Pharmacists are licensed professionals who supervise the delivery process of prescribed drugs to the general public and patients. The basic purpose of a pharmacist is to help patients get access to FDA approved medication. This article will be of help to people who are planning to explore this profession.

Should I Become a Pharmacist?

Education Required Doctor of Pharmacy Degree (Pharm D)
Major Requirement Pharmacy
License/Certification Required
Experience/Training May be required for advanced positions
Key Skills Analytical skills, communication skills, computer skills, detail orientation skills, managerial skills
Annual Mean Salary $123,670
Job Outlook 0% (Little or no change)

 Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Requirements

To become a pharmacist, you must be licensed. People who want to become pharmacists should have a minimum of 1-2 years of residency experience, specifically for advanced positions. They are required to have good communication skills since a lot of patient dealing is involved. They also need to have basic analytical and computer skills so they can access relevant data and provide medicines effectively. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean salary of a pharmacist in the US was $123,670, in the year 2018, with demand likely to increase over the years. This demand would be driven by the large baby-boom generation now aging and requiring more prescription drugs.

Steps to Become a Pharmacist

  1. Obtain an Undergraduate Degree

All students who want to become pharmacists have to get themselves enrolled in a pre-pharmacy program which includes studying biology, chemistry, physics, etc.  Some programs require 2 years, while others require 4 years of undergraduate education. After these 2-4 years of undergraduate education, the students can enroll in a Pharm. D. program which is recognized by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). Those who apply for the Pharm D program have to take the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT).

  1. Get Enrolled in a Pharm. D. Program

Usually Pharm. D. programs require 4 years to complete. However, some could be completed in 3 years. These programs include subjects like pharmacology, chemistry and medical ethics. Known as work experience, completing an internship is also a part of their degree. Some of these students intern at hospitals while others do it at retail pharmacies. Those students who want to establish their own business can pursue MBA and the rest can get a degree in public health.

  1. Training

After graduating from a Pharm D program, those who want to seek advance positions in this career have to complete a residency program lasting for 1-2 years. Once you complete your residency program, you get an option to specialize in an area like geriatric care or internal medicine.

  1. Get Your License

To get their license, all pharmacists should clear two exams. The first one is the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX) and it tests the knowledge and skills of a person regarding pharmacy. The second exam is the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE) or it could also be a state specific exam. Some states ask the applicants to do an internship for a certain number of hours.

  1. Get Your Certificate

Those people who have gained advanced level of knowledge in a specialized field of pharmacology can get a certificate to attest for it. Certificates are offered by different boards like the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators and the Board of Pharmacy Specialties. People can become specialists in areas like nutrition, oncology and diabetes, etc.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Pharmacist?

If you want to become a pharmacist, you need to obtain a state-issued license to practice. To acquire that license, you need to begin with a 4-year bachelor’s degree followed by a 2-year master’s degree in pharmacy. There are many universities in the U.S. that offer pharmacy degrees. After completing a master’s degree, you can take the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) and work in the field. However, many graduates opt for a 3 to 5-year doctoral degree in pharmacy to advance their careers.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Pharmacist?

Although the requirements to become a pharmacist vary from one state to another, there are several common requirements such as:

  • Completing a master’s degree in pharmacy.
  • Passing the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX).
  • Passing additional exams, if required by the state.
  • Applying for the post of a pharmacist in your desired state and getting hired.

How Much Can I Make after Becoming a Pharmacist?

Pharmacists may begin working with public and private sector hospitals, clinics or nursing homes after obtaining the state-issued license. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated $126,120 as the annual median income of pharmacists in 2018.

Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:What is the salary of a pharmacist in California?

A:In 2016, pharmacists earned an average of $146,900 per annum, which is the highest in the US in this occupation.

Q:Where can pharmacists work?

A:Pharmacists are professionals who dispense prescription medications to patients. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 43% of pharmacists are employed by pharmacies and drug stores. 23% of pharmacists are employed at hospitals and clinics. The remaining percentage of pharmacists can be found working in department stores, general merchandise stores, and even grocery stores. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:How long does it take to become a pharmacist?

