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Hi, first of all, I would like to say thank you for thinking about this career :) I'm a student finishing up my 4th and final year of pharmacy school. Pharmacy is enormous. Not many people realize that it's not just community aka retail or independent and hospital. There are pharmacists in the FDA, CDC, NIH for research and governmental areas. There are nuclear, infusion centers, and overseas/traveling pharmacists. Biotech companies or drug industry. Work in the office or on site. See all patient populations, or limit to just pediatrics or geriatrics. ENDLESS, THIS CAREER IS ENDLESS. I particularly want to go towards ambulatory care pharmacy to work in a clinic and help patients through education (you can go to Kaiser, Veterans Affairs, Academia - be a professor and work part time at a hospital, retail, or clinic). It's almost the best of both extremes, in that you can use your clinical knowledge in more depth, may have a bit of prescribing power, a great working relationship with the physicians and other health care workers like nurses, PTs, OTs, etc., and you actually get to see patients for like a good 10-15 minute session up to however long you think they need to understand what,how, when they should be taking their medications and doing healthy lifestyle changes. OK now that I hope you are more excited than ever like me :)

Prerequisites: depends on the school. Where can you find that information?
1) look on the online common application known as PharmCAS. They have a state by state, school by school directory :D ...
2) contact the school directly for more information

Common prereqs:
1) yes math will be involved. When you actually go to pharmacy school, it's more about doing conversions like how many drops in a ml etc. though you'll see it as "gtt" = drops. My school teaches Pharmacokinetics - these equations taught will allow you to understand if the patient has good or bad renal function. This affects the patient because a drug may be cleared by the kidneys and if they have renal failure, they might have a buildup of that medication in their system. No bueno. On the other hand, they just have to take a lesser amount.
2) Bio - tons of biology! - i love biology :) ... you need labs as well. Hands-on is the best way :) This includes the very hard to get classes - anatomy, physiology ... I couldn't get into anatomy no matter where I went (even community college courses are full). Be persistent or you'll be limited to schools who don't require just this particular class.
3) Chemistry - particularly difficult, but very doable.
4) Philosophy, writing, psychology - the classes that just misc.
5) economics - yep, you gotta know how the system works to understand supply/demand and how to run the business esp in retail or independent pharmacy.

Don't let this seem more daunting, because it is WORTH IT. If you go in with a mindset that this is your goal in life, that this career will make you happy because you are literally helping people have a great and healthy life to enjoy with their family and friends and make the world run with healthy workers :)

to go volunteer or get employment at different types of pharmacies you may be interested in. Don't go through this if you will have that possibility of not enjoying it cause it is a long investment.

TIP: if you do 2 years of prereqs, you will not get a Bachelors degree. Some school, like mines, require a BS degree to be able to apply for the joint programs. My school offers an MBA dual degree. YES, you can be a very mindful business person as well as a doctor (of pharmacy)!!

Some schools have accelerated programs - UOP for instance in California. 2+ 3 or 4 year programs. You are almost guaranteed to finish, but really expensive. nearly 45,000 (2 years each) and 75,000 (3 years each). But you'll get out sooner (year round vs traditional).

*Pharmacy Tech ... if you do seek employment than you need to be licensed as a tech.
*Pharmacy Intern ... if you get into pharmacy school, you will get a license to be a student intern (a lot of greater responsibilities - you can give flu shots, take prescriptions by phone from doctors, make sound counseling points and recommendations.

** To work in a hospital setting as a clinical pharmacist - you will need to apply and get into a residency program. There's PGY1, PGY2, combo. This will be another 1-2 years working and trained on site. You may do a community one to be more hirable and knowledgable. Residency programs offer teaching certification, there are programs in information technology (technology is huge in this world), ambulatory care, hospital, etc.).

I hope I didn't overwhelm you, but do a lot of research, and you will get yourself in the right direction to a future that is awesome :)

Answered 9 years ago


Gail Miller

In order to obtain a doctorate in pharmacy, aka PharmD, you must first complete prerequisite courses. I have been out of school for over 20 years, so I don't know what is required now. Basically you do not major in anything, you just complete these classes which usually takes 2 to 3 years.

There is a lot of math and science. The science includes everything from Organic Chemistry to Physics. I also took Calculus.

After taking all the classes you apply to Colleges of Pharmacy. I had to take the PCAT:Pharmacy College Admission Test. I don't know if that is still required. State schools are less expensive than private schools. It can be a costly student loan, but once you graduate you make the same as someone who has been working as long as I have. The income is 6 figures.

Pharmacy Technicians assist the pharmacist in their workload. They cannot counsel or advise the patient. They answer phones, type prescriptions, count out the medication to be dispensed and set it up for the final check by the pharmacist and depending on the state can call for refill authorization on prescriptions .

If you have an further questions, let me know.


Answered 9 years ago

Gail Miller