Online Pharmacy Degree Programs

The pharmacy industry is a large and important part of the healthcare industry. Online pharmacy degree programs provide students with a solid educational foundation on aspects of pharmacy and prepare students for a variety of career paths. Students learn how to fill prescriptions, monitor patients and medication effects, work with physicians and other medical professionals regarding medications, and make effective decisions. Read more about online pharmacy degree programs.

Some Stats

In 2006, there were 118 bachelor degrees conferred in pre-pharmacy studies. There were 239 bachelor degrees in pharmacy (pharmD, BS/BPharm), 119 master and 32 doctorate degrees in pharmacy administration and pharmacy policy and regulatory affairs, and 221 bachelor, 140 master, and 128 doctorate degrees in other pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences, and administration (1). In 2006, pharmacists held 243,000 jobs with about 62% being employed by community pharmacies that were part of a drug store chain, department store, grocery store, mass merchandiser, or independently owned. Pharmacy technicians held about 285,000 jobs and 71% were employed in retail pharmacies (2).

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook for pharmacy jobs varies on degree, field, and position. Overall employment of pharmacists is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions from 2006 to 2016, increasing 22% and adding 53,000 new jobs. Pharmacy technicians are also expected to experience much faster than average job growth, increasing 32% and adding 91,000 new jobs (2). Pharmacists with less than 1 year experience earned average annual salaries between $72,533 and $99,369 (3).

Specialties

Pharmacy is a very large field that offers many specialties for students to focus their studies on and pursue a meaningful career. The pharmacy specialties include community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, compounding pharmacy, nuclear pharmacy, clinical pharmacy, consultant pharmacy, veterinary pharmacy, Internet pharmacy, military pharmacy, retail pharmacy, independent pharmacy, government pharmacy, pharmacy informatics, supermarket pharmacy, pharmacy administration, mass merchandiser pharmacy, hospice pharmacy, oncology pharmacy, pediatric pharmacy, and public health pharmacy. The choices are endless and students who are interested in a particular specialty should choose schools that offer strong programs in that particular area.

What to Expect

Pharmacy degree programs provide students with a solid educational foundation on pharmacy principles. Undergraduate pharmacy programs require general courses in English, mathematics, composition, history, and electives. To become a pharmacist, students must obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm D), which includes two years of pre-pharmacy courses in biology, chemistry, human anatomy and physiology, and calculus. Pharmacy coursework varies by program, but most programs require courses in pharmaceutical care practices, medical microbiology, immunizations, biochemistry, pathophysiology, pharmacology, biostatistics, and pharmacy ethics. Most pharmacy programs require clinical components to the degree. Students must also pass a licensing examination to become a qualified pharmacist. Students who desire to participate in research or teach at the postsecondary level usually pursue an advanced degree.

The End Result

Pharmacy degrees open the door to a wide variety of job opportunities. Most pharmacists work in hospitals, clinics, pharmaceutical companies, and government agencies. Careers for pharmacy degree graduates include:

Pharmacy Technician
Community Pharmacist
Hospital Pharmacist
Independent Pharmacist
Government Pharmacist
Consulting Pharmacist
Managed-care Pharmacist
Pharmaceutical Researcher
Academic Pharmacist
Veterinary Pharmacist
Compounding Pharmacist
Drug Information Specialist
Infectious Disease Pharmacist
Pediatric Pharmacist

A pharmacy career will be rewarding for individuals who have a strong aptitude for science, ability to pay close attention to detail, and desire to help others. Pharmacy professionals must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills because they interact with a variety of patients and medical personnel.

(1) SOURCE: U.S. National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics
(2) SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008-2009 Edition
(3) SOURCE: Payscale.com, Salary Survey Report

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