How to Become a Clinical Pharmacist

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Pharmacists are medical professionals who specialize in the area of medications. A career in pharmacy can prove to be both rewarding and challenging. The starting salary for a clinical pharmacist can be upwards of ninety thousand dollars per year. The demand for pharmacists is high, and is only expected to increase. This guide will explain the necessary steps to become a clinical pharmacist.

Things You'll Need

  • Desire
  • Patience
  • Good math skills
  • Good science and chemistry skills
  • A desire to help people
  • The ability to work rotating shifts
  • The ability to cope with fast paced stressful situations

How To Become A Clinical Pharmacist

  • In order to become a clinical pharmacist you should begin laying the groundwork early. Taking classes in math, chemistry and science while still in high school is a good idea. These classes will help to prepare you for the more advanced level college courses that you will need to take.

  • When deciding to apply for college, think carefully about your major. While pharmacy schools will accept any major, taking and passing the entrance exam will be easier if you are already majoring in an area such as chemistry or pre med.

  • Think carefully about the college you will attend. The college should have strong math and sciences programs.

  • Once you are accepted into college you can apply to pharmacy school and take the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) upon completing your second year of undergraduate education.

  • Upon being accepted into pharmacy school, you will spend the next three years learning the profession of pharmacy. This will include both classroom and lab work. Your fourth year will consist of various field internships in difference practice settings, such as hospitals, retail pharmacies, etc.

  • After graduating from pharmacy school you will be awarded a Pharm.D or Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Before you can begin working you must sit for the board exam to obtain a license from the state(s) in which you wish to practice.

  • Finally, upon successful completion of the board exam, you can either immediately begin applying for jobs as a pharmacist or decide to enter a one year hospital sponsored residency program to further develop your expertise and become even more attractive to future employers.

Tips & Warnings

  • To be competitive for pharmacy school you must have a solid math and sciences background and achieve a high score on the Pharmacy College Admissions Test.
  • Not all pharmacists work in retail or hospital jobs. You can decide to teach, work for the government, become a consultant or find employment in the private sector doing research. There are many types of employment opportunities available.
  • Pharmacists can sometimes work for extended hours under highly stressful conditions.
  • Weekend work is often required, as is working holidays, nights and evenings.

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