Making a career choice is an important and difficult decision. Making the decision to become a pharmacist requires a commitment of time and money. It is important that you evaluate what the career entails. You should answer the following and other questions on becoming and being a pharmacist:
- What is it like to be a pharmacist?
- Do you have the perseverance to complete 2-3 years of undergraduate training and 4 years of pharmacy school
Once you decide you want to go to pharmacy school, you have more decisions to make on how to get there. Requirements for admissions to the 100+ pharmacy schools in the United States vary considerably. Some schools require a minimum of 2 years undergraduate course work whereas others require 3. For many schools, having a bachelors degree makes a person a strong candidate for admissions, even though the degree may not be required. It is not essential that you decide on which pharmacy school you want to attend immediately as most schools require the same prerequisite courses over the first two years: 1 year Biology, 1 year General Chemistry, 1 year Organic Chemistry, 1 semester - 1 year Physics, Calculus, and Statistics. However, you should start considering schools early in the undergraduate college years to make sure you meet all requirements of the schools to which you might apply. Decision-making factors include geographical location, tuition, requirements for admission, curriculum, and faculty.
If and when you decide to go to pharmacy school, find a good resource for information on the requirements and deadlines. Be organized! Take the PCAT in plenty of time to meet the deadlines and start the PharmCAS application early. Most pharmacy schools have a rolling admissions process, which means they accept students into the professional program before the deadline for admissions.
There is help available. Speak with your pre-health advisor and other faculty members. Speak with pharmacists. Get a job at a pharmacy if possible, or shadow a willing pharmacist.
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