A:To become a pharmacist, you require a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) degree. While admission requirements vary for different programs, all Doctor of Pharmacy programs need their applicants to have completed at least 2 years of undergraduate study, though some require a bachelor’s degree as well. Most programs need applicants to give the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT). After completing a Pharm. D. program, if you are looking for an advance level position, you might need to complete a 1 to 2 year residency. Besides that, upon finishing your degree, prospective pharmacists have to pass 2 exams: The North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX) and The Multi-state Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE). (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:How to become a Pharmacist?

A:To be a pharmacist, you need to earn a specialized degree in Pharmacology – PharmD. or a doctorate of Pharmacology. To enter into PharmD, you will be required to complete your 4-years bachelor’s degree in health sciences.

Q:From where can I collect authentic information on becoming a pharmacist?

A:Our website provides you with the comprehensive details on pharmacy related programs and courses. The aspiring pharmacists can easily search through the universities listed on our website and choose their desired program. For details regarding any specific subject, university or school, feel free to contact us.

Q:As I read on how to become a pharmacist in Texas, there was mention of the course on Medical Records. What are the contents of this course?

A:It is common to get to read about the course on Medical Records in the articles on how to become a Pharmacist in Texas.This course is usually of around 4 credits. It explains to the students the various medical word and terminology formations. Students also get briefed about the various medical abbreviations and the common terminologies used in a pharmacy.

Q:Can you tell me how to be a pharmacist?

A:In order to become a pharmacist, one must have a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from an accredited school. The admission requirements for the pharmacy programs usually vary from school to school. Most pharmacy students complete three or more years of undergraduate training before starting a formal pharmacy program. A thorough knowledge of courses such as biology, chemistry and anatomy is important.

Q:As I read on how to become a pharmacist in Florida, there was mention of the course on Safety & Preparation. What are the contents of this course?

A:It is quite common to get to read about the course on Safety & Preparation in the articles on how to become a pharmacist in Florida. This course is of around 4 credits in total. It is designed to provide the students with ample understanding of the basic safety principles that are carried out in a pharmacy and the ways in which students can be prepared in emergency situations.

Q:What are the important steps to becoming a pharmacist?

A:The important steps to becoming a pharmacist include the right qualifications and in-depth knowledge of various drugs and their effects. The knowledge comes by completing the required study programs. To be a licensed pharmacist you need Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree and to qualify for this degree you need a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy science.

Q:What degree do you need to become a pharmacist?

A:If you want to become a pharmacist you should have a PharmD or doctorate of Pharmacy degree. Students should earn a passing score in the Pharmacy college admission test and complete two years of their undergraduate program to enroll in a four year pharmacy program.

Q:What are the steps to become a pharmacist?

A:If you want to become a pharmacist you should enroll in a PharmD or doctorate of Pharmacy degree. College students who want begin a four year pharmacy program need to complete two years of undergraduate course work and pass the Pharmacy college admission test (PCAT).

Q:What kind of background education to become a pharmacist?

A:Since 2006, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) has made it mandatory for all aspiring pharmacist’s to first earn their Doctor of Pharmacy before practicing. Therefore, now students are required to first complete their pre-pharmacy undergraduate degree which requires a minimum of 60 to 90 credit hours of undergraduate assignments in basic and advanced sciences.

Q:How many years does it take to become a pharmacist?

A: If you are particularly self- motivated and focused on your study, you may find that you can get through your studies a lot quicker than others, especially if you undertake an online program. External pressures, such as work/ family commitments, or financial worries, may distract you though.

Q:How do you become a pharmacist?

A:If you want to become a pharmacist you need to have a doctor of Pharmacy degree. This degree will make you eligible for the North American Licensure Examination (NAPLEX). After you have earned a doctor of pharmacy degree and passed the NAPLEX you can become a pharmacist anywhere in the country.

Q:If I become a pharmacist online how will I gain practical experience?

