Becoming a Pharmacist
Pharmacy is the science and practice of the preparation, formulation, and dispensing of medicinal drugs. Common Area of Confusion: Another health field, Pharmacology, is often confused with Pharmacy. Pharmacology is focused on the study of how a drug affects the biological system and how the body responds.Holland Interest Code
The interest code for pharmacists is ICS (Investigative, Conventional, Social).
What's a Holland Code? This refers to a career assessment that measures your personality type across 6 areas: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. A Holland Code allows you to connect your personality directly with occupations! Find out your code at mynextmove.org/explore/ip
Is Pharmacy the Right Career for You?
Start by answering the following questions:
- Do you enjoy learning about the human body and science?
- Are you a disciplined, hard worker?
- Do you have a good attention to detail?
- Would you enjoy a career with a high level of interaction with patients and colleagues?
- Are you willing to spend at least 8 years in college (4+ years for B.A./B.S. and 4 years in pharmacy school)?
If you answered yes to these questions, a career in pharmacy may be a good fit for you!
- Clinical Pharmacist
- Hospital Pharmacist
- Pharmacist in Charge
|In CA: $144,660+|
In LA/OC Area: $141,240+
*For more information visit CareerOneStop.org/Salary
- Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)
Choosing a Major for Pharmacy
There is no required undergraduate major for pharmacy school; however, some schools may offer a major in pharmaceutical sciences, pharmaceutical chemistry, or pharmacology. To apply to pharmacy school, you will need to complete certain prerequisite courses in science and math. Therefore, other common undergraduate majors for students interested in pharmacy include:
- Biology, microbiology, molecular biology, genetics, or biochemistry
- Math, physics, or chemistry
Sample Pre-Requisite Courses
In general, all prerequisite courses should be taken for a letter grade. Some campuses may have policies regarding whether the requirements can be met through community college coursework.
|One year of English ||ENGL 101 & 102 or 103|
|One year of biology ||BIOL 211, 221, & 231|
|One year of general chemistry ||CHEM 200A & 200B|
|One year of organic chemistry ||CHEM 280A & 280B|
|One course in calculus ||MATH 180 |
IMPORTANT: This list is meant to be used as an informational guide. All students must refer to the individual campuses or programs for specific information on prerequisite requirements. Information can also be found at www.aacp.org.
Preparing for Pharmacy School
As an undergraduate student, there are several things you can do now to prepare for pharmacy school:
- Maintain a high GPA.
- Gain experience in the pharmacy profession through volunteering, interning, or taking a summer job in a pharmacy or healthcare setting.
- Join a pre-pharmacy club, or start one if it doesn't already exist at your college!
- Develop your leadership skills through student organizations and/or community service.
- Connect with faculty and professionals. Remember that most programs will require multiple letters of recommendation.
- Study for the standardized test(s) required for the programs you will be applying to (i.e. PCAT; GRE).
Not sure becoming a pharmacist is the right fit for you? Here are some related careers with different educational requirements. For more healthcare-related careers, visit ExploreHealthCareers.org.
|Pharmacy Technician ||$40,120||~High School Diploma ||CR|
|Registered Nurse ||$104,410||Associate's Degree||SIC|