Definition of Pharmacist?
A pharmacist is a medical professional trained to prepare and dispense drugs as well as provide patients with information and instructions about the drugs. Pharmacists also answer patient questions and oversee patient prescriptions to make sure the drugs are safe there are no potential interactions.
Educational Requirements to Become a Pharmacist
The first toward becoming a pharmacist is admission to pharmacy school. Specific admission requirements can vary between pharmacy schools but typically this requires
• completing a two-three year pre-pharmacy curriculum consisting of chemistry, biology, physics, calculus, and other general education classes in English, humanities and social sciences
• taking the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT)
• maintaining a minimum GPA
• letters of recommendation
Once admitted, pharmacy school usually takes 4 years to complete but there are some 3 year programs that lead to the Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Coursework includes classes in chemistry, biology, pharmacology, and business.
After pharmacy school students must pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam and usually the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE). Some states require additional testing for licensure.
Skills Necessary to Become a Pharmacist
Pharmacy is a medical field so it is important for students to have an aptitude for science and medicine. It is also a field that requires communication and organizational skills. Pharmacists must be conscientious and detail oriented and they should also be able to stand on their feet for long periods of time and willing to work long hours.
Job and Career Outlook
Job outlook for pharmacists is excellent. Pharmacists work in private, retail, hospital, and clinic pharmacies. Some pharmacists own their own businesses while others work for wholesalers, internet pharmacies or hold government, quality control or research positions. There are almost 3300 pharmacists in the United States with an average income of $119,280 per year. Advancement comes with experience and promotions to supervisory positions at the local and regional levels.