How Do I Become A Pharmacist?

PharmacistWhat do you need to do to become a pharmacist? Those who are looking to pursue that line of work need to spend years in college as well as spend time working in a variety of medical settings. Those who wish to become a pharmacist will also have to pass the PCAT exam.

How Long Does It Take To Finish A Pharmacy Degree?

Students who are looking to become pharmacists will graduate with what is called a PharmD, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is a doctorate degree that can take as few as six years and as long as eight years to complete. Typically, a student must have two years of undergraduate work completed as well as pass the PCAT before they are allowed to start on their PharmD degree.

How Much Real World Experience Is Necessary?

The average pharmacy student is going to have as many as 10 different rotations in different medical settings that will last for as long as six weeks. This means that a student could spend as many as 60 weeks working with licensed pharmacists, doctors and other medical professionals to get an idea of what they do and how to do the job right. Prospective students can contact the pharmacy program that they are interested in attending to determine how long they will have to spend in the field to get their degree.

Pharmacists Must Be Accurate at All Times

One of the most important traits that pharmacists must have is the ability to do their job correctly at all times. Giving a patient the wrong medicine or the wrong dosage of the correct medicine could cause a patient to become sick or possibly die. This could lead to a pharmacist losing his or her license and his or her ability to find work.

People Skills Are a Must

Pharmacists will work with a variety of people throughout the day. They will work with others in the pharmacy that they work in, patients who ask questions about their prescriptions and other doctors and pharmacists who may have questions about a prescription or a particular patient. It is important to have the patience to answer questions all day from patients as well as the diplomatic skills to know what information can be shared with others and what information must be kept secret due to HIPPA laws.

Related Resource: Physician’s Assistant

You Must Love Your Work

While pharmacists do have good starting salaries, the salaries may not increase much over the course of a pharmacist’s life. Therefore, it is important to enjoy what you do or have an idea as to how you can use your skills later in life to transition into something that may fit your interests.

For those who wish to become a pharmacist, the key is to know what you want to do from an early age, start your program as soon as possible and make sure that it is what you want to do with your life. If you have good people skills, are detail oriented and enjoy your work, it could be a rewarding career that will always be in demand.