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Becoming A Pharmacist: A Handy Guide

If you have always had a passion for science, then working as a pharmacist just might be the ideal career for you.

If you are unsure what it is a pharmacist actually does, that’s okay. That’s what we are here for. A pharmacist is the person who dispenses medication to patients and explains to them how to use it properly.

Pharmacists can also give advice on the best non-prescription medicines and treatments and can also help patients track what drugs they are taking.

As well as being able to advise doctors about the best medicines for certain illnesses and ailments.


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If you are a people person, are interested in medicine but don’t want to be a doctor or nurse, then pursuing a career in the pharmaceutical industry could be right for you.

However, before you  book yourself onto a pharmacist course, there are some important things you need to know about the role and what being a pharmacist entails.

To give you an insight into what being a pharmacist is like, we have put together a handy guide to everything you need to know. To find out more, keep reading below:

Ask yourself whether you have what it takes

Becoming a pharmacist is no easy task, there is a lot to learn, courses are highly competitive and the workload is heavy. You ability to get a place on a good pharmacist course and succeed with your studies will depend a lot on your aptitude and ability for science. You will need to be skilled in biology, chemistry, and physics.

Think about how you did in your school exams and how much you enjoyed studying the sciences, as well as how well you did in mathematics, calculus and geometry. To become a successful pharmacist, you not only have to be a skilled scientist, but also a skilled mathematician.

As well as having the academic knowledge, to be a pharmacist you also need to be a people-person and a good listener. You must also be good at explaining things to others and must be confident dealing with members of the public.

Ask yourself whether the job role excites you

One of the most important things you need to ask yourself about becoming a pharmacist is whether the job role excites you. To get an idea of whether working as a pharmacist will excite you, have a look online at the pharmacy technician job outlook and prospects. If you like what you see, then a career in pharmacy is probably right for you.

Think about the pros and cons

There are many pros of working as a pharmacist, from helping others to assisting medical staff, working as a pharmacist is a rewarding career choice. However, there are also some disadvantage to working as a pharmacist, and before you embark on a career as a pharmacist, it is important to take them into account.

While working as a pharmacist is a respected and well-paid job, a career in pharmaceuticals does have some disadvantages.

One of the main disadvantages of becoming a pharmacist is that it requires years of training. Some paths into the pharmaceutical industry can take almost as long as training for a medical career.

Another con of working as a pharmacist is the hours. If you are lucky enough to work in a pharmacy that is only open during the day, that’s fine, but many pharmacists start off working in hospitals and 24 hours dispensaries. Ask yourself whether you are happy to work shifts?

If the pros of becoming a pharmacist outweigh the cons, then keep reading below.

Research the best route

Like with many careers, there are various routes you can take to become a pharmacist – the route you choose to take depends on your personal needs and preferences. Go online and do some research into the best option for you to use to become a pharmacist.

Although there are a few different routes, there are certain things that you must do to become a pharmacist. You must study for and pass a Doctor of Pharmacy degree – this must be from an approved college or educational institute.

Getting a place can be difficult

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The tricky bit for most people is getting a place on a Doctor of Pharmacy degree – places are limited, and the application process is very competitive.

To improve your chance of being successful and getting a place on a course, it is crucial that you have good grades in science. As well as, a good amount of work experience.

There is more work after college

Unlike many degree courses, to work as a pharmacist, there are some additional things you will need to do after completing your degree.

Before you can work as a pharmacist, you need to get a license. Otherwise, you are unable to practice. While what you need to do to get your license varies from state to state, most states require you to take three exams, plus extra tests. You may also be required to complete a certain amount of practical hours as well.

If you have ever had a criminal record – hopefully you haven’t, but if you have, then you may not be able to work as a pharmacist. This depends on where you live and the rules and regulations in place there.

The final step is getting a job

Once you have completed your degree and got your license, the final step to becoming a pharmacist is finding a job.

Before applying for jobs, sit down and think about the type of environment you want to work in. Do you want to work in a hospital environment or would you prefer to work in a chemist? Think about the type of lifestyle you want and look for pharmacist jobs that fit with that.

When applying for jobs, remember that as well as your pharmaceutical skills, employers are also looking for other skills. For example, most pharmaceutical positions will need you to have a good knowledge of IT and be computer proficient.


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