In the United States, pharmacists are trained at universities and schools of pharmacy that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), where they will earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm.D.).
However, before applying to the doctoral program, applicants must have completed at least 2 years of related coursework in subjects like math, chemistry, biology, and physics, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook. After this coursework is completed, students can enter a program of their choice to start their Pharm.D. degree.
For those who want to work in a clinical environment, residency programs of 1-2 years are required. Residencies are comprised of hands-on clinical work experience in a variety of settings that pharmacists work in. To obtain a residency, contact the medical staffing offices of hospitals, long-term care facilities, nursing homes, and other similar institutions. The school of pharmacy that you choose will also have recommendations or connections that will enable you to enter a residency program.
State License Requirements
A pharmacy license is mandatory in the U.S. for all those looking to work as a pharmacist. However, some states have specific rules for the minimum number of practice hours a student must have or even age requirements. To be sure you have met the requirements of your state, contact the board directly. Fortunately, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) has provided a succinct boards of pharmacy list.
In every state, you must first take a series of 2 examinations that test your decision making capabilities as a provider of pharmaceutical drugs and knowledge of pharmacy law.
The North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) is a comprehensive examination that will test your capabilities to make important and safe decisions that affect patient care.
The Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE) tests your knowledge of federal and state pharmacy laws in a multiple choice format. Since not all states use the MPJE, be sure to check with your state board to find out what exam they use.