How do You Become a Pharmacist?

If you are thinking about becoming a Pharmacist, it is important to map out the path you will take to turn your dream job into your actual occupation.

Pharmacists must possess a special set of skills that are mainly attained throughout the course of earning various degrees. While many of the skills can be learned, it takes a person with strong attention to detail and interpersonal skills to succeed in this field. If you possess these skills and you are willing to spend several years in college and beyond, here are the steps that you must take.

Enroll in a Bachelor’s Degree Program

It is important to take your education seriously from the moment that you are enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree program. Your performance as an undergraduate student is what will ultimately affect your mission to get acceptance into a pharmacy school. When you are choosing a 4-year degree program, it is important that you choose an accredited institution and the right curriculum.

Most college admissions experts recommend that you choose a 4-year university that has a specialized pre-pharmacy program. If you take a pre-pharmacy program, you will take all of the classes that pharmacy schools require. For students who are already enrolled, it is important to meet with a counselor to discuss your goals and which schools you want to go to later. This will help you take the right courses in biology, physics, sociology, calculus and chemistry. Be sure to focus on the science courses because admissions councils put a lot of focus on these.

Take Your Admissions Test

One of the requirements to get into pharmacy school is to earn an acceptable score on a college admissions exam. For prospective pharmacy students, there is a special admissions test called the Pharmacy College Admission Test or PCAT. The PCAT measures a students academic ability and their knowledge of science-related topics. The purpose is to assess whether or not an undergraduate student has the knowledge and aptitude to succeed while they are studying pharmacy school curriculum. While most pharmacy schools require a PSAT, not all do.

Be sure to find out what the score requirements are and prepare before registering for your exam. It is important to check the registration cycles so that you apply in time to take your test before the school’s application deadline. If you miss the deadline, you could postpone your mission to go to post-secondary school.

Enter Pharmacy School to Earn Your Pharm.D. Degree

Not only do you need to earn your Bachelor’s degree, you also have to earn a Pharm.D. degree to become a pharmacist. In most cases, you will be in pharmacy school for 4 years to be granted this degree if you are enrolled in school full time. Some schools have an accelerated structure that can be completed in 3 years. During your program, you will complete instruction and hands-on courses in hospitals.

Apply for Your State License

You need both a national license and a state license to practice as a pharmacist. You will start by taking the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination. After passing this, you should check to see if a Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam is required in your state. Passing the MPJE shows that you are up to date with the latest laws that apply to pharmacy.

Once you hold your Pharm.D. degree and your license you will be ready to find a job. If you are starting from scratch, be prepared to spend 8 to 9 years earning your degrees and your licensure. If you are really committed to becoming a pharmacist, no amount of time should deter you.

Related article: What is a Pharmaceutical Researcher?