Become a Pharmacist

Pharmacy Sign

If you’re looking for a lucrative career that really helps people and is mentally stimulating, you might want to consider a career as a pharmacist. But what exactly does a pharmacist do? Yes, they dispense medication at the pharmacy, but their job entails a lot more than just that.

 

Pharmacists are responsible for having an in-depth knowledge of medical conditions and the various drugs used to treat them. They must know all about these drugs and how they react and interact with other drugs and health conditions. They must administer the proper doses to patients and educate them on how to take the drugs and any other steps needed.

 

So a pharmacist is a person with much responsibility for the health of patients. They must be highly educated and aware of new medical trends and drugs on the market, and be able to explain them articulately to patients. It is a highly respected profession, as these people are directly responsible for the health of so many patients. If this is a career that interests you, read on to learn more about how to become a pharmacist.

 

Education

 

To become a pharmacist, you must graduate from high school and hold an undergraduate degree, preferably in a science like chemistry or biology. It’s highly recommended to complete pre-pharmacy coursework while you are in undergraduate school. This coursework includes anatomy, calculus, physics, sociology and other sciences. This will prepare you for pharmacy school. Try to achieve high grades in these classes because they will be closely examined when you apply for pharmacy school.

 

After you graduate, it’s time to take the PCAT, or Pharmacy College Admissions Test. This test measures both your scientific knowledge related to pharmacy work, and your overall academic ability. Pharmacy schools want students who are both very intelligent, and hard workers. It’s a major commitment to study to become a pharmacist and it’s important to show that you are in this for the long haul.

 

You can prepare for the PCAT by using study manuals or by taking a preparation class. Private tutors are another way you can study for this test. Whatever your best method is, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to prepare. You don’t want to start studying a month or two before the test! Take several practice tests (spaced apart) to get a feeling for your current score and see the areas where you can improve. Be sure to check the requirements for the schools you want to apply to. Not all pharmacy schools require the PCAT, although most do. Since you’ll probably be applying for many schools, having the PCAT under your belt is a wise idea.

 

Doctor of Pharmacy

 

Once you’ve taken the PCAT and applied and been accepted into pharmacy school, it’s time to buckle down and earn that degree. Pharmacy school takes four years to complete, and they will be some of the most difficult educational years of your life. Remember, pharmacists are responsible for people’s health and lives! So it is a major commitment to gain the skills to have this responsibility. In pharmacy school, you will learn everything you need for this career such as medical ethics and pharmacology. You will practice in a variety of settings before you can earn your license.

 

Get your license

 

So you’ve gone to school, earned that Doctor of Pharmacy degree and are all set to begin working as a pharmacist. Just one step left to complete! You must get licensed to practice pharmacy legally. In the United States, you must pass the NAPLEX test to get a license. And most states will also require the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam as well. A few states don’t require this exam, so check all of the requirements of the state you wish to practice in. Also make sure to check how often you must get your license renewed.

 

Find work

 

Now you’re all set to go find a job as a pharmacist! Think about which environment you would prefer to work in: hospital, grocery store pharmacy, government or health care agency. Check for job openings in your area and use any connections you might have gained in school to find a job. Pharmacists usually work 40-hours per week, but if you work in a hospital these hours might be at odd times of the day and night. A pharmacist is also on their feet for most of the day, making it a highly active job.

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