What Is Required to Obtain a Pharmacist License?

In order to become a licensed pharmacist, you must hold a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from a college accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). You'll also need to pass The North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX) in order to practice in every state. Each state may have different individual requirements for obtaining a pharmacist license. Schools offering Pharmacy Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Graduate from an Accredited College of Pharmacy Program

Aspiring pharmacists should attend a college with a pharmacy degree program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). In order to enroll in a pharmacy degree program, you'll need to take the Pharmacy College Admissions Test. Once you pass the test and are admitted into the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program, you'll learn about the field through coursework in math, physics, biology, drug therapy, patient care, medication distribution and chemistry.

In a Pharm.D. program, you can also gain hands-on practice in pharmacy concepts through class lectures and laboratory work. You'll spend some of your time working in pharmacy environments under the supervision of an experienced and licensed pharmacist. Upon successful completion of the program, you can take the licensure exam, which is required to practice as a pharmacist in all states.

Important Facts About This Career

Job Outlook (2012-2022) 14%
Median Salary (2014) $120,950
Key Skills Analytical skills, managerial skills, detail oriented, computer skills, communication skills
Similar Occupations Biochemist, biophysicist, pharmacy technician, physician, medical scientist

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Take the Licensure Exam

The North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX) tests your knowledge and skills in various pharmacy concepts. The test is formatted as a computer-adaptive exam that takes about four hours to complete. The exam is multiple-choice and the questions are scenario-based, in which patient profiles are attached to questions and students must examine the information provided to choose the correct answer.

All states require pharmacists to take the NAPLEX test. Also, 48 jurisdictions require pharmacists to take the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE), which is a drug law examination. The NAPLEX and MPJE exams are administered by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

Work as a Licensed Pharmacist

Licensed pharmacists distribute prescription medication to patients and counsel them on proper dosages, possible side effects, and other health concerns. Pharmacists work in clinics, hospitals, retail drug stores, neighborhood health organizations and metal health facilities.

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