Pharmacists are charged with distributing prescription to individuals as prescribed by their Doctor. Pharmacists also advise patients, Doctor’s and other health care professionals about the selection, proper dosage, interactions with, and side effects of medication. Pharmacists also monitor health and progress of those patients to make sure the medication and dosage is safe and effective. The pharmacist also mixes the ingredients to form the properly prescribed medications.
The pharmacist will also advise customers about health topics in general such as stress management, diet and exercise and the best cough syrup to take. They also provide information on certain products such as home healthcare supplies or durable medical equipment. Pharmacists also help with third party insurance forms and any necessary paperwork. The pharmacist may work in an independently owned pharmacy or part of a pharmacy chain or in a healthcare facility.
A pharmacist must complete an accredited college or school of pharmacy to earn a PharmD pharmacist degree.
This pharmacist degree has replaced the no longer awarded degree in Bachelor of Pharmacy. The prerequisite to be admitted to a pharmacist degree program is the completion of a minimum of two years in specific professional studies, which includes classes in math and science such as biology, chemistry and physics and humanities. Some applicants complete a 3 or 4 year undergraduate program before applying to pharmacy school.
Pharmacist Degree Requirements
It typically takes 4 years to complete a pharmacist degree program. The classes offered are geared toward the student learning about drug therapy, communication with patients and other health care providers regarding medication information and patient care. Some students who graduate with a pharmacist degree participate in a 1 or 2 year residency program and work with a registered professional pharmacist. The residency program is sometimes mandated for those who wish to work in a clinical setting. The residency program is also designed for students who wish to work in a specialized area of pharmacy.
In addition to completion of a pharmacist degree, the pharmacist must obtain a state license by successfully passing a series of exams, which is required in each state in the U.S. and its territories. The NAPLEX, ( North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam) tests the knowledge and skills of the pharmacy candidates. The MPJE, (Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam) is required in 44 states and the District of Columbia. Both of the exams administrated by the NAPB, or National Association of Board of Pharmacy. States that don’t require the MPJE exam have their own pharmacy law exam. Some states also require their own licensing exam unique to their jurisdiction.
Besides requiring the pharmacy candidate to complete and pass the required exams, states also have other qualifications that must be met, including serving a specified number of hours in a practice setting before being licensed, meeting an age requirement and submitting to a criminal background check. Other qualifications not mandated but preferred is for each candidate to have a scientific aptitude, good interpersonal relationship skills and a desire to help others, as well as, being conscientious and detail oriented.