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Becoming a Pharmacist

Pharmacists are key members of the patient’s healthcare team. The professional responsibilities of pharmacists include, drug delivery and medication safety, patient education and advocacy, monitoring drug therapy, and research and clinical studies. While the majority of pharmacists work in community pharmacies, there is an increasing demand for pharmacists in a wide variety of occupational settings. Pharmacists work in hospitals and other institutional settings, managed care facilities, the pharmaceutical industry with careers in product development, marketing, public relations and sales.

In order to become a pharmacist, a student must graduate from an accredited Doctor of Pharmacy or Pharm.D. program. The Pharm.D. degree program typically requires two years of undergraduate coursework followed by four academic years of professional study. The majority of students entering a pharmacy program will have three or more years of college experience.

The pre-pharmacy program at Missouri Southern allows students to meet the pharmacy school requirements while working towards a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Some students choose to major in chemistry to meet the pre-professional requirements of pharmacy school. The classes required for admission into a pharmacy program vary from one pharmacy school to the next but students should expect to take courses in anatomy, physiology, calculus, physics, general and organic chemistry, as well as English and humanities.

Pre-pharmacy students are encouraged to get guidance from their academic advisor and to research different pharmacy school admission requirements.  Many pharmacy programs require applicants to submit scores from the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT). Information about the PCAT exam.

Successful applicants to pharmacy programs typically have work experience or exposure to the pharmacy profession. The Biology Department offers pre-pharmacy students internship opportunities that allow them to work with practicing pharmacists. This is an excellent way to gain knowledge and familiarity with the pharmacy profession.

For more information about the pre-pharmacy program at Missouri Southern, contact one of the Biology Department’s pre-pharmacy advisors: Dr. Dorothy Bay or Dr. Crystal Lemmons.