How Long Does It Take To Become A Pharmacist?

A job as a pharmacist might be right for you if you like interacting with people and want to make others feel better. 

All facets of dispensing pharmaceuticals to patients are under the supervision of pharmacists, who are medical experts. 

They often possess graduate degrees in the study of pharmaceuticals, their applications, potential adverse effects, drug interactions, and methods for tracking their usage, results, and development. 

This article will discuss what a pharmacist performs, how long it takes to become one, what training is necessary, and frequently asked questions.

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What is a Pharmacy School like?

Pharmacist Residency Program

Prior to becoming a pharmacist, a residency program following pharmacy school provides you with additional training and supervised experience. 

Although it is not necessary for pharmacists to complete a residency program in order to practice, it does increase your experience. 

Residency program details are provided by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. 

If you want to participate in a residency program following pharmacy school, you must complete the eligibility conditions. 

You’ll need to research the residency programs you wish to apply to because requirements could differ from school to school.


You need to get a license in order to practice pharmacy. 

Pharmacy license requirements differ by state, just like medical licensing requirements do, and you must hold a license in the state where you intend to practice. 

Here is a list of the state requirements for pharmacist licensing. 

To start working as a pharmacist, you must also pass the NAPLEX.

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Is Attending a Pharmacy School Worth It?

1. Fewer Years to Finish Your Education

Many of the conventional top career routes in healthcare require substantial education before you can start working. 

Prepare yourself for 8 to 11 years of post-high school study if you plan to pursue a career as a doctor, surgeon, dentist, or optician. 

You must complete a four-year bachelor’s degree to enter these occupations. 

After that, you’ll have to worry about taking the MCAT or a similar test, in addition to worrying about getting into medical school. 

To obtain your PhD, you will then need to attend medical school for a further four or more years. 

You probably won’t finish your schooling even then.

Doctors of medicine, surgeons, and dentistry experts must complete further training programs that last three to eight years.

However, if you have a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree, you can start working after just six years of study. 

Many programs, including the one at the University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy, would even let you apply without taking the PCAT.

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2. The community’s respect 

Gallup’s annual study, which evaluates professionals based on their honesty and ethics, consistently places pharmacists at the top. 

In conclusion, the majority of Americans consider pharmacists to be among the most respected and well-liked professionals in the country.

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3. Opportunities for Mentorship and Leadership 

A career as a pharmacist is ideal for those who desire a fulfilling profession with leadership potential. 

In many facets of the healthcare system, pharmacists frequently take the lead in important ways. 

For instance, pharmacists are frequently given managerial responsibilities at retail pharmacies where they oversee a team of technicians and other support personnel. 

There are numerous chances to mentor the upcoming generation of pharmacy students. 

For instance, candidates must complete a certain number of hours of training under the guidance of a professional pharmacist in order to obtain a state license to practice pharmacy. 

You can collaborate with these young professionals while advising them on how to maximize their career opportunities.

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4. Contribute to the Lives of Others 

Working in the healthcare sector is one of the best ways to improve the lives of others. 

Pharmacy professionals play a crucial role in the healthcare system. 

Retail pharmacists make sure that patients obtain the proper dosage and medication so they can live the best possible life. 

To ensure that patients may afford the prescription drugs they need, pharmacists also collaborate with insurance companies. 

Research and development of life-saving medications is done by other pharmacists. 

Bottom line: Those who decide to pursue careers in pharmacy can feel good about their choices because they are devoting their lives to improving the lives of others.

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What Schooling Do You Need to Be a Pharmacist?

Medical practitioners who need specialized education and licensing include pharmacists. 

The educational prerequisites and procedures to become a pharmacist are as follows:

1. Graduate with a degree in a relevant field 

Pharmacy professionals need not need a certain degree. 

To enroll in pharmacy school, students must hold at least a two-year degree, but earning a bachelor’s degree with a strong focus in allied health may be advantageous. 

The four science majors of math, physics, chemistry, biology, and anatomy should be prioritized by students while selecting their undergraduate program. 

For those who are considering this professional route, a pre-medicine degree is a suitable choice.

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2. Graduate from the School of Pharmacy 

A four-year pharmacy school program that is approved by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education must be completed by students after they have earned an undergraduate degree (ACPE). 

Students will obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy degree upon satisfactory completion of the program.

This postgraduate degree focuses on the underlying science of drugs and treatments and covers topics including drug absorption rates, medicinal chemistry, toxicology, how drugs function in the body, biopharmaceuticals, public health ideas, ethics and legislation, and elements of prescription management. 

