Pharmacy School Degrees: Pharmacy and Pharmacology

Pharmacy school students who wish to work in the pharmaceuticals industry should understand that there is a major difference between pharmacy and pharmacology; namely, the pharmacy. Pharmacy degrees are for pharmacists and pharmacology degrees are for researchers. The education requirements for these two professions are different and the job descriptions are quite different as well.

Earning a Pharmacy Degree

A pharmacy degree will allow students to work in, own, or manage a community pharmacy or a pharmacy that operates in a hospital or other health care setting. Pharmacy is a health profession that requires a doctorate degree from an accredited pharmacy school (known as a PharmD degree) and licensing by federal and state regulatory agencies that focus on this specific health discipline.

Pharmacists help patients get better by guiding them and advising them in taking medication that is prescribed by a doctor. They also play an active role in public health care and disease control among the general population. Pharmacists often coordinate community events, such as diabetes testing, flu shots, and high blood pressure testing services. They can consult directly with patients and dispense medications that are necessary for the patient’s recovery or on-going health condition management programs.

Pharmacy schools are primarily regulated by a separate governing body in the United States, known as the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). The AACP is an important player in the advancement and innovation of the pharmacy school industry and the accreditation process for schools in the United States. Agencies such as the AACP work directly with pharmacy schools and PharmD graduates to improve the health of patients and the general population in the country and the communities surrounding individual pharmacies.

Earning a Pharmacology Degree

A pharmacology degree allows pharmacy students to work in major research fields and the improvement and innovation of prescription medications and over the counter drugs. Pharmacology education is not governed by the AACP directly, although many pharmacy schools offer degrees in a number of pharmacology disciplines. Pharmacology schools teach students how to understand the relationship between medications and the human body or other living systems. While pharmacy students learn about pharmacology, they do not earn a degree in pharmacology.

A pharmacologist has deep understanding of how disease affects the body and how medication fights the disease, just like a licensed pharmacist. A pharmacologist, however, is specifically trained to carry out research functions in order to influence improvements in the medication that are dispensed by pharmacists. Pharmacology classes at a pharmacy school will discuss the foundations of chemical compounds and their effect on living things at great lengths. Pharmacology classes prepare students for investigating and researching the potential improvements in contemporary medications and the skills necessary to invent new compounds that influence living systems in a positive manner.