Job OverviewIf you plan on pursuing a career in this field, the first thing you need to know is that pharmacists are extremely knowledgeable healthcare professionals who study medical science and are dedicated to assist in the proper use and regulation of drugs and medicine.
Dealing directly with the care and safety of patients and the proper administration of drug based treatments, pharmacists need to have a considerable amount of knowledge about the proper dose involved in administering the right type of medicine for a particular ailment, providing appropriate guidelines for the avoidance of side effects and much more.
SalarySurprisingly enough, being a pharmacist really pays off, as not only can salaries reach a value of up to $133,000 per year, but they rarely fall under the $70,000 mark. So if you’re planning on becoming a pharmacist, you’re definitely looking at a prospect of earning big money.
Keep in mind, however, that the pay offered by different national employers does tend to differ so that some of them provide fewer benefits than others. On a happier note, however, the financial benefits of being a pharmacist get even better as you spend more time on the job, with bonuses reported at more than $1,000 for those with more than 5 years of experience.
TrainingA pharmacist’s job is not considered to be as difficult or stressful as most of those associated with the medical field. Still, becoming a licensed pharmacist is not that easy, as you definitely need to study hard starting from high school, and a few landmark tests and exams have to be passed before you can even consider finding a job in this area.
Following are a few steps you should consider taking in order to have the best chance of becoming a licensed pharmacist:
- Graduating from high school and getting your bachelor’s degree are only the first steps of a long process, and you need to find a 4 year school that offers a 2-year pre-pharmacy program before applying to pharmacy school.
- The admission process associated with pharmacy schools is made slightly difficult by the PCAT test – an exam that will test both your academic and scientific skills.
- Becoming a doctor of pharmacy requires 4 years of study with subjects such as medical ethics and pharmacology taken at one of the major pharmacy schools in the country.
- Finally, you need a license in order to legally practice pharmacy anywhere in the USA. For this, you have a choice of either taking the NAPLEX and MPJE tests. The latter is not accepted in some states, however, where similar tests are required as an alternative.
Reviews & AdviceDeciding to be a pharmacist is not a choice that can be made lightly, and there have been many testimonials according to which those who have become successful in the practice had already started their training well before they tried getting into pharmacy school.
The best way to go about it is to pay special attention during science, biology and chemistry class while you’re attending high school and college, while also attempting to get a good overall score. That way, you not only ensure a fair chance of getting into the best pharmacy schools, but also of coping with the long term training process which can become quite challenging after a while.