How Many Years Of School To Become a Pharmacist
Traditionally in the United States, the Bachelor of Pharmacy was the first-professional degree for pharmacy practice. However, in 1990, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) mandated that a Doctor of Pharmacy would be the new first-professional degree beginning with the class of 2006.
Depending on the college of pharmacy attended, the student may need to have a bachelor’s degree before starting. Some colleges used to allow students to complete 2-3 years of prerequisites and enter without a degree, but now the federal law requires that you have a bachelor’s degree in order to go to a college of Pharm. So the Doctor of Pharmacy degree takes 8 years of schooling.
Today, individuals seeking to become pharmacists must first complete a pre-pharmacy undergraduate program. This program consists of a minimum of 60-90 semester credit hours (90-100 quarter credit hours) of undergraduate coursework in basic and advanced sciences; however, many students find completion of a four year program (between 120-130 semester credit hours) leading to a Bachelor of Science degree in biology, chemistry, or a similar field enhances their chances of admission. In addition, a PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test) score is required at most colleges and schools of pharmacy. Additional requirements for entry may include essays, references, an interview or participation in other on-campus activities.
After admission, a student will typically complete a four year pharmacy program, although some schools offer accelerated three year programs. The curriculum typically begins with courses in physiology and pathophysiology, medicinal chemistry, pharmacognosy, pharmacology and toxicology. Once a student is proficient in these core pharmaceutical sciences, instruction in evidence based therapeutic application of pharmacologic agents begins. Aside from usage of agents, students are taught to recognize and assess risk factors for disease, interpret clinical data and recognize interactions of drugs and disease states.
While most schools teach the core science courses separately, some schools take a systems-based approach, teaching all of the material from physiology to therapeutics for a particular body system before moving on to another. Augmenting the pharmaceutical sciences, courses in ethics, management, pharmacy law, communications, public health and advocacy are taught throughout the professional program.
In addition to didactic work, students of pharmacy are required to have practice experience. These experiences are generally directed by the school, conducted under the supervision of a preceptor and are intended to complement work done in the classroom. The final year of most programs consists entirely of practice experience. Successful completion of the practice experience objectives may yield academic credit and satisfy state pharmacy board requirements for internship.
Upon completion of all professional curriculum and practice experiences, the student will graduate and be awarded the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree and typically seek licensure by examination.
Pharmacists must be licensed by the state pharmacy board of the state in which they wish to practice, with one exception: A pharmacist with an active license may practice in a federal facility regardless of the state which issued the license.
In order to obtain an initial license, or license by examination, a candidate must have graduated from an AACP accredited school or college of pharmacy, satisfy requirements for internship, write and pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX), in some states write and pass the Multi-state Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE) and sometimes an additional state exam. Upon licensure, one may then be designated “Pharmacist” or “Registered Pharmacist” (“R.Ph.”), as usage of these titles are generally regulated by state governments.
A pharmacist in good standing may reciprocate an active licensure by examination to another state. Typically the requirements for licensure by reciprocity are less intensive and may require as little as passing an additional law exam.
After obtaining a license, it must be periodically renewed by completing continuing education and other requirements as prescribed by the state of licensure.
A new pharmacy graduate may choose to complete an optional post-graduate residency (one to three years) rather than entering directly into pharmacy practice. A pharmacy residency consists of one to two years of general residency and one to two years of specialized residency. Residencies allow a graduate to further hone their clinical skills in a structured environment.
From the US Bureau of Labor
Pharmacists must earn a Pharm. D. degree from an accredited college or school of pharmacy. The Pharm. D. degree has replaced the Bachelor of Pharmacy degree, which is no longer being awarded. To be admitted to a Pharm. D. program, an applicant must have completed at least 2 years of post-secondary study, although most applicants have completed 3 or more years. Further training can include 1-year or 2-year residency programs or fellowships.
You can get a masters degree in any of the following : human biology, chemistry, physical science or any other subject in science and then spend 2 years in Pharm. school. That is a total of 8 or 9 years.
After gaining the appropriate A levels, it’s a four year masters degree course in university, then one year ‘on the job’ pre-registration, followed by two registration exams.
Bottom line: in the U.S., as of the year 2000 Pharmacy has been a single-level entry degree leading to a Doctorate in Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) in 6 years; residencies are still optional and are 1 year (or 2 years for specialized residencies).