Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.)

Pharmacy is becoming an increasingly important field in the current state of medical care, as more pharmacists are counseling patients in planning therapy regiments.  A pharmacist is not just the person behind the counter at a drug store that dispenses prescription medication to patients.  Although this is part of what a pharmacist does, they also act as advisors to doctors and other healthcare professionals about dosages and side effects of medications.  Pharmacists also explain doctors’ instructions to patients about how to use their medications safely and effectively.

Pharmacists enjoy an array of employment opportunities upon completion of pharmacy school.  Clinical pharmacists may work in retail drugstores such as Wal-Mart or Walgreens, while some own their own pharmacy and run a business doing so.  Pharmacists can also work within a hospital helping physicians customize medicine solutions for intravenous use in patients. Pharmacy school graduates interested in research may work for pharmaceutical companies testing the effects and side effects of different medications.  Similarly, pharmacists can work for insurance companies developing pharmaceutical benefit packages for customers.  Experienced pharmacists may return to pharmacy school as professors, teaching the next generation of pharmacists and conducting research.  There are also specialized services available to pharmacists.  These pharmacists typically deal with one or more specific conditions such as diabetes or asthma, helping patients with correct medicine and dosages to help their affliction. Similarly, some pharmacists work in home healthcare, preparing and monitoring treatments for the home setting.  Other pharmacists may work for the government, armed services, or public health organizations.

Medical Exposure

Pharmacy colleges look for applicants to have a comprehensive knowledge of the profession when applying to their program. Some programs require applicants to have volunteer or paid experience within either a pharmacy or other healthcare related setting.  However, volunteer or work experience within the pharmacy setting may be an important factor in the admissions decision of pharmacy colleges.  Because finding volunteer or work related opportunities may be difficult in your area, it is advisable to contact specific programs to see how you can gain a better understanding of the pharmaceutical profession.

Application Process

Applications for pharmacy school are submitted online through the Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS), the only centralized application service for students applying to pharmacy school.  PharmCAS offers students a convenient way to research and apply to multiple pharmacy schools with a single online application.  Approximately two-thirds of pharmacy programs in the U.S. use (PharmCAS) for admission, please visit the PharmCAS website for more information on the application process and requirements.


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