The journey to becoming a pharmacist in the United States is full of theoretical studies, countless clinical rotations, exams, tests, and dedication, culminating in your Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree. Once you get your PharmD degree, you can work in a research facility, educational institution, hospital, or even as an independent business owner.
The skills you need to be a practicing pharmacist are more than just basic pharmacy knowledge. You need to have critical thinking skills, a detail-oriented nature, good communication skills, and an empathic heart. This is why it is essential to attend an ACPE (Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education) certified pharmacy school that offers you all the proper education and tools to become a competent pharmacist.
Pharmacy is getting bigger by the day, and as of the end of 2020, the pharmaceutical was worth $1.2 trillion globally. The United States has generated 40% of this amount at $484.2 billion. This number is expected to exceed $1.6 trillion by 2030. The demand for pharmacists is increasing, and pharmacists have various career paths to choose. Being part of this fast-growing industry will enhance your quality of life and offers excellent growth and earning potential.
The average annual salary for pharmacists in Kentucky is $122,730, below the national average of $125,690. The average salary ranges between the lower limit of $89,430 and an upper limit of $167,662. However, the standard of living in Kentucky is 16.4% less than the national average. Hence, it is possible to live well on the average income.
The salary projection for pharmacists in Kentucky is also excellent. The annual earnings can increase by as much as $40,000 in five to nine years and will continue to grow with the number of years of experience and practice in the field.
After successfully completing high school, the next step is to apply to a prepharmacy program. Sometimes the same college that offers a prepharmacy also has a pharmacy school. In this case, it is easier to start your PharmD journey. However, if the school you do your prepharmacy course at does not have a school of pharmacy, you will have to apply separately to a pharmacy school of your choice. You can do this through the Pharmacy College Application Service.
Before acceptance into a pharmacy school, you will have to write the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT). While this is very important, sometimes schools may waive the requirement. The University of Kentucky does not require that you write the PCAT. St. John Fisher online school of pharmacy also waives the PCAT requirement for incoming students. Schools generally have some requirements that differ, and you should do well to check them out. Also, you may need to drop at least two letters of recommendation, but this is not a general requirement for every school.
Some schools may need to interview you if admission is competitive, while others may admit you directly if you meet all their requirements. Once you have been accepted, you will have to pay your tuition and start your journey to your Doctor of Pharmacy degree.
Your PharmD degree usually lasts for four years. Although, sometimes, it may be a faster three-year program. It may also be an extended dual program that lasts for six years, at the end of which you get an additional degree alongside your PharmD.
The standard four-year program includes several teaching modules that help prepare you to work independently and as part of a healthcare team. The first three years usually combine theoretical courses, laboratory courses, and group learning. This does two things – it allows you to learn from each other and reinforces teamwork skills, which is critical in the health practice as no professional is an island.
You will also have a community service-learning component in your training. For instance, the college of pharmacy at the University of Kentucky, under the supervision of a faculty member, collaborates with a not-for-profit community organization for six semesters. Here, you develop a health-based plan in business and are scored for it. This exposes you to the entrepreneurial aspect of pharmacy.
In your final year, you will have a more clinical environment to prepare you for practice. Your clinical rotations will become more intense, and you will learn to apply the basics you learned in your earlier years to patient management. After your final exam, you are awarded your PharmD degree.
Accredited PharmD Schools in Kansas
You can earn your PharmD degree at the St. John Fisher College’s pharmacy school. Apply through PharmCAS, and the school has only one start date annually in September, with the application period running from December till the 1st of June. Application requirements include a minimum of 62 semester hours or two years of prepharmacy education. It also requires transcripts from previously attended educational institutions. You may also need to submit recommendation letters. However, PCAT is not a requirement for admission to St. John Fisher PharmD online.
St. john Fisher College of Pharmacy is an ACPE-certified pharmacy school that prides itself on producing world-class pharmacists that are professional, intellectual, and have civic integrity. The school offers a standard four-year online PharmD program. You will need to complete 2000 hours’ worth of clinical work and 151 credits, with each credit hour costing up to $1,130.
The University of Kentucky also offers a PharmD degree and the school boasts a NAPLEX pass rate of at least 91% each year. It is also ranked the 6th best pharmacy school in the United States.
This ACPE-certified school offers a four-year PharmD program that prepares you for practice. To apply for the University of Kentucky PharmD program, you do not need to submit PCAT scores. However, this school follows all the other standard requirements for application. The tuition for Kentucky residents is $28,662 $53,686 for non-residents. However, it is possible to apply for financial aid. The school also has good residency programs that you could apply to after graduation.
This is another ACPE accredited pharmacy school. It is located in Louisville, Kentucky, and has a yearly NAPLEX pass rate of more than 80%. Sullivan University school runs a three-year accelerated program. It fast tracks the learning, which allows the students to finish quicker than in most other schools in the country. You could also get a PharmD and MBA dual degree in this school and a residency program after you graduate. The three-year PharmD program costs around $162,180.
A PharmD degree does not automatically confer a license to practice. You will need to write the NAPLEX (North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam) and MPJE (Multi-state Jurisprudence Exam). Once you have passed these exams, the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy will be able to give you your license.
The NAPLEX exams test your knowledge and skills in pharmacy. The score ranges from 0 to 150, with a minimum passing score of 75, while the MPJE tests your understanding of the laws governing pharmacy in your state (Kentucky). The MPJE test lasts for two and a half hours and has 120 questions.
Getting licensed as a pharmacist in Kentucky also requires 1500 internship hours, no criminal records, and a $150 fee.
Kentucky has around 5,060 employed pharmacists, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and by 2028 this number is projected to increase by 7.52%. Currently, you could work at places such as:
- Baptist Healthcare System
- Tailor Made Compounding
- Appalachian Regional Healthcare
- Murray Calloway County Hospital
- Change Healthcare
- University of Kentucky
- TJ Samson Community Hospital
- Kentucky River Medical Center
- McCay’s Total Care Pharmacy
You can decide on a residency program after graduation to improve your skills as a pharmacist. This is especially helpful for pharmacists looking to specialize in a subfield and a residency also increases your chances of getting a well-paying job. In Kentucky, you could take up a residency in Baptist Health. Your learning experience will be in the anticoagulation clinic, infectious disease, internal medicine, oncology, and post-CT surgery critical care.
To maintain your pharmacist license in Kentucky, you will have to complete 15 hours of continued education every year. This will help you stay updated on all the current pharmaceutical practices. You will also be required to do 1 hour of HIV/AIDS continued education every ten years. You could shop for continuing education courses on NetCe, EliteLearning, or PharmCon.
As a pharmacist in Kentucky, it is important to be aware and be a part of the professional organizations in your vicinity. Being a part of professional organizations helps you build a network of like-minded professionals.
Kentucky Pharmacists Association is an association created to advocate and promote the pharmacy profession in Kentucky. It has been in existence since 1879, serving as a voice in policy and legislative matters for its members. Being a member allows you to partake of the free training and opportunities offered.
The Kentucky Board of Pharmacy is a regulatory organization involved in policymaking, regulations, and licensing of all pharmacy professionals in Kentucky. This organization does all necessary verifications before a license to practice pharmacy in Kentucky is awarded.