How To Learn About Becoming a Pharmacist

Maybe you have been thinking about becoming a pharmacist, but do not know exactly what to do in order to pursue the choice.  The choice to become a pharmacist is a good one for many reasons.  The starting salary is anywhere between $75,000 and up.  The work schedule is flexible.  A pharmacist can work eight hours a day or longer hours and less days a week.  The course is not quick but if you go in pharmacy after high school you should be done and working in your early to mid twenties.

The first thing you should do if you are interested in learning to become a pharmacist is talk to some pharmacists in your neighborhood.  You can then contact the admissions office of some schools that offer pharmacy training and find about what you will need to do to be accepted.  Things like SAT scores and grade point averages.  You could also contact the American Pharmacists Association to find out more information and specifics.

Your best place to start is really while you are still in high school, take as many math and science courses as possible, advance placement type courses if you can.  Try to get some experience working in a pharmacy or volunteering at a hospital or nursing home.  You will learn skills that will help you later on and looks good on college and pharmacy school applications.

Pharmacy school involves getting a bachelors degree first and taking certain prerequisite courses like chemistry, physics, biology, calculus, English, economics, and psychology.  Most pharmacy schools also want you to take the PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test).  This is a four and one half hour test with multiple-choice questions that tests general academic abilities.  After that, it still takes another three to four years of school to earn your doctorate of pharmacy and become a pharmacist.

When you finish pharmacy school there is a period of internship before you are eligible for a pharmacist license.  After successfully completing this there are tests that you might have to also take in order to get your license.  These are the NAPLEX (North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination) and the MPJE (Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination.  One is about pharmacy scenarios and the other is about federal and state specific laws.  After that, you have to pass the state board test for the state you live in.

Pursuing a career in pharmacy is a large undertaking, but there are also great pay offs, besides the salary and flexible work hours. There are many places you can work, hospitals, nursing homes or retail stores.  If you are interested in business also you might want to set a goal to open your own pharmacy some day.   You will know that you are helping people each and every day that you go to work and do your job.


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