Some online Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) programs are designed for licensed pharmacists, while others are designed for students seeking initial licensure in the field.
Programs that lead to initial licensure usually require completion of many specific prerequisites in math, English and the sciences prior to admission. These programs typically follow a hybrid format, requiring extensive in-person clinical practica; only didactic coursework is offered online. Course topics include pharmacokinetics, dosage calculation and experimental medicine. Most programs can be finished in 3-6 years.
Doctor of Pharmacy Degree
Pharmacists are responsible for counseling patients, monitoring prescriptions and collecting medical information. A Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree enhances the skills of a practicing pharmacy technician or pharmacy assistant and prepares him or her for work in critical and long-term care facilities as well as private and public health clinics.
Most online Pharm.D. programs have extensive prerequisites, including courses like English, anatomy, biology and calculus.
Because class lessons and tests are available online in common audio and video formats, a computer with Internet access is required. Most programs also have a substantial in-person component. Students are expected to participate in at least five clinical rotations to receive their degree.
A mentor is assigned to each student for personal training and guidance. A typical online program takes 3-6 years to complete, depending on whether a student has full- or part-time enrollment status.
General education courses are often included as prerequisites for admission to Pharm.D. programs. Once enrolled, students focus on coursework directly related to the pharmaceutical profession.
Disorders involving the respiratory, endocrine and reproductive systems are discussed. Students examine the pharmacist's role in treating these illnesses.
Advanced Pharmaceutical Techniques
A pharmacist uses problem-solving skills to create and monitor a patient's drug regimen. In this course, students explore advanced problem-solving techniques like dosage evaluation and biological data analysis.
The ethical concerns of a working pharmacist are discussed. Case studies are used to introduce topics including patient confidentiality and professional judgment.
Career Information for Graduates
According to the BLS, pharmacists typically earned between $87,790 for the lowest-earning ten percent and $161,250 for the highest-earning ten percent as of May 2018. The BLS reported that between 2018 and 2028 job growth for pharmacists will experience little to no change. Increased mail order and online pharmacy sales will decrease the need for pharmacists in traditional retail settings.
Continuing Education Information
To become licensed pharmacists, Pharm.D. graduates take the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX). Many schools offer the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Pharmaceutical Sciences degree to graduates interested in academic or research-based careers, rather than the clinical practice of pharmacy. Ph.D. programs are often campus-based with minimal distance learning options.
Online degree programs in pharmacy typically require significant clinical practica for completion. Students can expect coursework to cover advanced pharmaceutical techniques, ethics and health disorders.