To become a pharmacist in Minnesota, you need the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree, which typically takes four years to complete in a pharmacy school. In the process of getting your PharmD degree, you will pass through rigorous academic and clinical training. This training imparts the necessary knowledge and skills to become a competent and successful pharmacist.
Pharmacists are professionals who dispense medication and explain how to use it. As a pharmacist, you will work with many professionals to manage patients in the health sector. Your knowledge of drug processes will also come in handy in other industries like the cosmetic industry. In the cosmetic industry, you will be tasked with helping them create safe and healthy beauty products for consumers. It is also possible to find yourself in nuclear physics, where your role will be to find the best way to use radioactive materials to create drugs to treat specific diseases. This branch of pharmacy is called nuclear pharmacy.
One thing is clear in pharmacy, no matter where you find yourself working, your goal will always be to help people and improve health and wellbeing. Therefore, this profession is a noble one. So, if you are thinking of becoming a pharmacist in Minnesota, you have come to the right place.
As a pharmacist in Minnesota, you will make an average of $57.33 an hour, which translates to $126,379 in a year, which is just slightly above the federal average of $125,690. As you get more experience in your job, your salary increases. With ten years of experience, you may get up to $26,000 more.
Some cities in Minnesota pay more than the state average; for instance, the average salary in Minneapolis is $132,398. However, others pay less than the state average, such as Saint Paul, which is around $126,113, and Bloomington at $121,309. This salary is enough to live comfortably as a pharmacist in Minnesota, where the cost of living is 2.8% less than the federal average.
When you graduate from high school and set on a career in pharmacy, you first need to apply for a pre-pharmacy program in an accredited college. The pre-pharmacy program lasts for two years. During these two years, you will learn introductory medical courses like anatomy and physiology and other courses like English composition, communication, and behavioral science. This program is to prepare you for pharmacy school.
Once you are done with your pre-pharmacy program, you will have to apply to a pharmacy school. This application is usually made through the Pharmacy College Admissions Service. However, some schools may not need you to apply through this service but directly to them.
The next thing to do is register and write your PCAT (Pharmacy College Admissions Test). The PCAT is an important examination that tests prospective pharmacy students on their knowledge of the basics of pharmacy. Some schools, such as St. John Fisher College, may not require you to write the PCAT. Do well to check what your school of choice requires because there are always slight differences from the standard stipulations.
After you have applied, some schools may perform an interview to assess you further. They may also need you to submit letters of recommendation and transcripts from past schools. When you meet every requirement stipulated by the school and get an offer of admission, your PharmD training starts if you accept the offer.
Some schools may have an early assurance program where you apply directly from high school. If you are accepted, you are guaranteed acceptance into the pharmacy school once you finish your pre-pharmacy program. However, you have to be an exceptional student for this to happen. We recommend extracurricular engagements and activities like joining the science team, model U.N. or even an internship in a healthcare facility.
Typically, PharmD training lasts for four years. In the first three years, you will be taught the basics of pharmacy. This will Include courses in pharmacology, medical psychology, pharmacy ethics, community medicine, drug delivery and IPPE (Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience). These will be taught in laboratory and classroom settings. In the final year, you will have intensive clinical rotations that will prepare you for pharmacy practice. You will be posted to different facilities like health centers, pharmacies and community centers where you interact with patients, apply your knowledge and skills and get practical experience as a pharmacist.
The PharmD degree may also be a three- or six-year program. The three-year program is similar to the four-year one. However, it’s more intensive, conflating the required theoretical courses into two years and the third year for practical and clinical rotations. The six-year program is a joint two-year pre-pharmacy program and four-year PharmD program where you graduate with another degree as well as your PharmD.
Whatever program you go for, you will need at least 2000 hours of clinical postings to graduate.
You can get an online PharmD degree in St. John Fisher College’s pharmacy school. The tuition here costs $1,130 per credit, excluding books and clinical fees. You will not need to write PCAT to apply to this school. However, you need a minimum of 62 credits from a pre-pharmacy program, your past transcripts and two letters of recommendation.
St. John Fisher College ensures that you are clinically sound and have enough practical hands-on experience before awarding your PharmD degree. You’re required to complete at least 151 credits in courses taught by expert faculty members, 11 clinic rotations, six immersions and 2000 clinical hours before graduation. These clinical hours can be overtaken in several places across the country, including your local Minnesota community. You’ll have great placement options as the school collaborates with several healthcare institutions and facilities across the country. You can apply to this ACPE (Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education) accredited school at PharmCAS.
The University of Minnesota offers a very competitive four-year PharmD program with an acceptance rate of 38%. The tuition for residents of Minnesota is $27,864, and for a non-resident, it is $40,800. This school also offers a dual degree program where you can earn an M.B.A. or M.P.H alongside your PharmD degree.
The school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 6:1, so you can rest assured that the learning system is very student-centered. At the University of Minnesota, the curriculum focuses on patient-centered care and experience-based learning. You are required to submit three letters of recommendation and your PCAT scores during the application process. You can also do a residency program here.
Getting Your Pharmacy License in Minnesota
You must get a pharmacy license in Minnesota before you can practice. Having a degree is not enough as you must write the MPJE and NAPLEX exams.
The MPJE stands for Multi-state Jurisprudence Exam and is an exam about pharmacy law, ethics and regulations at the state and federal levels.
The NAPLEX stands for North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam. It is used to evaluate your general knowledge of the principles of pharmacy to know if you are competent enough to practice.
You will also need to complete a background check, have 1600 internship hours and pay a fee stipulated by the Minneapolis pharmacy board to get your license.
Starting Your Pharmacy Career in Minnesota
In Minnesota, you can work as an inpatient surgery pharmacist, ambulatory pharmacist, pharmacist program manager, or retail pharmacist. The highest number of pharmacists in Minnesota are employed as retail pharmacists. They make around $127,980 and are about 2880 in number. This is followed by hospitals that employ around 1680 pharmacists. Places that you can work in Minnesota include the following:
- Park Nicollet
- Rainy Lake Medical Center
- Mayo Clinic
- Vireo Health
- Allina Health System
- Fairview Health Services
- Sam’s Club
- Madelia Health
- CVS Health
You need to renew your license in Minnesota every two years. You will submit proof that you completed 30 hours of continued education to the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy before December 1 of the year your license expires. This practice ensures that you are up to date on all pharmacy practices in the country and state. You can look for ACPE-certified continued education courses at Biologix Solutions and EliteLearning.
After your PharmD degree, you can apply for residency training. You’re not required to do a residency before practicing as a fully licensed professional. However, some jobs may need you to do it before you can work full time. It typically lasts for two years. The first year will focus on training you further in the general pharmacy. The second year will train you in a more specialized field of pharmacy. During your program, you will do different clinical rotations in internal medicine, oncology, ambulatory pharmacy, NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), acute care pharmacy, etc.
You can apply for a residency program at the University of Minnesota.
Being part of a network of like-minded professionals is essential to your career growth. This keeps you connected with all the latest trends in the profession and can even help you get jobs.
The Minnesota Pharmacists Association has members from every pharmacy professional in the state, such as pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and people who own pharmacy businesses. The association advocates for better patient care by promoting the professional growth of Minnesota pharmacists.
The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy is a regulatory board that oversees the licensing of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacies in the state. The Minnesota Society of Health-System was created to favor students, residents, pharmacist fellows, pharmacy assistants, and pharmacy technicians who work in health-related institutions and hospitals around the state.