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Becoming a Pharmacist

Smita Pandit
Ever thought of becoming a pharmacist? Wondering how to become a pharmacist? Here's some information for those who wish to take up a career in pharmacy.
Are you interested in becoming a pharmacist? If the study of medicinal substances or drugs interests you, you must explore the various career options in pharmacy. It can be a rewarding career. Besides lucrative pay packages, delivering health care to patients also makes it a noble profession.
The scope of pharmacy has widened to a great extent. Besides dispensing medicines to patients, pharmacists are actively taking part in health care units by carrying out research and diagnostic testing for certain medical conditions. If you feel you have an inclination or interest in pharmacy, it's time to find out the requirements for becoming a pharmacist.

How to Become a Pharmacist

If you wish to pursue a career in pharmacy, you need to start at the high school level. It's always good to start early. You will be better equipped to handle the study of drugs if you study subjects such as chemistry and biology. So, be focused when you study these science subjects.
Before you make a decision about becoming a pharmacist, you must also make yourself aware of the pros and cons of becoming a pharmacist. The benefits of becoming a pharmacist includes lucrative pay packages and the satisfaction of being able to assist in the health care of people, but you must also be ready for the challenges.
You need to keep yourself abreast of all the latest developments in the field of drug therapy. So, if you are ready to be a dedicated pharmacist with a sincere desire to help others, let us give you more information on becoming a pharmacist.

Educational Qualifications

For becoming a pharmacist, you will need to graduate with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from an accredited college of pharmacy. There are two options. You could join a pharmacy school after finishing your high school. Take a look at the 0-6 years admission programs. To get into this program, you need to get the minimum grade point average (GPA) and SAT scores.
Some schools also conduct an interview. Those who get good grades in the first two years, will then study for 3-4 years at a specialized pharmacy school. You could also enroll in an 'early assurance' program right after graduating from high school.
Those who have completed their bachelor's degree can enter the traditional pharmacy schools. You would first need to complete prerequisite courses and take the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT). After clearing the test, you could either go for the traditional pharmacy degree program. This is a 4 year program.
There is another option available to aspiring pharmacists. You can go for the 3 year accelerated pharmacy program. After completing the course, you also need to go through an internship program. Becoming a pharmacist online is also possible. Search the Internet for online courses in pharmacy and go through the list of top 10 pharmacy schools in America.
After completing the PharmD or Doctor of Pharmacy degree, you will need to pass the licensing examination of your state. After that, you can practice as a pharmacist. When it comes to salary, those of you who have a good academic record can expect a higher pay package. As you gain more experience, you will earn even better.

Is this a Right Career Choice for you?

Once you understand the requirements and skills needed to perform well in the field of pharmacy, you will know if pharmaceutical jobs are right for you. So, let us tell you more about the job description of a pharmacist.
Pharmacists have to verify and analyze the prescriptions. They also need to keep themselves updated with the latest medicines and information on dosage. Many a time, you will have to answer the queries of patients regarding the types of medication they need. They have also to take care of the medicines.
Those working in hospitals and primary care organizations offer their expertise on interactions, strength and right dosage of medicines. Some regulatory pharmacists who work for government bodies ensure that medicines submitted by pharmaceutical companies are safe. Pharmacists working in industries have the challenge of inventing new formulas and medicines.
After going through the job description and responsibilities of a pharmacist, if you feel that becoming a pharmacist is your goal in life, you must stay focused and work hard. Wish you all the best in your endeavor.