It’s important to know how to become a pharmacist, if this is the path you wish to take. The more information you have, the better you can prepare. Also, if you start preparing earlier, you can tailor your plans better. Consider these steps carefully.
Your basic education
The education of a pharmacist is rather specialized. There are different programs available which can have different requirements. For instance, some programs require 2 to 3 years of college education. This will tend to be focused on relevant courses. Other programs will require applicants to already have bachelor’s degrees.
Once you pass the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT), you start the program proper. Again, the programs have some differences. Some programs require 4 years to complete, while others can be finished in 3. Once you finish the program, you have to pass two licensure exams.
Possible higher education
If you want to be able to apply for more advanced positions, you need more credentials. You’ll need to take a residency program after passing your basic pharmacy education. This residency will take 1 to 2 more years.
You might also consider getting a master’s or doctoral degree in a related field later. This will allow you to move up the career ladder in your institution. If, however, you choose the entrepreneurial route, you might want to take courses in business. This will help you start and manage your own pharmacy.
Relevant work experience
If you’re applying for a particular position, relevant work experience will help. This shows that you have the qualities of a good pharmacist. Work experience can come from part-time jobs or internships. Or you could also volunteer or do unpaid work, for the experience.
Try to build work experience which shows that you have good attention to detail. This is a quality that is important in pharmacists. The drugs that you dispense can be very potent. You need to be able to do this correctly, for different patients, all day long.
Improve your ability to communicate
It would be helpful if you can show that you’re good at communicating. This quality is very important as you deal with customers. After all, pharmacists don’t just hand out medicines like candy. Customers will expect you to be able to answer questions.
In fact, this can take up a lot of your time. People will look to you as an expert on drugs, so you need to be able to explain well. You need to speak in a way which allows them to understand. If you can do this, point it out when you’re applying for work.
A lot of education is required in order to be a pharmacist. This is expected given the nature of the work. Make sure to consider these steps as you follow this career path.