Pre-pharmacy is the course of study you take to prepare for admission to pharmacy school. Pharmacists work in retail, as part of a healthcare team in hospitals and clinics, or in industries such as pharmaceutical research and development. They are trained in preparing and dispensing medications prescribed by physicians, educating physicians and the public about pharmaceutical chemistry, proper drug usage, physiological effects, and counter indications. Not a major, per se, pre-pharmacy is rather a guiding principle for your education designed to increase your chances for admission to pharmacy school. Pharmacy school is typically a four-year graduate professional program that students begin after four years of undergraduate education. However, there are a few accelerated and combined doctor of pharmacy programs that can be completed in less time. Benedictine University participates in all of these pathways to a successful career in pharmacy. Please see our affiliations with Colleges of Pharmacy below. Admission to pharmacy school is highly competitive. In many schools of pharmacy, almost all of those admitted had already earned a bachelor's degree before entering the doctor of pharmacy program. After completing the program, a pharmacist then takes two examinations. The North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE), which tests knowledge of federal and state pharmacy laws. For licensure, a certain number of hours of internship/residency under a licensed pharmacist may be required by the state. Some pharmacists also continue their education with a post-graduate residency or fellowship.
Biology and Chemistry are popular pre-pharmacy majors because they typically fulfill pharmacy school prerequisites courses as part of the major. However, you can major in anything and still gain acceptance to pharmacy school, as long as you take the prerequisite courses and perform well. Understanding that pharmacists need a broad understanding of science, business, and communication, pharmacy schools look for students with diverse educational experiences. For consideration for admission to most pharmacy schools, you will need at least one year of general biology with labs, one year of general or inorganic chemistry with labs, one year of organic chemistry with labs, one year of general physics with labs, one semester of statistics, one semester of microbiology, and calculus. Be sure and check with the pharmacy school you want to attend to find out their individual requirements for admission.
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