Pharmacists or pharmacy technicians are intermediaries between a patient and a doctor, that possess knowledge about different drugs prescribed by a doctor. Not only are they trained to understand the dosages and side effects of medication, but are also required to answer queries regarding the health of patients (medication related).
You may also be a hospital pharmacist, where your duties go beyond administering prescribed medication. Here, you work with doctors to create and manage a full-fledged treatment plan for patients.
To become a pharmacist or perform different pharmaceutical jobs, you must attend a pharmacy school that offers a 4 year graduate program known as Bachelor of Pharmacy. Furthermore, you are required to take licensing exams to practice in this field.
Most of the available programs require you to have a bachelor's degree before you can gain admission to these courses. Some, on the other hand, will accept direct admissions into their pre-pharmacy programs once you have completed high school. You need to do some research and decide which one of these courses you would like to pursue.
To enable your admission into a good pharmacy school, you will be required to complete some amount of coursework. The subjects include Mathematics, Biology, Physics, and Chemistry. While these subjects form the core of the program itself, it is essential to gain a foundation in them before you get into a school.
Apart from these subjects, some colleges also require you to take courses in Humanities and Social Sciences. Subjects like English, Sociology, and Psychology will also be required. The job requirement does not only include knowledge of the sciences and that of dispensing medication, but careers in this field require you to understand the core of humanity.
All these subjects help you gain an understanding of human relationships and teach you how to deal with them in the right manner, in order to become a successful pharmacist. Maintaining a good GPA throughout the school is essential to get into the better schools. Anything between 3.5 - 4.0 will always be helpful.
Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT)
Apart from completing the educational requirements, one of the most important admission requirements include taking the PCAT. It is a standardized test that is taken across the country about four times a year, and gages your aptitude to become a pharmacist. It further enables a comparison of your score, among other students who have taken the test.
It consists of five sections viz., Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension, Quantitative Ability, Chemistry (General and Organic), and Biology. As such, the mentioned coursework does not only qualify you for admission into a pharmacy school, it also prepares you for the PCAT.
The higher your percentile in this exam, the greater are your chances of getting into a good pharmacy school. For instance, if you attain a percentile of 70, it will imply that, you have scored better than 70 percent of those who have taken this test. Preparation for the PCAT should begin well in advance in order to be able to attain a good percentile.
Becoming a pharmacist allows you to hold a medical job without having to deal with the intricacies of being a doctor. As such, among the different fields of medicine, pharmacy is one that perhaps allows you to have your cake and eat it too. If you love the sciences and want to do your bit for the people around you, then pharmacy is the career for you.