While medications to preserve and enhance a patient’s quality of life are part of the daily routine of many people, few actually take the time to consider the training that their pharmacist completed in order to dispense those drugs safely and legally. From early preparations to the final steps, becoming a pharmacist is an interesting process.
Steps to Take Before College
High school students considering a career as a pharmacist can begin to prepare for their training in a variety of ways. Taking college preparatory classes and completing them with high grades is important, of course, but this is also a good time for youngsters to determine whether or not the pharmacy is actually where they want to spend their careers. Consider speaking with several pharmacists about their work, reading the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and researching college programs to prepare for the future.
During the Undergraduate Years
Although opting to attend an undergraduate program at an institution that offers a graduate program to train pharmacists is optimal, seeking a school that is strong in the sciences is important whether a pharmacy program is available or not. Additionally, new college students who are certain that they want to become pharmacists may want to consider attending what is known as a “zero-to-six” program, which combines the undergraduate curriculum with the graduate program after the initial two years of study; while this approach may seem more difficult, it is probably much simpler in the long run.
Selecting a PharmD Program
Applying to and being accepted into pharmacy school can be quite the trying process, but those with excellent grades, test scores and other necessary qualifications will not have too much trouble achieving their goals. However, future pharmacists should remember that the program is a rigorous one that may require strong support from family and friends; it is important to keep this in mind before choosing to move hundreds of miles from home for this phase of education.
After Graduate School
Once a student completes his or her PharmD program, he or she will need to take the licensing exam required by the state as well as the jurisprudence test on pharmaceutical laws in some areas; there may be other exams required. However, once all the tests have been passed and licenses received, the newly vetted pharmacist may begin his or her job search and a satisfying career.