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Online Pharm.D. programs are usually offered to licensed pharmacists who hold a bachelor's degree in pharmacy. For that reason, courses are designed to complement their current experience while enhancing their knowledge and skills in the field. Programs are typically offered in a hybrid format, which combines both online and on-site requirements, and they take roughly 3-4 years to complete.
Students enrolled in an online Pharm.D. program learn to identify drug-related problems while applying drug information to real-world situations. They gain intensive knowledge of various disorders and the drugs typically used to treat them. During a typical three-year online degree program, students participate in online chats and conference calls with professors and peers while completing courses such as:
- Foundations of pharmaceutical care
- Cardiac disorders
- Circulatory disorders
- Respiratory diseases
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Psychiatric disorders
- Clinical practice assessments
While students in a distance learning pharmacy program may be able to watch lectures, complete assignments and take part in class discussions in an online classroom, they must also participate in clinical experiences in order to graduate. Clinical components, which allow students to apply their knowledge and skills in a real-world setting, may be held at an approved healthcare facility as well as on campus. Some programs may require students to attend orientations or other events on campus a few times throughout the program.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were about 295,620 working pharmacists in the United States in 2015 (www.bls.gov). Most of these individuals were salaried employees, with about 23% working in hospitals. A number of other working professionals were self-employed business owners. Employment opportunities for pharmacists were predicted to grow about 3% from 2014-2024, which is slower than average. The increasing number of elderly and ailing people living in the country will drive up the need for licensed pharmacists. The median annual salary for pharmacists in 2015 was $121,500, the BLS reports.
Online bachelor's degree programs in pharmacy are not usually available, but there are several fully online Doctor of Pharmacy programs. These programs help the student develop an in-depth understanding of various disorders and the drugs normally used to treat them.