How Much Education Does a Pharmacist Need?

A Pharm.D. is the minimum education required for pharmacists in the U.S. However, many pharmacists choose to pursue additional training.

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Educational Requirements

To become a licensed pharmacist, you must earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from an accredited pharmacy school and pass two exams.

Pharmacy Technician

A pharmacy technician is someone who works in a pharmacy under the supervision of a licensed pharmacologist. They help fill prescriptions, take inventory, and assist customers.

In order to become a certified pharmacy technician, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent. You must also complete an accredited pharmacy technician program and pass a certification exam. Some states also have additional requirements, such as passing a background check.

Education for Pharmacists

In the United States, a pharmacist must have a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from an accredited pharmacy institution and a license to practice.

Most pharmacy programs last four years and award the Pharm.D. degree upon completion. These programs include courses such as medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacy practice, as well as general education courses.

After completing a Pharm.D. program, pharmacists seeking licensure must pass 2 examinations—a written exam and a practical or skills-based exam— administered by the state board of pharmacy where they wish to practice.

Types of Pharmacist Careers

Most pharmacists need a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from an accredited pharmacy program. Pharmacists who want to specialize or conduct research need additional training. Many pharmacists complete a 1- or 2-year residency or fellowship program after completing their degree. These programs provide advanced training in a specific area, such as geriatric pharmacotherapy or infectious diseases.

Clinical Pharmacists

Clinical pharmacists are experts in drug therapy. They work with physicians and other health care professionals to ensure that patients receive the best possible care. Clinical pharmacists manage medication regimens for patients with chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and asthma. They also work with patients who have multiple medications to ensure that they are taking them correctly and not experiencing any harmful side effects.

Community Pharmacists

Community pharmacists are the most common type of pharmacist. They work in pharmacies, including those in grocery and drug stores. They dispense prescriptions and counsel patients on the use of prescription and over-the-counter medications. They also provide immunizations and other preventive health care services.

Some community pharmacists work in hospital admissions or outpatient clinics. They may also provide services to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

Consultant Pharmacists

Consultant pharmacists typically work for consulting firms or in solo practices. They may contract with long-term care facilities, home health agencies, hospitals, and other organizations to provide a variety of services. These services may include:

-Conducting medication use evaluations
-Making recommendations to improve the quality of patient care
-Participating in drug Utilization Review (DUR) programs
-Monitoring patients for adverse reactions to medications
-Providing staff education on drug therapy and changes in the field of pharmacy

Hospital Pharmacists

Hospital pharmacists are responsible for the medications given to patients in the hospital. They consult with doctors and nurses to ensure that patients are getting the correct medication at the correct dosage. They also fill orders for medications and monitor patients for side effects. A hospital pharmacist must have a doctor of pharmacy degree and a license to practice.


Pharmacists can specialize in various areas of practice. The most common specialization is in hospital pharmacy, where pharmacists dispense medications to patients in a hospital setting. There are also community pharmacists, who work in retail pharmacies, and nuclear pharmacists, who dispense radioactive medications.

Nuclear Pharmacy

In order to become a nuclear pharmacist, you will need to complete a four-year Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program and complete a one-year residency program in nuclear pharmacy. Alternatively, you could complete a two-year Master of Science in Pharmacy (M.S.P.) program followed by a two-year residency in nuclear pharmacy. Once you have completed your education and training, you will be eligible to take the Nuclear Pharmacy Specialty Certification Exam offered by the Board of Pharmacy Specialties.

Oncology Pharmacy

Oncology pharmacy is a branch of pharmacy that specializes in the safe and effective use of cancer chemotherapy drugs, biological products, and radiopharmaceuticals. Oncology pharmacists work closely with oncologists, nurses, and other healthcare providers to ensure that patients receive the most effective cancer treatments possible.

Most oncology pharmacists have a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy, although some may have a master’s degree or doctorate. In addition to formal education, oncology pharmacists must complete specialized training in cancer chemotherapy and be licensed to practice in their state.


Pharmacotherapy is the medical science of assessing, managing and preventing medication-related problems. It is a branch of pharmacy that is concerned with the safe and effective use of medication in the treatment and prevention of disease.

Pharmacists are uniquely positioned to provide pharmacotherapy services because of their knowledge and expertise in the use of medications. Pharmacotherapy services can be provided to patients in a variety of settings, including community pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities.

Psychiatric Pharmacy

Psychiatric pharmacy is a field of pharmacy that deals with the prescription and dispensing of medications for mental illnesses. Psychiatric pharmacists work with patients, families, and other health care providers to ensure that patients receive the best possible care.

Psychiatric pharmacists are responsible for the safe and effective use of medications used to treat mental illness. They also provide education and counseling to patients and families about the use of these medications. In some cases, psychiatric pharmacists may also provide direct patient care, such as performing physical examinations, ordering laboratory tests, and providing patient education.


Toxicology is the scientific study of the adverse effects of chemicals on living organisms. It is a relatively new science that began to develop in the early 20th century as a result of the need to understand the toxic effects of the increasing use of synthetic chemicals in industry and warfare.

Toxicologists work in a variety of settings, including academia, government, and the private sector. They may work as independent consultants or as part of a team of scientists conducting research on the safety of a particular chemical or group of chemicals. Toxicologists may also work in clinical settings, where they help to diagnose and treat patients who have been exposed to toxic substances.

Pharmacists with a specialization in toxicology may work in poison control centers, where they provide information and advice to people who have been exposed to poisonous substances. They may also work in clinical pharmacies, where they dispense medications and provide information about their proper use.

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