While students learn how drugs are created and dosages are formulated, a Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science degree program does not prepare a graduate for the licensing examination to become a pharmacist. With a bachelor's degree and some work experience, graduates are eligible to apply for relevant certification. Some schools require that students select a degree concentration, such as pharmacology or pharmaceutical analytical chemistry. Much of the coursework takes place in the classroom, and laboratory courses give students hands-on experience.
Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science
While some pharmaceutical science programs will accept new high school graduates, most require completion of two years of a pre-pharmaceutical curriculum. Coursework in a pre-pharmaceutical curriculum generally includes biology, chemistry, physics and calculus. Courses focus on the sciences, with chemistry and biology predominating. In addition, students may serve internships with pharmaceutical companies, university research labs or with government agencies. Course topics may include:
- Physiology and anatomy
- Pharmaceutical manufacturing
- Technical writing
- Quality control
Popular Career Fields
The Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science is the fundamental degree for anyone interested in a career in drug research and development, pharmaceutical marketing or drug regulation. Career fields may include:
- Dosage forms and drug delivery systems
- Drug testing
- Drug analysis and development
- Sales and marketing
- Pharmaceutical economics
Employment Outlook & Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of pharmacy technicians is projected to increase by 5% from 2019 to 2029 (www.bls.gov). Biological technicians should expect to see growth of 4% during that same decade. As estimated by the BLS in 2020, pharmacy and biological technicians earned median annual salaries of $35,100 and $46,340, respectively.
Continuing Education and Professional Certification
Students can pursue advanced degrees after earning their Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science. The Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Pharmaceutical Engineering degree program trains graduates to use technology in a rapidly changing industry. Some graduates of this program go on to earn doctorates in fields such as medicinal chemistry. Others become pharmacists by earning a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree and obtaining a license in their state to practice pharmacy.
The National Registry of Microbiologists, part of the American Society for Microbiology, certifies scientists in the pharmaceutical industry. Candidates for certification must hold a bachelor's degree with at least 20 credit hours of microbiology courses and one year of work experience, or 12 credit hours of microbiology and seven years' experience.
Bachelor's degree programs in pharmaceutical science prepare students for careers in pharmaceuticals, including drug testing, sales and marketing, and drug analysis and development.