Undergraduate pre-pharmacy degree programs supply aspiring pharmacists with the academic credit necessary to enroll in a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program. For this reason, many universities offer pre-pharmacy bachelor's programs that can segue easily into a Pharm.D. program. These programs require incoming students to have a high school diploma.
Regardless of the specific degree title, pre-pharmacy programs provide students with an educational background in mathematics, biology and health science. Students receive classroom and laboratory instruction on the basic scientific concepts of cell structure, chemistry and physics. In addition to completing a pre-pharmacy program, aspiring pharmacists may have a better chance of acceptance to pharmacy school if they have worked or completed an internship at a pharmacy.
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Pre-Pharmacy Degree Programs
A pre-pharmacy undergraduate degree program often does not contain courses that relate specifically to pharmacology. Instead, such programs introduce students to the scientific building blocks of the field. Typical courses include:
- Geometry and calculus
Popular Career Options
Pre-pharmacy degree programs are specifically designed for aspiring pharmacists. They will not lead to entry-level positions as pharmacy technicians or aides. Graduates must complete a Pharm.D. program and gain licensure prior to seeking employment in the field.
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expected pharmacists to see job growth of 3% from 2014-2024. The median annual salary for pharmacists in May 2015 was $121,500, according to the BLS.
Licensure and Continuing Education
In order to gain admittance into a Pharm.D. program, pre-pharmacy graduates are often required to take an admissions test. Pharm.D. programs can take about 4-5 years to complete and cover topics such as pharmacology, drug therapy and patient care. In the final years of their doctorate program, students will complete a pharmacy residency or fellowship position. Pharm.D. graduates must pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam before they can become a licensed professional pharmacist.
Students interested in earning a Pharm.D. and licensure to become practicing pharmacists first need to complete specific undergraduate prerequisite courses. A pre-pharmacy bachelor's program often includes these prerequisites, which are typically focused on math and the sciences.