Becoming a pharmacist is no easy task and is surely not for everyone. Becoming a pharmacist takes five to six years of school and training and pharmacists must also undergo further education throughout their career as required by law and their employers. Once an aspiring pharmacist completes all of the required training they will achieve their PharmD.
Those who wish to become a pharmacist should start in high school if possible. Advanced placement classes in science and mathematics will help them prepare for college. Learning a foreign language can also be helpful, especially if they plan to work as a pharmacist in a culturally diverse area. Many high schools also have internship programs in which students can work in pharmacies and gain experience.
In order to become a pharmacist, a Pharm D (doctorate of pharmacy) is required. Depending on the route taken, it can take more than six years to obtain this degree. It is important to choose a school that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). It is also important for your chosen school to have updated facilities and equipment that you will use while getting your education. Another important aspect of pharmacy schools are prepharmacy advisers. They will help to guide you through your education as well as give you advice on
finding a job after you graduate.
Once you have some pharmacy schools in mind you will need to take the pharmacy college admissions test (PCAT). Not all pharmacy schools require prospective students to take this test (those entering early assurance programs do not have to take it), but almost ¾ of all pharmacy schools do require it. This test will assess a prospective students scientific knowledge and their general academic skills.
Once a student has completed a pharmacy degree they will be required to complete an internship before becoming a licensed pharmacist. It will take approximately 1500 hours to complete the internship, but this will vary by state. Some states will also require students to pass certain exams before they are able to become a pharmacist. Forty-four U.S. States require students to pass the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination to become a pharmacist and all states require students to pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination to become a pharmacist.
Pharmacy school is rich in science and mathematics, but students must take the required prerequisites as well such as English and Human Relations. Students will most likely have to complete the prerequisites before they take their core pharmacy classes. Some schools may require additional classes, but most follow a pretty standard curriculum.
Once the student has graduated, completed the internship and passed any required exams, they will be a full fledged pharmacist. All states will require pharmacists to renew their license every two years by taking thirty units of continuing education classes. Other than the required continuing education classes, pharmacists only need to do their job well to continue to be a working pharmacist.