Careers in Pharmacy: How to Become a Pharmacist

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment of pharmacists is expected to grow by 25 percent by 2020.

Pharmacy Career Options

A career in pharmacy awards you with a vast array of areas in which you can practice.

  • In community, hospital and clinical pharmacy practice, you can work directly with patients and with other health professionals to select appropriate drug therapies for patients, evaluate the success of those therapies, and ensure that patients understand their medications.
  • You will have the opportunity to work in more nontraditional settings, such as managed care organizations, pharmaceutical companies, regulatory agencies and many more.  

The University supports the students in selecting the best pharmacy career option for them. Faculty and alumni networks are available for advising and mentoring students. With the University location being near so many healthcare organizations, students have endless options for internships, like learning how to become a pharmacist, and rotations that often lead to employment coming out of pharmacy school.

Licensure

You must be licensed by the state in which you decide to practice. Each state has different licensure requirements, but all require graduation from an accredited college of pharmacy, internship experience and the passing of examinations specified by the board of pharmacy within the state.

North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination

Every state will require you to take the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX), the national licensure exam for pharmacy. The exam is developed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) for use by the state boards of pharmacy as part of their assessment of competence to practice pharmacy. It is a valid and objective examination that tests your mastery of the most important aspects of competent practice, as defined in the NAPLEX competency statements. NAPLEX scores can be transferred from state to state.  NAPLEX Pass rates for Philadelphia College of Pharmacy students can be found at the NABP website.

Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination

Most states also will require you to take the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE). This exam is taken in most states for licensure in that particular state. The exam combines federal- and state-specific law questions.  MPJE Pass rates for Philadelphia College of Pharmacy students can be found at the NABP website.

Internship Experience

Practical experience and hours are required for licensure, but the experience hours vary from state to state. Some states’ requirements are satisfied by the sixth-year clerkship.

Rewarding Futures

Graduates of the PharmD program earn competitive salaries immediately following graduation. According to a survey conducted by our Career Services Division, the department’s alumni from the Class of 2007 earned salaries ranging from $85,000 to $100,000 upon graduating.
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