How to Become a Pharmacist
The career we will be featuring for the month of October is PHARMACY!! And you’re in luck because I just happen to be in the middle of applying to pharmacy school right now. Becoming a pharmacist is a great career move for many reasons: phenomenal pay, family-friendly working hours, constant interaction with people — oh and did I mention the money?? Well, since I keep mentioning the large salary, I’ll give you some statistics to back it up. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacists made an average of $111,570 in 2010. I have also heard stories of students being offered $130,00 straight out of school!! I hardly doubt that you need any more persuasion, but just in case I’ll continue. The job outlook is expected to grow faster than most jobs; the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 25% increase in job openings over the next 10 years, meaning that you shouldn’t have any problem finding a job or keeping it once you finish school.
(Thats going to be me one day!! )
Along with the large salary comes a large amount of responsibility. Pharmacists are required to know an immense amount of drug names, interactions, and side effects and (you guessed it) complete many years of schooling and earn Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm. D.). Exactly how many years are we talking here? Well it ranges from 6-10, depending on personal preferences. A bachelor degree is not required to enter pharmacy school. In this case the pre-requisites can be completed in about 2 years and pharmacy school finished in 4, adding up to a total of 6 years. If you do decide to graduate with a bachelor’s degree before matriculating into graduate school then you’re looking at 8 years of school (with 4 years spent on each degree). (NOTE: You can have a bachelor’s degree in absolutely ANYTHING, you just need to complete the pre-requisites. Check out my tips below for more information on these!) The final option is to continue your education past the Pharm. D. level with a post-graduate residency that lasts 1-2 years.
The application for pharmacy school has many components to it: the actual application, the PCAT, and an interview. The Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) is basically a supped up SAT or ACT that judges how prepared you are for school based on your knowledge of the basics. The sections of the exam include chemistry, arithmetic, biology, writing, reading comprehension, and vocabulary. As far as the application goes, it is usually just an online application. Similar to Apply Texas for undergraduates, many schools have a common application called PharmCAS and then a supplemental application for the specific school. Most deadlines are in November or December and you will have your offers by March or April.
I hope this gave you some insight into the process of becoming a pharmacist. If you have any further questions feel free to contact me or the Pre-Professional Health Advisors!!! Thanks for reading!
-Make sure you look at the pre-reqs for each school that you are applying to VERY CAREFULLY!! Don’t be like me and take microbiology then realize that you get to take it again because one of the schools only accepts a very specific course of micro.
-Keep your grades up!!
-Study hard for the PCAT… my advice is to buy a study book and practice exams!
- Get experience either through volunteering or through a job!