Essential Information for Becoming a Pharmacist Online
The job duties of a pharmacist normally include dispensing medications to patients, informing patients of any drug interactions, possibly providing some vaccinations, using pharmacy-related technology, and interacting with insurance companies. Several of the educational steps to becoming a pharmacist can be completed mostly online; however, obtaining a state license to practice must be done in person. The chart that follows illustrates further required skills you need as a pharmacist as well as job growth and salary information for the profession.
|Required Skills||Communication, computer, managerial, analytical skills|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)*||0%|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$126,120|
Source *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Steps to Becoming a Pharmacist Online
It's important to note that only some steps to becoming a pharmacist can be completed online, such as meeting the necessary educational qualifications; however, earning an online degree may require real-world clinical or laboratory experiences, which must be completed in person. It is also not possible to pursue state licensure online.
Step 1: Complete an Online Pre-Pharmacy Program
First, as you are required to have a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree for pharmacist jobs, you need to meet the qualifications for admissions into these programs. Usually, PharmD programs don't require a bachelor's degree for admission; however, prerequisite coursework is usually required. There are some online pre-pharmacy programs that lead to an associate degree. These types of online programs include the prerequisite undergraduate coursework in biology, chemistry, human anatomy, physics, and other subjects that you need to complete in order to apply to a PharmD program.
Step 2: Earn an Online PharmD Degree
The next step in becoming a pharmacist is earning a PharmD degree. It's important to note that while there are some online programs of this type, the majority of PharmD programs are not offered in an online format. Online PharmD programs typically consist of online classes and real-world clinical elements. Some online PharmD programs require that you come to campus for clinical rotations or laboratory work. These on-campus requirements may occur during the summer and last a few weeks.
Step 3: Obtain a State Pharmacist License
After you have earned your PharmD degree, then you must obtain a state license in order to become a practicing pharmacist. Generally, you need to pass two exams for licensure: the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE) or a specific state exam that centers on pharmacy law in addition to the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX), which is an exam that focuses on pharmacy knowledge and skill. You must also complete a certain number of internship hours, with the exact number of hours varying by state. The two exams and internship hours cannot be completed online.
Step 4: Obtain Specialty Certification (Optional)
It is also possible to obtain certification in a specialized field of pharmacy, such as oncology, or to obtain certification to administer immunizations and vaccines. An additional certification is completely optional and usually requires that you pass an exam, pay a fee, and/or meet certain professional experience requirements.