The college education needed to become a practicing pharmacist is rigorous, according to Perdue University's College of Pharmacy. At least two years of prerequisite college courses must first be completed before entering a four-year Doctor of Pharmacy program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. After receiving the professional degree, graduates must pass state exams to receive licensure. Those with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree earn average annual salaries of $86,200 to $134,600 in July 2010, reports PayScale.
Although specific classes and prerequisite requirements that must be completed before applying for a Doctor of Pharmacy program differ slightly from college to college, common classes for pre-professional study include general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, general biology, animal biology, microbiology, human anatomy, physiology, calculus and statistics. Other prerequisite courses that may be required include physics, immunology, English and economics, according to Perdue University's curriculum that goes into effect in the fall of 2012.
Although course titles differ for studies toward a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, typical courses related to pharmaceutical studies often include pharmaceutical calculations, biopharmaceutics/pharmacokinetics, pharmacy practice laboratory, pharmacy law and ethics, community pharmacy, institutional pharmacy, pharmacology and pharmacy administration. Other courses some schools may require include pharmacogenomics, hospital pharmacy, pharmacotherapy and internal medicine pharmaceutical care, states Perdue University and the University of Wyoming.
Courses Related to Health Care
Doctor of Pharmacy program students must take certain courses related to health care and the medical field. Although course titles vary, some required classes include dosage forms, therapeutics, patient care, public health/wellness and ambulatory care. Other required courses offered by Perdue University include principles of diagnosis, labs and monitoring; health care systems; population management; patient safety and informatics; and health policy applications.
Pharmacists must have a good grasp of various categories of the sciences. These courses necessary for students enrolled in a Doctor of Pharmacy program may include biochemistry, physiology, pathophysiology, medicinal/natural products chemistry and toxicology.
Students working toward a professional degree to become practicing pharmacists must be well-versed in all aspects of medicinal drug use and lingo. Required drug-related courses include drug use process, drug literature evaluation and drug therapy.
Although there may not be much time for elective courses for busy Doctor of Pharmacy students, any required electives taken should relate to the field of pharmaceuticals to be effective and provide the best education for entering the field as pharmacists. Elective options can include classes in psychology, Spanish, drug abuse, geriatrics, business or technical writing, nuclear pharmacy and nonprescription drugs (OTCs), suggests Perdue University.