A Pharm.D. degree is required to work as a pharmacist; joint programs offering a master's degree first allow additional studies and a certain degree of specialization. For example, students who focus on pharmaceutical regulation learn about drug manufacturing, research ethics, biotechnology and the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) requirements for marketing products. Those who are studying business or management learn about organizational leadership, accounting and marketing. Most programs require a bachelor's degree in biology, organic chemistry, or related fields; previous courses in microbiology, calculus, physics and chemistry. Programs general take 2-3 years to complete.
Doctor of Pharmacy Degree
Pharm.D. program curricula explore how different drugs can alter biological chemistry in certain ways specific to different types of medical conditions. This training also teaches students how to research different uses of pharmaceutical products. All pharmacy students complete courses that synopsize the different medical specializations, such as cardiology, neurology, emergency care, cancer, nutrition and general surgery. Those pursuing joint master's degree/Pharm.D. programs in pharmacy may also study:
- Pharmaceutical management
- Drug research
- Quality control
- Regulatory compliance
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the basic requirement to work as a pharmacist is having a Pharm.D. degree and state licensure (www.bls.gov). Pharm.D. programs can be completed within two years of study, but some joint programs that also award master's degrees may require three or more years of study.
The BLS projected that demand for pharmacists will grow by 3% during the 2014-2024 decade. In 2015, the BLS also stated that pharmacists earned $121,500 as a median annual wage.
Pharm.D programs provide future pharmacists with essential chemical, biological, legal and ethical topics relevant to the field. Students in these programs will often have the option to pursue a joint master's degree in a related field.