How long does it take to become a pharmacist

  • Because of the advances in medicine as well as society’s aging, the opportunities for pharmacists are expected to grow by 25 percent between 2010 and 2020. This is according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most pharmacists work in retail drug stores. Some of them dispense drugs, instructs patients and also keep records. Then there are some of them who work as consultants, researchers and clinical pharmacists. A pharmacists needs at least six years of post-secondary school in order to successfully become a licensed pharmacist.

  • Pharmacist High School

    Students who aspire to be pharmacists must have taken the following high school classes: trigonometry, calculus, algebra, geometry, biology, physics and chemistry. They should also have good communication skills. They need to learn English. A foreign language would also be an advantage. They are not required to take Latin. Courses in history, computers and business can also be helpful.

    Pharmacist Undergraduate Study

    Pharmacy school admissions office require those who wish to become pharmacists to have two to four years of undergraduate college degrees. The minimum required classes include physics, organic chemistry and biology. Most pharmacy applicants have three years of undergraduate work. A bachelor’s degree may also give you an advantage. There is no particular major required even if a number of those pursuing this path are Chemistry majors.

    Pharmacist Admission Requirements

    According to a study conducted by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, more than 75 percent of pharmacy schools require the aspirants to pass the Pharmacy College Admission Test or the PCAT. This is a four-hour test that has around 240 multiple choice questions as well as two essay topics. There are also sections for verbal and math ability, reading comprehension, biology, chemistry and experimental skills. Some pharmacy admission offices also look into the applicant’s experience in pharmacy or any other healthcare setting.

    Pharmacy School

    Pharmacists must earn a PharmD degree from a program approved by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. Combining class work with experience, pharmacy programs usually lasts four years. However, there are some schools that offer an accelerated three-year program while others offer a “0 to 6” program. This program admits high school graduates and lists them in a six-year program that combines pharmacy requisites with professional school.

    Pharmacist Licensing and Other Training

    All pharmacists must have state licenses. States require you to pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam and a national or state law exam. In addition, you also have to complete the practical work experience that the state that you wish to work in requires. There are a number of pharmacists who also have a master’s degree in public health or business administration. Research or clinical pharmacists usually take an additional one or two years of residency after obtaining their pharmacy degree.

    How Much Does a Pharmacist Make

    Pharmacists average an annual salary of $114,040. Those who work in the hospitals earn an average of $110,810 per year.  Pharmacists who work in grocery stores earn around $108,890 per year, while those in department store earn around $109,240 annually.