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How to Become a Clinical Pharmacist

Megha Tiwari
The rapid growth of the health care industry has generated huge demand for clinical pharmacists. Read through this story to get updated on the requirements, duties, and responsibilities of this profession.
Clinical pharmacists are specialized medical professionals who are responsible for providing effective health care services to patients and they also participate in medical staff education programs, seminars, and conferences. Besides, they also advise physicians about adequate drug prescription for patients after analyzing their medical history and diagnostic results. This role is challenging and rewarding as well.


To become a clinical pharmacist, you must start working from day one of high school. This job demands a good command over maths, science, and chemistry because it requires an individual to use scientific methods at work. A strong foundation in these subjects will help you in the advanced studies.
You need to decide the major subject that you would like to take up in college because it will also help you to pass the pharmacy entrance exam. You can opt for a major in pharmacology, psychology, physics, or toxicology. Once you have successfully completed the second year of graduation, you can appear in the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT).
The professional course is of four years including internship. Before enrolling, make sure that the college is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. During the course, students will be taught how to administer patient care and the aftermath of drug addiction.
The final year includes an internship under the guidance of a licensed clinical pharmacist. On the completion of the course, you will be awarded a Doctor of Pharmacy degree or Pharm.D.
To get a license, you need to pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX), which is organized by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). After qualifying this exam, you become a licensed practitioner.
Apart from this, few states require the candidates to qualify the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE), which includes all the laws of this field. Once you have your license, you can decide whether to start practicing directly or take up a residency program offered by a hospital, to gain experience in the field.

Duties and Responsibilities

The duties begin right from observing the patients to educating them about the prescribed medicines, and from the managerial tasks to research studies. All the requirements and duties are mentioned in the job description handed to the practitioner at the commencement of the job.

Patient Care

It requires keeping the patients under observation and on the basis of their reports, to decide the required medical treatment. But, a pharmacist is not authorized to prescribe the medication. After interacting with the patient and analyzing the progress, he suggests different treatment methods for further improvement.
The treatment methods can be psychiatric, oral, or intravenous. The reports given by these professionals help doctors in prescribing suitable medicine for the patient. They also observe the effect of the prescribed drugs on the patient.

Managerial Responsibility

They are responsible for keeping track of the medical history of the patients, along with the record of the treatment and drugs prescribed. On the basis of the records and observations made, they ensure that no such medicines are prescribed that may cause side effects and negative reactions.

Research and Education

Research is not performed by all clinical pharmacists. They must be specialized to conduct research and must have experience of a minimum of two years.
A clinical pharmacist is one of the highest paying jobs in the field of pharmacy, if you have the required educational qualifications, experience, and of course, the right set of skills. The average salary is typically around USD 118,000.
In the initial years, the salary may not be very high, as with every profession, this field also requires that the first few years are spent in learning the intricacies of the job. Nevertheless, with increase in work experience, the salary rises gradually depending on the market growth.
Clinical pharmacy has good career opportunities and bright future prospects if you want to pursue a career in the field of medicine.