Pharmacists, with their expertise in the field of pharmacy, contribute significantly to the healthcare industry by ensuring the safe and effective use of medications and playing a vital role in improving patient care. Read more career blogs at college49.
Who is a Pharmacist?
Pharmacists play a crucial role in the manufacturing, supply, and provision of medicines and drugs in the healthcare sector. In simple terms, they are skilled professionals specialized in the utilization, storage, preservation, and distribution of medications. In India, there are currently over 3,276 pharmacy colleges producing more than 2.62 lakh students annually.
Aspiring students who wish to pursue a career as a pharmacist after completing their 12th grade have various options for undergraduate and postgraduate pharmacy courses available at some of the top pharmacy colleges in the country. Popular courses include BPharmacy and MPharmacy, which provide excellent placement opportunities in top pharmaceutical companies. Additionally, there are numerous job opportunities for BPharmacy graduates both within India and abroad.
What does a Pharmacist do?
Pharmacists are healthcare professionals with specialized medical training. Their primary responsibilities include:
- Dispensing medications to patients.
- Educating individuals about medications and the potential side effects associated with them.
- Overseeing the medication supply chain.
- Ensuring accuracy and attention to detail in their work.
- Possessing the ability to multitask effectively.
- Demonstrating integrity in their professional conduct.
- Utilizing computer skills to manage medication databases and records.
- Excelling in communication to effectively interact with patients and healthcare providers.
- Having a comprehensive understanding of clinical pharmaceuticals.
What Do a Pharmacist’s Skills Have?
- Ability to multitask.
- Computer skills.
- Communication skills.
- Attention to detail.
- Understanding of clinical pharmaceuticals.
What is the Eligibility Criteria for a Pharmacist?
The eligibility criteria for pursuing studies in the field of pharmacy are as follows:
For Undergraduate (UG) Course:
- A basic qualification of 10+2 from BiPC subjects (Biology, Physics, and Chemistry) is required.
- A good score on the SAT exam is also necessary.
For Postgraduate (PG) Course:
- Completion of an undergraduate degree in the same field is mandatory.
- A good score on the GRE exam is required.
- Minimum scores in English language proficiency tests such as IELTS, TOEFL, etc., are necessary to demonstrate proficiency in the English language.
- Letters of Recommendation (LOR) and Statement of Purpose (SOP) are commonly required as part of the application process.
What is the qualification of a Pharmacist?
Qualifications Required to Become a Pharmacist
To become a pharmacist in India, individuals must obtain a valid permit from the governing authority, enabling them to practice pharmacy. To acquire this permit, one must complete the necessary education and hold a diploma or bachelor’s degree in pharmacy.
Diploma in Pharmacy (D. Pharma):
- Duration: The D. Pharma program is typically two years long.
- Eligibility: Minimum requirement of 10+2 with subjects such as Physics, Chemistry, Biology, or Mathematics.
- Admission: Entrance exams organized by states and colleges are held in April and May. Some colleges may also admit students based on interviews and their 12th-grade percentage.
- Fees: The fee structure varies between INR 50,000 to INR 1.5 lakhs, depending on the college (government or private).
- Direct Entry to B. Pharma: Diploma students can secure direct entry into the second year of the Bachelor in Pharmacy (B. Pharma) program based on merit.
Bachelor in Pharmacy (B. Pharma):
- Duration: The B. Pharma program is typically three to four years long.
- Eligibility: Minimum requirement of 10+2 with subjects such as Physics, Chemistry, Biology, or Mathematics.
- Admission: Students must clear entrance exams such as MET, BITSAT, NIPER JEE, KCET, etc., to secure admission in colleges. These entrance exams are held in April and May.
- Fees: The average course fees can range from INR 4 lakhs to INR 5 lakhs.
- Core Subjects: The core subjects of the B. Pharma program include Pharmaceuticals, Pharmacology, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and Pharmacognosy.
Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D):
- Duration: The Pharm. D program is a six-year course after 10+2, which comprises five years of clinical and community-based study, including ward rounds, and a one-year internship in hospitals.
- Direct Entry: Individuals pursuing a Bachelor in Pharmacy (B. Pharma) can gain direct entry into the fourth year of the Pharm. D program based on merit.
- Fees: The average course fees can range from INR 1 lakh to INR 3 lakhs.
What are the benefits of a Pharmacist?
Benefits of a Career as a Pharmacist
Working as a pharmacist offers several key benefits, including:
- Salary: The salary in the field of pharmacy varies depending on the position, degree, and employing institution. After completing pharmacy certificate, diploma, or graduation courses, the average salary ranges from INR 2 lakhs to INR 5 lakhs per annum. With master’s and Ph.D. qualifications, the average salary can range from INR 4 lakhs to INR 8 lakhs per annum.
- Job Security: Pharmacy graduates can pursue diverse job profiles such as medical writer, drug safety associate, clinical research associate, and pharmacist. Job security may vary depending on the organization, with government sectors generally offering more stability compared to certain private sectors.
