensures that future pharmacists meet entry requirements for a Doctor of Pharmacy degree program, reports the BLS.

Important Facts About This Degree

Online Availability Pharmacy degree programs available online; On-site clinical experience may be required
Prerequisites Requirements range from two years of postsecondary education to a bachelor's degree
Continuing Education May be required to maintain or renew license
Specializations Pediatrics, geriatrics, infectious diseases, pharmacoeconomics, psychopharmacy

Curriculum of a Pharmacy Degree

The Doctor of Pharmacy degree program teaches students about prescription drug therapy, patient care and drug information. Students also learn how to communicate and counsel patients about their medication so they can avoid dangerous drug interactions. Courses in the Pharm.D. degree program may include:

  • Counseling patients
  • Pharmacy law and ethics
  • Pharmacotherapy

Pharmacist License Requirement

Once pharmacists receive their Doctor of Pharmacy degree, they must pass several tests and obtain a license. Pharmacists need to be licensed through the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX) as well as the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE) or an equivalent state-specific test. An aspiring pharmacist should research the state in which she or he wishes to begin a career because each state may have different requirements and additional exams.

Pharmacist Career Duties

Pharmacists dispense prescriptions to patients based on a doctor's order. They can answer any questions patients may have about over-the-counter drugs and prescription medications, such as dosage quantities and possible side effects. Many work in retail drug stores, hospitals and community clinics. Most pharmacists work 40 hours a week and spend most of their day on their feet.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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