Clinical Pharmacist Degree

Clinical Pharmacist Degree

Clinical Pharmacy deals with providing patient care, medication, promoting health and disease prevention. Clinical pharmacists work directly with healthcare professionals, physicians and patients to ensure that the medication prescribed to patients does in fact, contribute positively to their overall health. To get into this field, you will need to get a clinical pharmacist degree.

The following information will help you in answering questions about how to become a clinical pharmacist.

What do clinical pharmacists do?

Clinical pharmacists are responsible for performing several tasks. Here is to list a few:

  • Asses the status of a patient’s health and analyze the prescribed medication to determine whether patient needs are being satisfied by the medication
  • Evaluate the appropriateness of the medication prescribed
  • Recognize the untreated health concerns that could be taken care of to improve the overall health of the patient
  • Follow the medical progress of the patient to make sure that the desired effect of the medication is being achieved
  • Consult with the patient’s healthcare providers to select the medication that is optimal for the patient
  • Provide advice to the patient regarding how to make their condition better
  • Refer the patient to the relevant health care professional to address specific health and wellness concerns
  • Apply specialized knowledge of the scientific and clinical usage of medication including dosage, side effects and drug interactions in carrying out patient care activities

If you are interested in performing the above tasks, you need to get yourself a Clinical Pharmacist degree.

How to become a Clinical Pharmacist

There is a specific degree path that aspiring clinical pharmacists must follow if they want to pursue a career in this field. The first step involves getting an undergraduate degree. After high school, you may enroll yourself in a 4-year long bachelor’s degree in a field relevant to pharmacy. Even if the field is not directly related to pharmacy, you can enroll yourself in courses which would typically be required as prerequisites by pharmacy schools. For instance, it would be wise to take courses in biology, chemistry, physics, math, organic chemistry, physiology and human anatomy. These courses will help you form a foundation in the right direction.

Keep in mind that getting a bachelor’s degree in Clinical Pharmacy will not enable you to be eligible for practice. Rather, it would provide a basis for further graduate level studies. Some pharmacy undergraduate programs offer concentrations such as clinical, pharmacology, medical chemistry and molecular pharmacology. To be eligible for these concentrations, students will first need to clear courses such as drug action mechanisms, drug design and toxicology.

A bachelor’s degree in clinical pharmacy may also require students to complete an internship program that concludes the degree and is highly recommended for students who plan on applying for a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

Doctor of Pharmacy

Admission into the Doctor of Pharmacy program would require the completion of some pre-pharmacy coursework. Most students would have covered this requirement by taking specific courses in their bachelor’s degree. Following this, you would be required to appear for the PCAT (Pharmacy College Admissions Test). This is a standardized test which would determine your ability as a pharmacist and would establish if you have sufficient knowledge to enter into this field or not.

After you have cleared the entry test, you can apply to a variety of pharmacy schools. You should have conducted an in-depth research into the options available in the areas around you. Check the individual admission criteria of these pharmacy schools and apply accordingly.

A Pharm. D. or a Doctor of Pharmacy degree is similar to other professional health care degrees – it offers a focus on pharmacy sciences and dispensing of medication. Much like a bachelor’s degree, students in a Pharm. D. program are also required to choose a concentration. Students who want to pursue a career in clinical pharmacy would choose the pharmaceutical care concentration, which will teach them about patient physical assessment, drug reactions and side effects.

Other courses for students enrolled in this program include geriatrics, critical care pharmacotherapy, health psychology and nonprescription drugs. Most Pharm. D. programs in clinical pharmacy would give students the opportunity to attend hospital pharmaceutical rotations and interact directly with patients in a supervised environment.

How to get licensed?

After you have completed your education in this field, you will need to work towards getting a license. All 50 states require pharmacists to possess a valid license. The licensing procedure involves clearing the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLE). Along with this, 44 states also have an additional requirement for you to pass the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE). Registration for both these exams is done through the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

Careers in Clinical Pharmacy

Clinical pharmacy is a field that is growing consistently. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides the following numbers for Pharmacists:

2016 Median Pay $122,230 per year
Typical Entry Level Education Doctoral or professional degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2014 297,100
Job Outlook, 2014-2024 3%
Employment Change, 2014-24 9,100

The demand for clinical pharmacists is expected to rise in different settings, such as clinics, physicians’ offices and hospitals. The job description for these pharmacists is different than that for standard pharmacists since they work directly with clients and recommend medication based on their knowledge. The job growth in the field of pharmacists is expected to be 3%. Even though this is less than that for all occupations, the demand for these professionals is expected to remain steady and high, in a variety of healthcare settings. With more unique kinds of diseases, chronic issues and an aging baby-boom generation, there is certainly going to be a very high demand for trained and licensed pharmacists.

The number of pharmacies has increased over the years, and so has the demand for jobs. Therefore, to get ahead in this highly competitive field, you ought to have a clinical pharmacist degree.

 

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