- Positive Impact: A career in pharmacy has a positive impact due to its strong foundation in science. It provides opportunities to gain knowledge and experience in pharmaceutical manufacturing, work in different industries, and earn a handsome salary with job security.
- Higher Studies: Pharmacy graduates have the option to pursue higher studies based on their prior qualifications. Graduates and postgraduates can pursue a Ph.D. in the research field or seek internships and training in various specialized areas.
- Unique Experience: A career as a pharmacist offers a unique experience through involvement in healthcare facilities, in-depth knowledge of medicines and nutrition, and the opportunity to work under trained pharmacists.
What are the courses of a Pharmacist?
Types of Pharmacy Courses
There are various types of pharmacy courses available to cater to different interests and career goals. Here are some of the popular types of pharmacy courses along with their details:
- Pharmacy Certificate Courses:
- Institutes: Institutes such as the Institute of Good Manufacturing Practices India (IGMPI), DIA Global, and Catalyst Clinical Services offer certificate courses in Pharmacy.
- Duration: The duration of certificate courses varies, and they often come with perks such as industry experience, job assistance, and flexibility in pursuing them either in regular or distance mode.
- Recruiters: Top recruiters for professionals who have pursued certificate courses in Pharmacy from IGMPI include Mankind Pharma, Glenmark Generics, and Jubilant Lifesciences Ltd.
- Pharmacy Courses Online:
- Platforms: Popular online platforms such as Udemy, Coursera, edX, and Simplilearn offer pharmacy courses.
- Duration: The duration of online pharmacy courses may vary.
- Examples of Courses: Some top-selling pharmacy courses on Udemy include “Become a Pharmacy Technician,” “Top Drugs 1 – Medications you Need to Know – Pharmacy,” “Non-Sterile Compounding Techniques Certification / USP 795,” and “Maths for Nurses.”
- Diploma in Pharmacy Courses:
- Duration: The duration of diploma courses in Pharmacy typically ranges from 1 to 3 years.
- Examples of Courses: Diploma in Pharmacy, Diploma in Ayurvedic Pharmacy, Diploma in Pharmaceutical Marketing, Diploma in Drug Store Management, Diploma in Clinical Research and Pharmacovigilance, PG Diploma in Drug Store Management, PG Diploma in Principles of Clinical Pharmacology, PG Diploma in Pharmaceutical Management, PG Diploma in Pharmaceutical Quality Assurance, PG Diploma in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and PG Diploma in Herbal Products.
What are the different types of a Pharmacist?
Pharmacists can specialize in various fields based on the nature of their work and the sector in which they are employed. Different types of pharmacists exist, each with their specific roles and responsibilities. Here are some of the common types of pharmacists:
- Community Pharmacists
- Clinical Pharmacists
- Consultant Pharmacists
- Pharmaceutical Industry Pharmacists
What is the Salary of a Pharmacist?
Average Annual Salary
- Government Organizations: The average annual salary for pharmacists working in government organizations is around INR 3.25 lakhs.
- Private Sector: Pharmacists employed in the private sector can expect an average annual salary of around INR 3.50 lakhs.
Specialization-wise Average Annual Salary
- Biotechnology Research Scientist: Specializing as a biotechnology research scientist can lead to an average annual salary of around INR 50 lakhs.
- Pharmaceutical Field Sales Representative: In the role of a pharmaceutical field sales representative, the average annual salary can be around INR 20 lakhs.
- Research Scientist: Pharmacists working as research scientists can earn an average annual salary of approximately INR 70 lakhs.
- Pharmaceutical Financial Analyst: Specializing as a pharmaceutical financial analyst can fetch an average annual salary of about INR 20 lakhs.
- Drug Regulatory Affairs: Pharmacists working in drug regulatory affairs can expect an average annual salary of around INR 8 lakhs.
Salary based on Experience
- Fresher: Freshers in the field of pharmacy can earn an average annual salary ranging from INR 3.50 lakhs to INR 5 lakhs.
- Experienced Pharmacists: Pharmacists with considerable experience can earn an average annual salary of around INR 21 lakhs.
How to Become a Pharmacist in India?
To gain a comprehensive understanding of the path toward becoming a pharmacist, carefully follow the step-by-step process outlined below:
- Completion of 10+2: To be eligible for admission into a pharmacy undergraduate program, it is necessary to successfully complete your higher secondary education or 10+2, specifically in the science stream. Most undergraduate programs require a combination of subjects such as physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics to fulfill their application requirements.
- Pursuit of an Undergraduate Degree: Becoming a pharmacist necessitates the acquisition of either a diploma or a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. Below, you will find further details regarding the eligibility criteria, admission process, course structure, and duration for both options:
Diploma in Pharmacy (DPharm): The DPharm is a two-year diploma course that requires a minimum qualification of 10+2 in the science stream. Holding a diploma is advantageous if you intend to establish your own pharmacy or drug store. Furthermore, students pursuing a diploma course can gain direct entry into the second year of a Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) course based on merit. Several universities offer diploma courses, each with distinct admission procedures. Some may conduct interviews as the sole criteria, while others may require applicants to pass an entrance examination.
Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm): For individuals aspiring to work with top pharmaceutical companies, a bachelor’s degree is necessary. The BPharm program is a four-year course that mandates a minimum qualification of 10+2 in the science stream. Admission to colleges offering the BPharm degree often requires successful completion of entrance examinations specific to the college or university of your choice. The course curriculum typically encompasses a combination of academic and practical training in the pharmaceutical industry.
Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D): Upon completing 10+2, you can enroll in a six-year Pharm D course. This comprehensive program consists of five years of clinical and community-based theoretical study, followed by a one-year internship in hospitals. Additionally, students pursuing the BPharm course can enter the fourth year of the Pharm D course through lateral entry based on merit. The admission process adheres to the guidelines established by the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI). For enrollment in a Pharm D course, candidates must be between 17 and 23 years of age.
- Completion of a Post-Graduation Degree: Upon graduation, you have the option to pursue one of the following two post-graduation courses:
Master of Pharmacy (MPharm): Candidates who have completed a BPharm degree are eligible for the MPharm program. A master’s degree equips individuals with the necessary skills for research and development roles. Additionally, this degree allows for specialization in a particular area of pharmacy. Specializations may include pharmaceutics, pharmacology, pharmaceutical biotechnology, pharmaceutical analysis, pharmacy practice, industrial pharmacy, pharmacognosy, pharmaceutical chemistry, and quality assurance.
The chosen specialization plays a significant role in shaping one’s career trajectory. The MPharm course typically spans two years, with admission often granted through the Graduate Pharmacy Aptitude Test (GPAT).
Doctor of Pharmacy (Post-Baccalaureate): Candidates holding a BPharm degree from an institute recognized by the PCI are eligible for the Doctor of Pharmacy (Post-Baccalaureate) program. Completion of this course enhances professional skills and opens doors to clinical practice and research. The program lasts for three years, consisting of two years of academic training followed by a one-year internship. Different entrance examinations must be successfully completed for admission into the desired college or institution.
- Pursuit of a Ph.D. in Pharmacy: While pursuing a Ph.D. is an optional step, it is a commendable choice for individuals inclined towards research. The minimum eligibility criterion for admission into a PhD program is a master’s degree in pharmacy. Most doctorate courses adopt an integrated learning approach and typically span three years. Admission is granted based on clearing entrance examinations conducted by individual colleges.
- Attainment of State License: In addition to the aforementioned qualifications, aspiring pharmacists must obtain a state license before commencing work. To become a registered pharmacist, one must apply to the respective state’s pharmacy council for the license. Eligibility requirements and procedures vary from state to state. For instance, many states require candidates to accumulate a certain number of hours of practical experience prior to applying for a license. However, applicants can only apply for one state license at a time. Visit your state’s pharmacy council website to obtain detailed information regarding the procedure, required documentation, and associated fees for acquiring a pharmacist license.
1. What does a pharmacist do?
Pharmacists are healthcare professionals who specialize in medication management. Their responsibilities include dispensing medications, providing patient counseling, ensuring medication safety, managing drug therapies, and collaborating with other healthcare professionals.
2. How long does it take to become a pharmacist?
The path to becoming a pharmacist typically involves completing a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program, which usually takes 4 years. However, this duration may vary depending on the country and educational system. Prior to Pharm.D., a pre-pharmacy undergraduate degree may be required, which can take an additional 2 to 4 years
3. What qualifications are needed to become a pharmacist?
To become a pharmacist, one must typically earn a Pharm.D. degree from an accredited pharmacy school or college. This requires completion of prerequisite coursework and passing the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) in some countries. Additionally, pharmacists must obtain a license by passing the respective licensing exams and meeting other requirements set by the regulatory authorities in their jurisdiction.
4. Can pharmacists prescribe medication?
The ability to prescribe medication varies across countries and jurisdictions. In some places, pharmacists have limited prescribing rights for specific medications, such as in the case of pharmacists prescribing for minor ailments or emergency contraception. However, the scope of prescribing authority greatly depends on local laws, regulations, and collaborative practice agreements with other healthcare providers.
5.What settings do pharmacists work in?
Pharmacists work in various healthcare settings, including community pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, pharmaceutical industry, research institutions, government agencies, academia, and consulting firms.
6. How can pharmacists help patients beyond dispensing medications?
Pharmacists play a crucial role in patient care. They provide medication counseling to ensure proper use, monitor patients’ drug therapies, assess for drug interactions and adverse effects, optimize medication regimens, offer disease management guidance, promote health and wellness, administer vaccinations, and collaborate with healthcare teams to achieve optimal patient outcomes.
7. How is the job outlook for pharmacists?
The job outlook for pharmacists is generally positive due to the growing demand for healthcare services and the expanding role of pharmacists in patient care. However, job prospects can vary depending on factors such as geographic location, practice setting, specialization, and market conditions.