Starting A Career In Pharmacy With Another Degree

Answered by Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D

Our pharmacist answers the latest question regarding how to start a career in pharmacy when you hold another degree.

Question

Hello I was interested in pharmacy as a career. I just have a bachelors degree in Biology. I understand it is a hard career but the hardest part for me is to gain an experience to show pharmacy schools why I want this career. I have no pharmacy tech degree and hoped to gain experience without having to get that degree certificate. I need to ask you how did you go about getting experience. The hospitals don't accept not the ones I have tried and they all care about liability. All I would like is a way to show I have clinical experience or volunteering assisting pharmacy related experience. I don't think just volunteering in hospital general no pharmacy or researches is enough. I don't know what enough is either. Please let me know how you pharmacists went about and email me. I would really like to speak with a pharmacist in the profession because the admission schools are not much of a help. Also if they say pcat is required then one must take it and do it correct. I am a very smart and professional person in my work but I just recently decided and would like to get going on it.
By Toby - Edited

Answer

I am going to assume you are interested in applying to a pharmacy school in the United States. If that is the case, I can't think of a school in which you NEED pharmacy experience as a prerequisite for admission. Once you are in school you absolutely need professional experience in the field, but again, not to get into school.

 

Having said that, having work experience in the field, be it paid or volunteer, is certainly a positive in the eyes of admissions. I actually help screen students applying to pharmacy school and I can tell you that work experience and even simply volunteering is certainly beneficial to have on your application.

 

In terms of you looking for work experience now, the requirements depend on the state in which you want to work. Not all states require technicians to be licensed. New York for example, does not require technicians to be licensed. The company or hospital you work for might, but again it is not a requirement. Retail pharmacies (e.g. Rite Aid, CVS), typically don't require any sort of certification if it is not legally required.

 

Since you would be applying to schools after you have a degree already, you almost certainly will need to take the PCAT.

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist and the founder of PharmacistAnswers.com. He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor Of Pharmacy degree in 2010.

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