In a variety of pharmacy settings, students can also participate in practical training with qualified pharmacists.

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3. Engage in a Residency program or Internship 

Many students decide to pursue extra training through a residency or internship after graduating from pharmacy school. 

It’s possible that pharmacists who desire to work in a clinical setting must undergo a residency. 

The organization that certifies residency positions is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. 

The Pharmacy Online Residency Centralized Application Service, which can connect applicants with eligible placements, is where students who are interested in completing a residency program may submit their applications.

Secure a State license 

Pharmacy students must complete the aforementioned educational requirements in addition to obtaining a state license to practice before they can begin working as pharmacists. 

To do this, one must successfully complete the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s (NAPLEX) North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NABP). 

Additionally, the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE), which assesses pharmacists’ familiarity with pharmacy law, is mandated in some jurisdictions. 

Before a pharmacist can apply for a license, all states need a predetermined number of hours of practical experience, and some may also demand a background investigation.

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How Long Does It Take To Become a Licensed Pharmacist in 2023?

The amount of education you receive may affect how long it takes you to become a pharmacist. 

After completing high school, six years of schooling are required to become a qualified entry-level pharmacist. 

This entails completing at least two years of undergraduate coursework before earning a four-year pharmacy degree.

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How Much Does It Cost to Become a Licensed Pharmacist in 2023?

The full price of a pharmacy school curriculum can often range from $65,000 to as much as $200,000. 

Despite the expenses, a pharmacy degree is typically considered to have one of the highest ROIs in the healthcare industry. 

Pharmacists were listed by ABC News as having the fifth-best return on college investment out of 20 jobs. 

According to the article, if a graduate’s degree cost approximately $90,000 and they made the median wage of $116,670 with annual repayment terms equal to 10% of their salary ($11,667), it would take them 10.83 years to pay off their student debt.

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Salary and Job Outlook for Pharmacists after Study

U.S. news reports state that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), from 2020 to 2030, there will be a 2% reduction in pharmacist employment. 

To replace pharmacists who move employment or retire, there will be around 11,300 open positions per year. 

 Notably, Pharmacy professionals make an average of $128,710 per year. 

Without a question, the pharmaceutical industry is becoming more competitive. 

By achieving academic success in pharmacy school and building relationships with future companies, you can improve your job prospects. 

You may have a better chance of getting a job as a pharmacist after graduation if you work as an intern at one of the many hospitals, retail pharmacies, or other organizations.

Pharmacy specialists make an average annual salary of $128,710, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

You will be able to live comfortably thanks to your upper middle class status, which is indicated by your wage. 

This implies that at that wage level, pharmacy graduates can still treat themselves to plenty of luxury and enjoyable holidays, even if they incur student loan debt for pharmacy school.

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It can be challenging and time-consuming to become a registered pharmacist. 

There will always be a need for pharmacists, despite the fact that new technologies and understanding about medications are always developing and changing the field. 

If you decide that pharmacy is the career for you, plan on devoting at least six to eight years to getting your degree. 

A career in pharmacy might be successful for you if you do your homework and are prepared.

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Frequently Asked Questions 

Does Becoming a Pharmacist Require a Bachelor’s Degree? 

Pharmacist careers are open to those without a bachelor’s degree. 
To prepare for pharmacy school, you can enroll in a pre-pharmacy program or take the required courses. 
However, before applying, make sure your school’s requirements are met. Some pharmacy schools require a bachelor’s degree.

Is Medical School Required to Be a Pharmacist? 

No, you may become a pharmacist without attending medical school. You can pursue a job as a pharmacist if you have your bachelor’s degree, pre-pharmacy diploma, and pharmacy school degree.

Is the PCAT required? 

The PCAT is often optional for prospective candidates in pharmacy schools. Research the pharmacy schools you wish to attend to find out if the PCAT is required because requirements differ. 

Does Working as a Pharmacist Pay Off? 

Does it merit it? Absolutely! The average annual compensation for a pharmacist is $128,710, and there are numerous career paths you might follow with your degree. 
You can work in long-term care, inpatient or clinical care, community pharmacies, academia, or inpatient or clinical care, to mention a few.

Is Becoming a Pharmacist Difficult? 

It can be difficult to meet all the prerequisites to become a pharmacist because there are so many. 
Although the road ahead may at times be challenging, the six to eight years of demanding education will help you develop into a skilled pharmacist.



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