Pharmacology in any country is in the Top 5 highest paying professions and the US is no exception. To become a pharmacist in the US as well as anywhere else, you have to go through a long and arduous training process. If you are interested in this field, please refer to the content of this blog for a clearer direction in the future.
Why should you consider becoming a pharmacist in the US?
There has never been a better time to consider a career in pharmacy. The demand for trained pharmacy professionals has increased in recent years due to the rapid growth of the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.
In addition, the number of pharmacists in healthcare services is also increasing as pharmacists become more actively involved in the management of drug therapy for patients of all ages. Pursuing a pharmacy degree as well as a career as a pharmacist in the US is not easy. However, nothing is impossible if you have thoroughly researched all the information, considered the relevant aspects, and are confident enough with your academic ability and career goals.
Are pharmacists just people who sell drugs?
When it comes to pharmacists, many people will think of pharmacies and people who work at drugstores. The pharmaceutical industry is much more open. Pharmacists are people who have extensive knowledge of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, understand their ingredients, how they work and interact with other drugs, and how to use them in the correct dosage.
Pharmacists are also known to be researchers in the field of health sciences. They work in laboratories to create, test, and distribute medicines that help the human body fight off disease-causing agents and improve health.
Because of their work related to human health, pharmacists play an important role in social life, even in economics and politics, which you can see most clearly during epidemics, such as the Covid-19 pandemic with the race of pharmaceutical companies in vaccine production and distribution.
What degree is required to practice pharmacy? How long does it take to get this degree?
Because of the importance and high demands of the pharmaceutical industry in the United States, to practice as a pharmacist you must obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree from an accredited pharmacy institution and must pass a federal licensure exam and state. American pharmacy training institutions must be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). A degree in pharmaceutical science or a related discipline will not allow you to practice pharmacy in the US.
The Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD) usually has a training period of 4 years, a few schools shorten it to 3 years. However, high school graduates are often required to complete a 2-year preparatory program before transferring to the PharmD program. With a 2-year foundation course and 3 or 4 years of PharmD study, students will take a total of 5 or 6 years at least to get a degree in pharmacy.
Another route for students to earn a PharmD degree is to complete a 4-year bachelor’s degree in health sciences or related sciences and then apply to study at PharmD. At this time, the time to get this PharmD degree is increased to 8 years.
How is the learning progress?
During your studies at PharmD, you will learn basic pharmaceutical science courses such as pharmacokinetics, pharmacology, pharmaceutical chemistry, and pharmacotherapy. In addition, you will also receive additional teaching courses in areas such as drug safety, pharmaceutical law, and ethics, biostatistics, toxicology, epidemiology, etc.
Experiential education is an important part, so pharmacy students practice a lot in laboratories. In addition, the practical curriculum incorporates many internship opportunities for students. Pharmacy students will be connected to healthcare providers, community pharmacy facilities, and hospitals in simulated situations or real practice. Through this, pharmacy students gain experience in treating diverse patient populations and participate in collaborative patient care decision-making with groups of healthcare professionals.
In addition, demonstrating competence in the community allows students to explore areas of interest and expose themselves to different career opportunities. Successful completion of both academic and practical programs will take between 500 and 1,500 hours, depending on the requirements of each state. The pharmacy degree program prepares you to be eligible to apply for a license to practice as a pharmacist in the United States.
Depending on the state, graduates may need an additional MPJE certification (certificate to be authorized to practice pharmacy at the state level) and must take additional exams in drug administration, insurance, and health care law before when officially practicing pharmacy.
Career opportunities after graduation
Compensating for the arduous journey of conquering with PharmD is a prestigious career in the US, especially when the aging population is growing. In addition to working in pharmacies, pharmacists can decide on different paths such as apothecaries, lecturers at pharmaceutical universities, research and work at pharmaceutical companies, or becoming clinical pharmacists.
In the US, the income of a pharmacist ranges from 83,000 to 137,000 USD/year (according to PayScale 2/2021), which can vary depending on many factors.
Advantages of studying Pharmacology in the US
The US pharmaceutical industry is the largest in the world. Five of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies in the world are headquartered in the United States: Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Merck & Co., AbbVie, and Abbott Laboratories. The industry alone holds almost half of the pharmaceutical market, with domestic drug sales accounting for 48% of the global pharmaceutical market.
The US pharmaceutical industry spends about $60 billion annually on drug research and development, spending more than $2.6 billion on average on the development of a new drug. The American pharmaceutical industry has shouldered the responsibility of developing and manufacturing some of the most innovative and best-selling drugs in the world. Drugs made in the USA have been known to treat several dangerous diseases.
The explosive growth of the US pharmaceutical industry with a large and vibrant market has driven the need for pharmacists with specialist training. Accordingly, the pharmacy training institutions are selected, certified to ensure teaching quality, worthy for you to choose to launch a promising career in the future. Some good pharmaceutical training schools can be mentioned as the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, University of California–San Francisco, University of Illinois-Chicago, University of Wisconsin – Madison, University of Duquesne, University of Texas – Austin, University of Maryland – Baltimore, University of Utah, University of Iowa, University of Arizona, University of Kansas, Auburn University, Northeastern University, Oregon State University, Washington State University, Mercer University…