The pharmaceutical industry is growing in leaps and bounds. Most people can say that they’ve viewed a commercial about a new drug that’s been developed or spent time talking with a pharmacy tech at their local drug store. With earnings averaging in the mid to high $100K annual range, and an above average growth rate expected for careers, there are many opportunities to work in this field if this interests you. Here’s how you can find the right education path you need to obtain pharmacist jobs.
A pharmacist job generally requires a good deal of education, starting with a Bachelor’s degree in Science from an accredited college or university. In 1992, a majority of the nation’s schools voted to create a Doctorate program in pharmaceutical studies, so that is generally the standard that professional pharmacists adhere to in their educational pursuits. So, on average, Pharmacists must get the same number of years of education as a Physician or Lawyer before they can take a state board exam and become a professional working pharmacist. That’s a total of six years of post-secondary education.
In general, the education that pharmacists must have consists of studies in Pharmacology (the study of drugs), Chemistry, Clinical Care and Administration. In addition, pharmacists must have a solid background in mathematics and general biological science. Excellent writing and communications skills are vital to success in pharmacy as are knowledge of literature, history, government and social studies. Pharmacy is unique in that it combines the people aspect of care to the field of science, so being able to manage people and their needs is an important skill for any pharmacist to have.
In addition to the regular college classes they take, many pharmacists choose to work in either a pharmacy technician program as part of their learning process. There are multiple opportunities for pharmacy students to get all or part of their educational expenses paid for while they are in school if they become employed by a major pharmaceutical company or retailer. There is a big need for skilled pharmacists so companies are often ready to help with the costs of education to recruit them after graduation.
Once all college or university courses have been completed, the next step in the process is to take a state licensing exam. This is similar to a doctor or legal professional taking their state board exams. At the successful completion of the testing process, the pharmacy student or technician may begin working as a professional pharmacist. Each year, pharmacists are required to retrain or get additional coursework to keep their licenses and knowledgebase up to date.
Becoming a pharmacist is a rewarding career choice for individuals who enjoy helping others manage their medical care via drugs and medicine treatments. This allows them to work with patient care, but stay out of the clinical setting. By following the above tips, you can be well on your way to getting an education in pharmacy too.