Do you wish to become a pharmacist? If yes, then you have made one of the best decisions of your life.
Pharmacy graduates’ job outlook is quite impressive. Additionally, they can secure jobs without many years of working experience. All they require is the Pharm.D degree in their hands.
Pharmacy is also a broad profession, meaning you can specialize in whatever area that interests you.
However, most people believe that pharmacy is hard, with many abandoning their dreams of becoming a pharmacist. So here goes the question;
Is being a pharmacist hard as claimed?
Pharmacy is not hard but demanding. The word “demanding” is a good way to describe it. As a student, you should be ready to handle the daily stresses and academic demands.
What makes pharmacy more demanding are the regular lab visits, assignments, cumbersome textbooks, and unfamiliar subjects. But with the right studying methods, students can scale through pharmacy schools successfully.
Besides, you don’t need to have the best grades in pharmacy school to obtain a Pharm. D degree. All you’re required to do is to pass the courses.
Another thing that makes pharmacy more demanding is that various topics are combined into one. These include pharmacology and medicinal chemistry. You’ll even find yourself doing stats.
You should also be ready to dedicate 6-8 years or more, studying pharmacy.
Keep reading to learn more about pharmacy to make an informed decision.
Who Is A Pharmacist?
Pharmacists are present in various healthcare settings. They play important roles as medical doctors and dentists.
Pharmacists are in charge of drug dispensations. They have specialized knowledge of drugs, potential side effects, and more. They’re also called druggists or chemists.
They manage the composition, mechanism of action, effects, and proper use of drugs. They have a significant impact on patients, irrespective of their medical condition. In a clinical setting, when medical doctor recommends a drug, they’re the ones who give the direction for their use.
What You Can Do With Your Pharmacy Degree
You Can Do With Your Pharmacy Degree
Pharmacy is among the best profession in the healthcare sector. No one can deny that. They also have great job prospects. Opportunities also abound for fresh graduates and those with working experience.
Knowing what you can do with your Pharm.D upon graduation is enough to motivate you to keep pushing.
So, where can pharmacists work? Who are their potential employers? These are critical questions you need to know.
Diverse companies are searching for pharmacists now and then. And these are companies that pay handsomely.
As a pharmacy graduate, you’re qualified to work in any healthcare setting of choice. There’re opportunities for retail pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, and even community pharmacy.
Opportunities in academia are also available to graduates interested in becoming lecturers. But besides lecturing jobs, there’re other opportunities for pharmacists in higher institutions.
As a pharmacist, you can work in pharmaceutical industries or drug regulatory bodies.
You can also work as a locum pharmacist. The locum pharmacist is a temporary place and could be either via an agency or a self-employed basis.
Many private sector organizations employ them. There’s an opportunity to work in food and drink companies, including pharmaceutical companies, in the private sector. The full-time position could be research and development, marketing, quality assurance, management, and sales.
Pharmacists can also secure jobs in the public sector, such as the armed forces.
In the armed forces, they can work as military pharmacists for the Army, Air Force, and Navy. In the United States, parmacists sometimes team up with law enforcement agencies to thwart drug diversions.
Veterinary pharmacy practice is another rewarding opportunity for pharmacists. They can work as veterinary pharmacists for university veterinary schools, specialist practices, government departments and agencies, and pharmaceutical companies.
Universities and a wide array of research institutions also employ them.
The good thing about pursuing an academic pharmacist career is the growth opportunity. You can make huge progress pursing higher degrees.
What Pharmacists Do
First and foremost, you need to understand that pharmacy is a demanding career, both in and out of school. You’ll be dealing with numerous persons, including medical doctors and patients.
So you must be ready to handle the daily pressures and have excellent interpersonal skills. Always prescribe the right medication to patients. That’s the most important thing.
For a pharmacist, mistakes aren’t tolerated. One single error in drug prescription can land a pharmacist in serious trouble.
A pharmacist’s role also depends on the position one is occupying. As a hospital pharmacist, your duties involve preparing drugs and ensuring that the prescribed medications are calculated accurately before handed over to patients.
