How Long does it take to become a pharmacist?

(Last Updated On: August 12, 2016)

How long does it take to become a pharmacist? It takes roughly 8 years– 4 years of undergraduate training plus  another 4 years in a post graduate pharmacy program. You will get to know important  details about becoming a pharmacist in this article. Just read on!

The simple answer to the question How Long does it take to become a pharmacist?

How Many Years Does it take to become a pharmacist? 

Answer: It takes about 8 years to become a pharmacist. You spend four years of pre-professional undergraduate coursework, which is a pre-requisite to get admitted into a pharmacy school.

Subsequently, you will spend the remaining four years in the pharmacy program to earn a pharm D and become a pharmacist.

You now know the answer to the question: How Many Years Does it take to become a pharmacist? Well, it takes just eight years of pre-professional and professional training to become a pharmacist.

It is now a lot easier to earn your degree in pharmacy online. In the past, earning a pharmacist degree online was more like a mirage, but today a simple possibility with the click of your mouse. Thanks to the Internet.

Many online pharmacy schools allow aspiring pharmacists as well as various working professionals benefit from a distance learning program, which may be combined with a clinical practice in a Healthcare setting.

There are other unique opportunities for every aspiring student, depending on the school curriculum and course structure.

Choosing pharmacy as a profession

Choosing pharmacy as a profession is a  good choice. A pharmacist average salary is quite attractive. You will surely earn a decent income. See how much does a pharmacist make.

However, you must have beyond the B Pharm degree to practice as a pharmacist. In fact, it is now a mandatory requirement based on the new pharmacy guidelines to have a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree before qualifying for a pharmacist license.

In other words, Bachelors degree in pharmacy is no longer offered and you will have to obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy degree to practice as a licensed pharmacist.

Those who already the Bachelors degree before the new educational requirement was signed into law are given a waiver to advance their training and earn the Pharm D degree and become Doctor of Pharmacy.

It is important to understand that pharmacists work with doctors in order to provide safe, effective prescription drug treatment for patients. Hence, Pharm.D programs are carefully structured to meet safe drug administration, effective communication skills in order to interact with patients and doctors and provide adequate knowledge about the mode of action and side effects of drugs when needed.

A pharmacist is not to usurp but complement and support the doctor in the management of patient’s condition.

How Long does it take to become a pharmacist after High School?

The number of years it takes to become a pharmacist is usually a straightforward 8 years which comprise: 4 years of undergraduate trainin in ascience-related course and 4 years of post-graduate training in pharmacy school. However, it may sometimes range between 6 to 13 years.

During this time, you will need to complete Pharm.D coursework, take some pre-requisite training, national examinations as well as some clinical rotations in a hospital setting.

How to Become a pharmacist

Your first step at becoming a pharmacist starts from the combination of courses you take at your undergraduate level of training.

You must get it right at this stage if you need the solid base for an enviable career in pharmacy! Taking science related courses, particularly biology, chemistry, biochemistry, physiology and pharmacology is often a prerequisite for admission into the Pharm.D program.

In order to be admitted into the Pharm.D program, it is important you choose the courses that are relevant to Pharmacy. They include but are not limited to the following medically related courses:

  • Pharmacy Orientation
  • Immunology
  • Physics
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry for Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Anatomy and Physiology

The above is just the first degree requirements you need to pass to be eligible for consideration into the Pharm.D program. The Pharm D degree program itself costs an additional 4 years if rigorous training and skills acquisition, which is relevant to the field of Pharmacy.

Your areas of training in the first year will focus on usage of dosage, law & ethics which has to do with pharmacy, counseling of patients, building a professional working relationship with physicians, the mechanism of drug action, pathophysiology of certain common medical conditions, as well as some calculations of Pharmacy and diagnostics.

The second and third years into the Pharm.D program will give you an ample opportunity to upon the skills you learn in year one. Nevertheless, you will learn new areas such as pharmacotherapy, health management, biostatistics, and primary stages of clinical rotations.

You will also be guided on how to choose new specialty, where you are best fit and can specialize in after your graduation from the pharmacy school.

The fourth or last year is basically to expose you to adequate clinical experience. You will spend between 4 to 6 weeks per clinical rotation and you may be required to take no more than 10 rotations in all.

How Many Years Does It Take To Become A Pharmacist?

To become a licensed pharmacist, you will have to pass a National Pharmacist Licensing Examination first. An example of a licensing example is the North American Pharmacist Licensing Exam (NAPLEX).

NAPLEX is the primary test you must take and pass to qualify for licensing. You will be tested through a series of questions in order to assess your skills/knowledge (actually 185 questions) in pharmacy. The main objective of the NAPLEX test is to ascertain:

* your knowledge of when safe and effective principles of pharmacotherapy are being followed
in the therapeutic usage of drugs in patient care

* your knowledge of preparation and distribution of drugs in line with standard safety practices

* your knowledge of patient counselling and ability to give the most relevant information that will translate to an optimal level of care for patients

As pointed out earlier, passing the NAPLEX test can qualify you to practice as a licensed pharmacist. However, some States’ laws in the US may still require you pass the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE) in addition.

The MPJE exam is a two-hour test or occasionally may be a 90-minute question test. The focus of the test is to assess your knowledge of laws and legal ethics in the pharmacy profession.

For international pharmacy school graduates, or students from pharmacy school outside the United States, mandatory requirement is to pass the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination Committee (FPGEC) Certification.

However, there is an exception for graduate students from Canadian pharmacy school. For more information, please check with the State Licensure Department in your state.

However, some states in the United States may also exempt graduates from Canadian schools from having to take any examination.

Important points to bear in mind:
* you might have to pay an additional fee as well get approval (written) from a National or State Pharmacy Body if you fail the license exam beyond the limits stipulated by law.

*Some states may restrict the number of attempts on retakes of a specific test.

For example, If you fail a state examination after a given number attempts allowed by law, you may be required to complete an extra number of semester units courses before allowed to re-take the exam. How Long does it take to become a pharmacist? I hope you can now answer the question!

One Response
  1. June 25, 2017

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