You have done all the research. You have put in hours of thought and consideration. After a long deliberation it hits you. I want to be a Pharmacist. You feel great. You made the decision. The only question remaining is…how do I become a Pharmacist? If you are like the thousands of individuals contemplating a career in pharmacy then you have asked yourself that very question. So what is the answer? The short answer is, attend a pharmacy school. The long answer is a little more complicated. However, the good news is, three easy steps can get you on the path to becoming a pharmacist.
Step One: Think About What You Want To Do After You Graduate
That may sound a little daunting and you may be asking yourself: how can I know what I want to do after graduation when I have not even begun pharmacy school yet? That is a great question, but thinking about what you want to do after you graduate is a critical first step to graduating and ultimately becoming a pharmacist.
Why? Well, the main reason why is the field of pharmacy is evolving and branching off into many different and diverse directions. A graduating Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) has more options now than ever before.
The profession of pharmacy has reached a new stratosphere and with that elevation comes new and exciting career choices. Graduating PharmDs are going into research, medication development, clinical work and beyond. So continue your research, shadow a working pharmacist and put some serious thought into where you would like to go after graduation because it could greatly impact your future and the decisions you make.
Step Two: Pick the Right Pharmacy School For You
This is where the work in completing the first step really begins to pay off. Not all pharmacy schools are the same. Some focus on different fields of pharmacy. Some provide an education which is more clinically grounded while others focus on retail pharmacy or even medication research. Therefore, having an idea of what you want to accomplish after graduation can be paramount in choosing the right school.
Visit as many schools as you can. Ask questions regarding the school’s education focus. Meet with faculty and staff. Pick their brains about the program and the required classes and most importantly, sit down with current pharmacy students. Ask them how they like the program, education structure and what it takes to thrive in their education environment. Don’t forget, you are going to be at your chosen pharmacy school for at least six years. So put in the time and make sure you select the best overall education atmosphere for you and your aspirations.
Step Three: Build Experience
You have thought about what you want to do after graduation. You have selected a school and began your classes. Now what? Good question. Along with excelling in the classroom, the only thing left for you to do is build real world patient experience.
Now more than ever it is crucial for graduating PharmDs to have clinical experience. So volunteer at a local hospital, pursue an internship or even secure a part-time job in a pharmacy. Do whatever you feel will give you the experience you need to succeed and build as much real world patient experience as possible.
Sit back, the hardest part is over. You made your decision. You want to be a pharmacist. Now all you have to do is follow three easy steps and you will be on your way to achieving your dreams in the rewarding field of pharmacy.