A:There are several Pharm.D programs available online. These programs are of a hybrid format, which means that students can do coursework online and can gain practical experience in laboratory. So even if it’s an online program you will have opportunities to gain practical experience.

Q:Can you tell me about education to become pharmacist?

A:If you want to be a pharmacist in U.S. you will need to have a doctorate of pharmacy degree. Students who have completed two years of college education and have passed the Pharmacy college admission test can begin their pharmacy program. This program in pharmacy will take 4-7 years to complete.

Q:Can you tell me all about becoming a pharmacist?

A:Pharmacists are licensed professionals in the health care industry who are skilled in administering drugs and dosages. Knowledge of this field comes from educational programs and professional studies. To become a pharmacist, students need to enroll in bachelor and masters degree programs before they can apply for enrollment in a Pharm.D. (Doctor of Pharmacy) degree. programs can be completed in four years and is mandatory to earn to become a licensed pharmacist.

Q:Can you tell me where I can work if I become a pharmacist and what will be my salary?

A:As a pharmacist, you can work in pharmacies, companies that manufacture medicines and drugs, and also in research centers where people work on making new medicines and improving the existing ones. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacists made a median annual wage of $116,670 in 2012. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:Is licensing one of the major steps to becoming pharmacist?

A:Yes, licensing is a major step that must be completed in order to become a professional pharmacist. You must first complete a pharmacy course to make sure you are well equipped with knowledge and skills. Once you have earned a pharmacy degree, you can apply for professional license in your state. Every state has its own licensing requirements.

Q:What does it take to be a pharmacist in terms of educational qualification and skills?

A:You will need a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree. This will equip you with all the skills and theoretical knowledge needed to become a licensed pharmacist. Most important of these will be your ability to practice drug safety and understand drug interactions. After this step is complete, you will have to sit in North American Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) to qualify for a license.

Q:How to become a pharmacist in TX? What are the eligibility requirements of the related degree programs?

A:Before applying for admission in a technical program, you have to sit for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam that is administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board that is overseen by the Texas State Board of Pharmacy. There are many online colleges in Texas that enable aspiring pharmacists to clock technical training hours as well guide them in applying for an externship at an actual pharmacy.

Q:Is being a pharmacist a tough job?

A:You can become a pharmacist with the right level of degree and skills. All pharmacists in the USA are required to have a PharmD qualification and a valid license. The work environment will vary depending upon the specialization area. Whether the job is tough or not will depend on how well skilled you are, your dedication, and level of interest.

Q:Can you please let me know what does it take to be a pharmacist?

A:There are various educational requirements which need to be fulfilled in order to become a pharmacist. These days, a bachelor of pharmacy may not be sufficient. Pharmacists are usually required to earn a doctor of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) In order to enroll in a doctor of pharmacy program, two to three years of undergraduate degree is required.

Q:I have heard that becoming a pharmacist is not easy. Can you tell me what degree in need?

A:Pharmacy careers are among the highest paying careers in healthcare. The licensing and certification requirements for this occupation may vary slightly from state to state. In most cases, you must have a PharmD degree for this career. You will also have to acquire specific training and apply for a license.

Q:What are the requirements to become a pharmacist?

A:To become a pharmacist, you must have a PharmD degree and a professional license. The first step towards becoming a pharmacist is earning a bachelor and masters degree, and then further pursuing a doctoral degree in pharmacy. Upon completion of the degree, you can take the licensing examination known as the NAPLEX exam and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence exam.

Q:What do pharmacist do?

A:Pharmacists are trained and licensed professionals who perform tasks such as the following: filling prescriptions, instructing patients on how to take prescribed medicine, providing basic vaccines, managing records of patients, overseeing staff, providing proper dosages of medication to patients, staying up-to-date with trends in the industry, and more. These professionals are licensed to prescribe medicine and assist physicians.

Q:Why become a pharmacist?

A:According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment growth rate of pharmacists is faster than average. These professionals made a median annual income of $116,670 in 2012. Pharmacists are an integral part of the healthcare industry. The demand for pharmacists remains steady and is expected to increase in the coming years. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)