The role of a pharmacist has never been more important. With the corona virus pandemic sweeping the globe and health care a national priority, pharmacists are on the front lines. For this reason, there are nearly 322,000 pharmacists gainfully employed in the United States.
Such an important profession requires significant education, testing, and licensing. Read on to learn how to become a pharmacist. Explore five tips that every new pharmacist needs to know before starting their career.
1. Get a Professional Degree
In order to become a pharmacist, you need to get a Doctor of Pharmacy. This is another 4-year degree after you complete a bachelor’s degree in undergraduate school.
To get into an accredited pharmacy school, you need to take the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT). Once in school, students take courses in chemistry, pharmacology, and medical ethics.
With your elective courses, some students choose business classes. This way, they can learn how to run their own business in the future instead of working at a hospital or retail site.
2. Do an Internship
Most Doctor of Pharmacy programs require completion of supervised work experience. This usually amounts to an internship or residency at a hospital or other pharmacy site.
While internships may be a degree requirement, they can pave the way for new pharmacists to land their first job. Supervised work experience gives you the opportunity to network within the field. You can make professional contacts and use them after graduation to apply for jobs.
3. Obtain a Professional License
In order to serve as a pharmacist or open a new business, you need a pharmacy license. This comes from the state that you plan to work out of.
All states require the passing of professional exams to become licensed. This includes the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam.
Some states administer state-specific exams that go above and beyond these tests. If you plan to administer vaccinations, you will need to complete the American Pharmacy Association’s Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery program.
4. Continuing Education
New pharmacists are not in the clear after receiving their state license. You have to maintain the license and keep it current.
To ensure that you are growing in the profession, each state requires continuing education (CE) credits to maintain a license. CE hours allow you to learn about new medications, exciting clinical trials, and other topics important to your profession.
5. Build a Great Staff
As a pharmacist, you will manage pharmacy technicians and other employees. It is crucial for you to hire and develop a great staff around you. This will make your life easier in a busy profession.
You also use your status to mentor up-and-coming pharmacists. Some pharmacists give back to their profession by mentoring students and guiding interns. A quid-pro-quo relationship with an intern can help both parties succeed and grow.
A Recap of Five Tips for New Pharmacists
Becoming a pharmacist is not easy. It requires many years of education and passing difficult exams.
In the end, however, you will secure a career that is rewarding and helps people live longer and healthier. Following these tips for pharmacists will help you find success.
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