The man or woman that you see behind the counter in the pharmacy that is available to answer all of your questions is a certified pharmacist. They must know how to measure and mix medications, and they must be able to answer a myriad of different questions about those medications. Here are the things a pharmacist must do for certification for health care.
Just like in most professions, it is best to begin planning and preparing to become a pharmacist while you are still in high school. You will need to take a variety of science and mathematics courses. Learn to write well and express yourself on the written page, and learn all you can about computers. Volunteer to work in a nursing home, pharmacy or hospital during your high school years.
There are three ways that you can become a pharmacist. Most students go to an accredited college and earn a four year degree before going on to pharmacy school. Others opt to go straight from high school into a pharmacy program known as “0-6”. The other option is to go into an accelerated program.
Whichever program you choose should meet these qualifications. The school should be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, they should have top of the line computers, science courses and science laboratories and they should be a member of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.
Most pharmacy schools require two years of specific pre-entry courses to be completed before a student may be considered for acceptance. There are a large majority of students who have at least three years of course work on the undergraduate level and a good number finish a four year degree before applying for pharmacy school.
Once the student finishes the two years of required class work, he will need to take the Pharmacy College Admissions Test. Once he has the test results, he must fill out the application form and gather the materials that are required by the pharmacy school. Some schools require an interview with potential students before acceptance.
The PharmD degree is another 4 years of study resulting in a Doctorate degree in Pharmacy. The total number of years of study for this degree is 6. Pharmacists are, also, required to complete a certain number of hours of experience working under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist.
When the student has finished his degree, he will need to take a variety of tests in order to apply for licensure or certification. Each state is different in what they require. These tests will examine the student’s knowledge of pharmaceutical subjects as well as the pharmaceutical laws of the state where he will be licensed.
The job outlook for pharmacists is above average through 2018. One of the main reasons for this growth is the growing number of older people within the United States who require medications of some kind. The median annual wage for pharmacists is $106,410. Twenty-two percent of pharmacists nationwide make over $120,000 annually.
Gaining certification for health care as a pharmacist is not an easy task. It includes 6 years of education and numerous hours of practice. Add to that the numerous tests a student must take and pass to become licensed, and you have a highly qualified individual.