Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) programs are professional programs that prepare students to take pharmacist licensure exams. Students may also choose to earn a Ph.D. in a closely related area, such as pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, or administration, but these programs are typically designed to prepare students for research careers, rather than professional work as pharmacists. Pharm. D. programs combine theoretical coursework with practical experiences such as internships, clerkships, and practical rotations. In total, they take four years to complete.
In order to apply, students need to have completed a two-year pre-pharmacy program. They may also be required to interview in person and submit letters of recommendation and written essays. International students may be required to take the TOEFL. In addition, some schools consider the applicant's previous work or volunteer experience in the admissions process.
Doctor of Pharmacy Program
Common courses in these programs include:
- Basic pharmaceutics
- Patient care
- Biological and medicinal chemistry
- Institutional pharmacy
- Molecular pharmacology
- Pharmaceutical calculations
Graduates with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree are prepared for jobs in a wide variety of pharmaceutical related fields. Some of the most popular careers include:
- Hospital pharmacist
- Drug company salesperson
- Medical scientist
- Retail pharmacist
- Institutional pharmacist
- Pharmaceutical research and development specialist
Graduates of a Doctor of Pharmacy program must pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination in order to be able to work as pharmacists. (www.nabp.net) They may also have to take the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination, which is required by 46 states. Additional certification and licensing requirements may need to be met depending on the student's state of residence.
To summarize, the Pharm. D. is the professional degree that students must earn if they want to become pharmacists. These programs prepare graduates to work in a number of pharmaceutical settings.