In general, as a pharmacist hired to work in a healthcare setting, you’re automatically responsible for the following;
- The quality of the drugs given to patients
- Making sure that medicines supplied to patients aren’t illegal
- Providing advice and answering patients’ questions about prescribed drugs.
- Giving patients instructions on drug use and possible side effects.
- Ensuring that prescribed medications are the right ones for patients’ medical conditions before leaving the pill counter.
Pharmacists’ duties involve advising physicians about drug therapy, counseling patients on over-the-counter, and prescription drug use in community pharmacies. Pharmacists can help third parties complete health insurance forms and counsel patients on relevant health topics, such as exercise, diet, and stress management.
Most community pharmacists also offer specialized healthcare services to patients with specific conditions. These include patients with asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and smoking cessation.
Note – Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are two different professionals. They both work alongside each other, but pharmacists are more superior. Pharmacists act as supervisors to pharmacy technicians.
A pharmacy technician can do the work of a pharmacist, such as prescribing drugs to patients. However, such drugs can’t be sold to patients without the pharmacist’s permission. Education-wise, pharmacists spend more years in school than pharmacy technicians
Pharmacists Annual Salary
If the job outlook doesn’t get you excited and motivated about becoming a pharmacist, the salary package will do the convincing.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics’ report, pharmacists’ annual average salary is $120,270. The highest-paid pharmacists annually pocket over $157,950, while the lowest-paid pharmacists earn at least $87,120 annually.
All these explain why pharmacy graduates can crush their student loans.
How To Become A Pharmacist
Becoming a pharmacist starts with you submitting your application. But before taking such a step, you need to prepare your mind. You need to spend at least 6 years in school to obtain a Pharm. D. degree.
In all accredited schools of pharmacy, a Pharm.D degree is awarded in place of a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy. The latter was us
Furthermore, this program takes 4 years to complete. Upon completion, you can start your residency or fellowship program, which takes another 1 to 2 years to complete.
Note – Before securing admission to study pharmacy, you must have completed a specific professional study for at least 2 years. The requirements include courses in math and natural sciences (biology, chemistry, and physics), humanities, and social sciences.
Some students have spent 3 or more years in another university or college before applying to study pharmacy, though this is not mandatory.
How To Become Successful As A Pharmacy Students
According to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, over 10% of all students admitted into pharmacy school don’t graduate. Why? The answer is simple; they can’t handle the high demand.
If you want to succeed in the school of pharmacy, consider the following tips.
Change your reading method Straight to the point; are you the type of student that enjoys cramming? You can cram a whole textbook and give everything word for word during an exam.
Now listen, you need to change your reading method. Cramming for a pharmacy exam could be dangerous. Besides, it limits your ability to retain information in your brain for a more extended period.
Remember that you’re not only reading to pass your exams but preparing for life after school.
Therefore, a wise reading approach would be to read and understand. Understand your courses to the point where you can comfortably teach others.
1. Avoid skipping classes
Video technology and online schools are there to make things easier for students. One can remain at home wearing pajamas, while the live class is taking place. You can always go back to the videos whenever you’re free.
But if you want to succeed in pharmacy, start attending classes. No one is saying you should skip your doctor’s appointment or other activities. You shouldn’t. However, if you aren’t sick or have other serious meetings, always attend live classes.
Lecture videos are nothing compared to live classes. There, you can ask questions that will help improve your understanding. There’s also a professional connection established when you attend live classes.
2. Be ready to give complete attention.
Pharmacy is a program that requires 100% attention. If you can’t afford that, you better not pursue a career as a pharmacist.
You must be ready to pay full attention in class, reading, or during lab work.
3. Prepare your mind for the demands ahead.
Many students aren’t aware of the challenges or demands of pharmacy before jumping right into it. And you can’t blame them. If you’re one of them, there’s still time to adjust.
If the demand is beyond you, talk to your professor about it. You can also join active reading groups or hire a tutor.
With numerous factors at play, one can’t help but conclude that passing through pharmacy school is worthwhile. If just have to be ready for the high demands.
Being a pharmacist is a highly rewarding career. There are tons of opportunities waiting for you when you graduate. You can also decide to be self-employed if you don’t like working for anyone.