What does it take to be a Pharmacist?
There are very specific academic requirements involved as a certain level of intelligence is required, as well as a scientific mind. Qualifications and specific training requirements vary from country to country. Generally, an undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree is required, followed by a postgraduate pharmacy course. In some countries (for example the UK) the courses may be linked and the full qualification MPharm (Master of Pharmacy) may be obtained after five years of studying pharmacy - four undergraduate years plus one Master's year. In other countries (for example, the USA and Australia) undergraduate studies, or an undergraduate degree in a science subject is required for entry to a postgraduate pharmacy course and then at least two years of postgraduate study are required. In the US this results in a PharmD (Doctor of Pharmacy) qualification.
After completion of the academic requirements, most countries then require newly qualified pharmacists to work a "pre-registration" year, or an internship, to gain the experience required for the job. The number of hours required varies by country, and even by state within the USA. After the work experience has been completed, there are usually more exams. These may take the form of a licensing exam, or a registration exam, depending on specific country requirements. Some countries also require that pharmacists participate in continuing professional development (CPD) programmes as they progress through their careers. These ensure that they stay up-to-date on all aspects of the job, including emerging research and new medicines.
Personal attributes that are useful for being a pharmacist are typical for those working in any area of health and nutrition. These include a caring personality and the genuine desire to help people in need. Other attributes useful for a career in pharmacy would be the ability to take on a lot of responsibility, work under pressure, have great organizational skills and people skills.
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