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Pharmacists and Pharmacy Schools

Pharmacists render pharmaceutical care that entails the skills, knowledge, and the ability to provide medication services to patients. They attempt to achieve definite outcomes from medication use that improve patients’ quality of life. The outcomes include: 1) cure of a disease; 2) elimination or reduction of symptoms; 3) arresting or slowing a disease process; 4) prevention of disease; 5) diagno sis of disease; and 6) desired alterations in physiological processes, all with minimum risk to patients.

Personal Characteristics and Future Outlook. Pharmacists must have excellent interpersonal and communication skills. As professionals committed to public service, pharmacists must illustrate business savvy since their job revolves around purchasing and selling items. They must be dedicated and dependable with unquestionable ethics.

Pharmacists enjoy the third lowest rate of un employment of all health professionals. With growth in chain stores such as Wal-Mart and ambulatory care centers, employment should be stable in the future. Salary ranges from $40,000 to $75,000 with an average of $42,500 based on a 44-hour week. Employment opportunities exist in community pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities, neighborhood health centers, HMOs, U.S. Public Health Service, the Armed Forces, and the Department of Veteran Affairs.

How to Get into Pharmacy Schools

Preparation. The typic al pre-professional requirements are 8 credits of English and communications, 8 credits of life science with lab, 8 credits general chemistry with lab, 8 credits organic chemistry with lab, 4 credits of calculus, 3 credits of human anatomy, and 3 credits of introductory microbiology. Also one course must be taken from each of the following general education areas: 1) social and behavioral sciences, 2) economics and finance, 3) fine arts, 4) physical sciences, and 5) humanities. An applicant can take these c ourses during freshman and sophomore year and apply to pharmacy school during sophomore year. Then, the student transfers into a pharmacy school for four years after fulfilling the prerequisites at the University of Scranton. A majority of pharmacy schools only offer a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.), but some continue to offer a B.S. Either degree fulfills the requirements to be a licensed pharmacist. One can pursue a pharmacy degree with any major as long as the required classes appear on the transcript.

Admissions. With 75 pharmacy schools in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, you should write to those schools that interest you to determine entrance requirements. The following categories are important for acceptance: undergraduate GPA, residency status, letters of recommendation, applicant interviews, and experience in health related extracurricular activities and/or employment experience. Many pharmacy schools require the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT). Students can find specific requirement s for each school in the Pharmacy School Admission Requirements, published by AACP.

To apply, you must achieve junior standing by completing 61 credits, have a competitive cumulative and science GPA, and take the PCAT.

A timetable for application during the sophomore year follows: apply to take the PCAT in September, take the PCAT in November, send out applications in December for early admission, apply for financial aid in January, retake the PCAT if necessary in early February , send out applications in mid-February, interview between April and June, and wait for admissions notifications from May to September.


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