Lots of people rely on daily medications to stay healthy; others rely on occasional drugs to treat illnesses. Both groups of people rely on their pharmacists to make sure these treatments work effectively: Pharmacists are skilled medical professionals who have an in-depth understanding of the chemistry in each medication, how they act in patients and what happens when combined with other medications. Pharmacists are also educators. Not only do they instruct patients on how to take prescribed medication, they can also serve as health advisors when it comes to diet, exercise, stress and other lifestyle choices.
Pharmacists play an important role in patient health care, and they have the degrees to prove it. According to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacists must have a doctor of pharmacy degree, or Pharm.D., from an accredited university; they must also have state licensesure. Pharmacy degree programs can have different entry requirements. Some schools require that applicants have a bachelor's degree in a related field; others only require two or three years of related undergrad coursework before admission. After admission, future pharmacists can count on spending about four years in their Pharm.D. program, though some fast-track programs will only take about three years. After graduation from an accredited degree program, pharmacists in all states will need to pass two exams to obtain state licensure. Exams cover pharmacy knowledge and pharmacy law, according to the BLS.
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