Pharmacists fill and distribute prescription drugs to patients and customers, advise and educate individuals about their medication, work with physicians to make sure there is a thorough understanding of the medications, and research and work to develop new medications. As a pharmacist, you will not only help people by preparing their medication for them, but you also have the opportunity to teach them how to prevent illnesses and maintain their health.
If this sounds like a career that you might be interested in, you may want to consider enrolling in an online pharmacy degree program. Earning an online pharmacist degree will give you the skills you need to mix medications, fill prescriptions, and you will become familiar with the plethora of drugs that are available for medical treatment.
Classes and Assignments of a Pharmacy Major
The main focus of a pharmacy degree program is to teach students about drugs. Some of your online pharmacist courses may include principles of drug action, drug delivery, chemical biology, sterile products, pharmacy calculations, drug utilization, and pharmacology. You will also learn how to effectively communicate with customers, how to educate customers about nonprescription medication, and become familiar with the laws that apply to your career. Some of the courses that focus on these areas include patient communications, pharmacy practice, pharmacy and the U.S. Healthcare System, nonprescription therapeutics and self-care, and pharmacy law and professional ethics.
Degree Levels for a Pharmacy Major
- Bachelor's. While online bachelors pharmacy degrees are rare, earning a bachelor's degree with the proper prerequisite courses will better your chances for getting into a graduate-level pharmacy program. Some of the prerequisite courses you may need to take include inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, microbiology, biochemistry, physics, and calculus.
- Master's. Online masters pharmacy degrees will familiarize you with drugs, laws, practices, and research methods that apply to pharmacology. While a professional, doctoral degree is required to practice pharmacology, a master's degree will qualify you for a career in pharmaceutical research or teaching.
- Doctoral. Online PhD pharmacy degrees from accredited institutions, along with state licensure, are required to practice pharmacology. A doctoral program in pharmacy, which is a professional degree, will give you a solid foundation of pharmaceutical knowledge. It will then expand on that knowledge with highly advanced and subject-specific courses, such as pharmaceutical engineering, disease management, performance enhancing substances and the athlete, and pediatric pharmacotherapy.
A Future as a Pharmacy Major
There are a number of types of professions in pharmacy. Community pharmacists work at local drug stores, filling prescriptions and helping customers with their medicinal needs. Pharmacists can also find employment in hospitals and primary care facilities. Industrial pharmacists research diseases and work to develop new medications to combat them. Regulatory pharmacists work for government agencies and ensure medicines and drugs are safe to use before they are manufactured and distributed. Finally, academic pharmacists educate individuals in the classroom, in hospitals, and in the community.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that every state requires pharmacists to gain licensure to practice. The BLS also predicts that pharmacists will see an employment increase of 17% through the year 2018. While a pharmacist's income can vary depending on the type of work they are doing, the organization they work for, where they work in the country, and the amount of experience they have, the BLS shows that the average salary for a pharmacist is $109,380 a year.