Have you ever wanted to become a pharmacist? Some career fields seem to have more opportunities than others these days. Right now, jobs in health care are in high demand, especially in the field of pharmacy. While other fields such as the financial sector might provide a higher income, there is also a struggle with job security, especially in this lagging economy. If one desires a secure and well-paying career, a smart move would be to become a pharmacist.
Become a Pharmacist and Wear Many Hats
Many people are not clear what a pharmacist does or even how to become a pharmacist. The duties of a pharmacist are many. A pharmacist counts pills and dispenses medication. He also labels bottles and answers questions. He even keeps track of patient records and drug interactions. And, of course, he is always there to answer any patient’s questions about their prescribed medication.
For those aspiring to become a pharmacist, it’s important to get an accurate and complete picture of what a pharmacist does all day. He studies drugs and pills, and has an in-depth knowledge of their effect on the human body, how to dispense them, what they treat, and how they are prescribed. And, this understanding allows him or her to take care of a patient’s prescription needs.
Required skills of those seeking to become a pharmacist include a strong knowledge of science, good interpersonal skills, and a desire to help others. They also must be conscientious and have close attention to detail, since the decisions they make affect human lives.
How to Become a Pharmacist
To become a pharmacist, a person must do than just studying under another pharmacist for a specified amount of time. They have to go to school for 7 years. Any student of pharmaceuticals must undergo 4 different steps to obtain their licensing.
- He or she must pass the PCAT, a college admissions test for pharmaceuticals. Then, students in the United States must attend 2 years of college, and students in the United Kingdom must go through the A-Levels. The required courses of study include: math, physics, biology, and of course, chemistry. There are also classes in social studies and humanities a pharmaceutical student can elect to take.
- Next, the student will enter the pharmacy school at their university. This is where they will take more in-depth classes on the specific subject of pharmacy. Some of the obligatory courses here are pharmacology, medication dispensing, and professional ethics, as well as hands-on experience in the practicing of pharmacy.
- After graduating from the pharmacy school, there is a mandatory internship that last anywhere from 1 to 2 years before you can become a pharmacist. They are also assigned specific projects to complete at the end of their internship or residency.
- Lastly, the qualifying exam. For example, the Multi-State Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam to become licensed in their state.
These are the sum of the steps to become a pharmacist.
For more information on how to become a pharmacist, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook. When you’re ready to begin your journey to become a pharmacist, request information from one of the leading pharmacy schools listed on our website.
- Source: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Pharmacists.htm
- Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific curriculum, and employment opportunities are not guaranteed.