Are you thinking of becoming a pharmacist? A pre-pharmacy degree gives you a solid foundation to prepare for an exciting career as a pharmacist. Top pharmacy schools often look for candidates who have top scores, excellent coursework, communication skills, and hands-on experience. If you’ve been dreaming of being a pharmacist, then use these five practical tips to make your dreams a reality.
Many schools have dedicated career and pre-health advisors to assist candidates in making the best career choices. Advisors can help you determine which path is best matched to your interests, passions, and skills. For example, an academic advisor has insights into prerequisite coursework that you need before applying to pharmacy school.
Most pharmacy schools require courses in chemistry, biology, biochemistry. Additionally, because pharmacists relate directly with patients, you’ll also want to take courses in both communication and writing skills.
One of the best ways to move your career forward is to look for local internship opportunities. These jobs are often volunteer positions or offered at minimal pay. Yet despite the no-or-low pay, they are powerful steps towards becoming a pharmacist. You’ll be able to work in independent pharmacies and work alongside professionals. You’ll discover day-to-day insights about duties and responsibilities.
This hands-on experience will strengthen your communication skills and help boost your confidence in your career choice. It will also help you commit to your education and achieve your goals, and many colleges work with local pharmacies to simplify the internship process.
For example, many pharmacy schools in Chicagohave relationships with local pharmacies. The same can be said for pharmacy schools in Miami, Los Angeles, and select other major metropolitan areas -- just take the time to look for them, and you’ll surely be able to find one or two that are willing to intern you.
Depending on your location and college, you may find that your school has an affiliation agreement that fits your needs. Consider the value of early admissions. For instance, in the Chicago area, North Central has an affiliation agreement with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM). This program offers high school students an opportunity for a reserved seat in their School of Pharmacy program.
Many schools across the United States encourage high school students to explore careers as a way to jumpstart exciting careers, by being jointly admitted to both institutions. If this is interesting to you, check out local Early Admissions Programs in your area.
The field of pharmacy is ripe with opportunities. You may be able to assist and shadow professional pharmacists in busy pharmacies that are household names, such as CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, Sam’s Club, Target, and Oswald’s. Having hands-on experience working with a pharmacist often leads to other positive developments. You may be asked to apply for an internship, work extra shifts, or contribute to research projects.
Not only will you gain real-life skills, but you will increase your professional network. You will have people to call when you need encouragement, support, or even a letter of recommendation. You may find that the pharmacist you shadow becomes a close advisor, mentor, or partner in your future career.
Many people who have assisted and shadowed pharmacists have continued to get a Doctor of Pharmacy. In the Chicago area, graduates from pre-pharmacy have been accepted to such prestigious schools as the University of Illinois at Chicago, Purdue University of Pharmacy, and the Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy.
What do you dream of doing in the exciting field of pharmacy? Do you imagine that you’ll counsel patients and advise them of the best, most effective treatments? Do you envision that you’ll design an app that makes it easier for people to remember to take their medications? Are you seeing yourself as working independently and solving global problems related to medications?
There are places to get inspiration for your career. Movies, social media, television programs, and blogs are great sources of ideas and options. As your dreams take shape, build your picture or poster. A physical visual representation is called a vision board. A vision board is an invitation to dream big and express your dreams in pictures. To create one, just draw, sketch, or create a photomontage.
Use magazines to gather inspiring photos. When you have a vision board of your future, place it where you will see it daily. You can add more details that match your imagination. Free your imagination and mock-up an important document, such as an acceptance letter from the school of your choice or a job offer from the pharmacy you’d like to work in.
Are you ready to move your career forward? What’s the first step you want to take today? By taking the time to carefully research your options and following the recommended steps, you can find yourself soon flourishing in a rewarding and lasting career in the pharmacy industry!