Dual degrees that issue a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) and physician assistant (PA) titles are not common in the United States. A select few schools have joint programs with specific plans of study allowing you to earn both degrees. These can take anywhere from five to seven years to complete.
Course Information for PharmD and PA Dual Degree Programs
A dual PharmD and PA degree should combine clinical experiences in pharmaceutical and physician settings with lab experiences and lecture courses that focus on chemistry, anatomy, and biology. Your schedule might separate the two degrees into their own timelines, or you may find a program that integrates the two plans of study into one cohesive schedule.
In this course, you can learn some of the fundamentals to working as a pharmacist and recognizing a number of different prescription drug options for your future patients. Your time in the lab might focus on several different systems within the human body, including cardiovascular, central nervous, and skeletal. You could also study the basics of patient counseling and the necessary physical assessment that you will need to perform as a pharmacist.
This traditional doctoral course is set up as a seminar, where you will review current research in a number of scientific journals within the pharmaceutical and academic communities. Your ability to analyze and critique the findings within each article can be tested in group settings, and your projects could involve writing your own academic paper so submit to journals. You might end up presenting an article at a conference and representing your university.
As a physician assistant, you may end up working in an emergency room. In this class, you can discover the atmosphere of emergency medicine and how to evaluate initial diagnoses of trauma, along with standard emergency procedures when a patient presents with a possible life-threatening injury. You could cover all aspects of emergencies, including toxicology, cardiac arrest, and spinal injuries.
This classroom-based course focuses on the use of pharmaceuticals and drugs to treat patients. You could use these topics to your advantage if you find employment in a primary-care office. Topics such as choosing the correct medications and reducing risk factors can also be covered, along with alternatives to pharmaceutical treatments.
During your clinical rotations, you could observe several different wings of a hospital. One rotation could take you through a surgical department, where you can learn about the different stages of surgery, including procedures before and after an operation is complete. Your decision-making skills and critical analysis can be tested during your time in this course.
Admission Requirements for PharmD and PA Dual Degree Programs
Applying to a program that grants PharmD and PA degrees can sometimes require different documentation and previous coursework. Certain schools admit pharmacy and physician assistant candidates directly from high school, while others consider it a graduate program to be entered after earning an initial degree. Be sure to check the requirements of each school you apply to; some look for as many as thousands of hours of clinical experience, while others recommend you take several high school classes in science and algebra. If the program requires GRE scores, ensure that yours meet the minimum levels necessary for consideration.
A PharmD and PA dual degree is rare in the United States, but the correct preparation during high school and/or undergraduate college courses can help to boost your application. You can expect to place equal emphasis on classroom and clinical studies.