What are Pharmacists?

Pharmacists are an important part of the healthcare team and play a vital role in patient well-being.  They provide members of the public with advice and information on drugs that should be taken according to the ailment or disease the patient has.  Pharmacists are different from doctors in that a pharmacist does not prescribe the actual medicine, but instead dispenses the medicine to the patient.  As such, pharmacists are the last healthcare professional that can check if the appropriate medication is given.

What do Pharmacists do?

The role of the pharmacist is to dispense the drugs and label the goods with clear instructions as well as provide counseling and clinical services.  Pharmacists are also becoming more involved with managing diseases and the role has expanded in the recent years.  Contemporary pharmacists also evaluate patients alongside doctors and develop treatment options for patients.

What are the Educational Requirements to Become a Pharmacist?

Previously, a Bachelor of Science was required to become a pharmacist, but nowadays a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm D) is required.  A pharmacy student has 4 years of undergraduate coursework to get a Bachelor degree and an additional 4 years of professional pharmacy school to get the Pharm D.  The Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) is used for professional pharmacy school admissions.  Alternatively, some pharmacy programs offer 2 years of undergraduate coursework and 4 years of pharmacy courses directly after high school without the need for the PCAT. The best schools to choose from are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).

How do I Get a Pharmacist License?

Many of the job positions for pharmacists also require a pharmacist license.  To get a license, pharmacists need to pass the NAPLEX (North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination) and for most states, the MPJE (Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination).  A few states have slightly different requirements, but the NAPLEX , MPJE, and internship experience will suffice for the most part. Most of the exams are registered through the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP).

How to Become a Pharmacist

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