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How to Become a Pharmacist

Kundan Pandey
What does it take to make a career as a pharmacist? Keep reading to put a full-stop to all your queries about this career that has gained immense popularity in the past few years.
There has been an upsurge in the number of students opting for a career in pharmacy. Higher pay packages, wide variety of career opportunities and flexibility in the work schedule are cited as some of the prime reasons for the increased inclination to careers in pharmacy.
The domain and range of their work has expanded into a plethora of activities, unlike the past years where the only job of pharmacists was to dispense medicines. Nowadays, pharmacists are actively involved with health care units, in understanding the medicines and advising drug therapy to the patients.

Becoming a Successful Pharmacist

In order to be a pharmacist, firstly you need to equip yourself with the right kind of educational degrees, so that you have strong background in the subjects that related to pharmacy. Have a look at the several aspects of their jobs.

Educational Requirements

Generally, high school students are confused about how to become a pharmacist. The first thing deciding that they want to pursue a career in pharmacy. In high school, opting science subjects, especially chemistry and biology is mandatory.
The basics of chemistry should be very strong as the medicines and chemicals you will be expected to study or monitor in the near future will be nothing but several types of chemical compounds.
Besides these, at least one year or two or three semester courses in mathematics, communication skills, psychology, sociology and public speaking are preferred.
The prerequisite degrees and courses for various pharmacy schools vary significantly. While some pharmacy schools require bachelor's degree in pharmacy, various others prefer applicants with a baccalaureate degree. Candidates with a B.S. in pharmacy are also preferred.
Some schools also require microbiology and biochemistry as important subjects. The Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) is the standard exam that helps you to gain admission in reputed pharmacy colleges. Nearly three-fourth of the pharmacy schools prefer the PCAT scores.
High school students can also complete their pharmacy degree with various programs like '0-6' years admission programs, right after completing their high school education. Students who complete their two years of college after high school are directly transferred into pharmacy schools under the 'early assurance program'.

Job Description

To become a pharmacy technician, you must know the job description properly:
  • Receive, analyze and verify the prescriptions.
  • Help in the preparation of medicines for clients, by considering their needs. Ensure proper mixing of pills and labeling bottles.
  • Patent the paperwork regarding the medicines of pharmaceutical companies they are working with.
  • Safety and care of the medicines.
  • Some of them prefer hospital jobs and assist hospital staff in assembling and managing medicines and drugs.
  • Read patient charts and help doctors in chalking out possible combination of medications to treat the patients.

Key Attributes

If you're aspiring to be a pharmacist, you have to ensure that your aptitude and attitude are in tandem with the requirements of the job. If you lack the essential qualities that are necessary to carry out the job responsibilities, then better work upon them.
So, what are the key traits that you should develop to work successfully in this field? Some of the key traits that are of utmost importance to be a pharmacist are accuracy, clarity in thinking processes and excellent customer relation skills.
An eye to detail is also a quality that is essential to be accurate in your prescriptions and calculations regarding the medicine requirements and budget. In depth knowledge about pharmacy field and medicines will always help a lot and you will be able to help customers with confidence.

Earning Potential

Salary range in this field varies depending upon various factors such as geographical location, work experience and educational qualifications. A person with experience of about 8 years or more may earn quite a decent amount with average of about USD 118,430 annually. During initial years, the pay may range between USD 68,566 and USD 127,308 a year.
The job outlook of pharmacists has been phenomenal in the recent years. The increasing demand for effective patient services and the wide spectrum of medical jobs where the pharmacists can offer their services, have opened the doors of excellent career development opportunities for pharmacy students.
So, if you have a keen insight to focus upon the minute details of the milligrams of medicines and a desire to keep learning new things daily, being a pharmacist would be a good option.