Pharmacy is a branch of science concerned with improving health and well-being through the use of drugs. Over the years, pharmacy has grown into a $1.27 trillion industry that has saved millions of lives because of its countless advancements. From the ground-breaking COVID-19 vaccine to the Antiretrovirals, the world of pharmacy has proven to be an essential pillar of the health system.
If you are ready to pursue a pharmacy career, you should start by getting into pharmacy school for a PharmD degree. A PharmD (Doctor of Pharmacy) degree usually takes four years. When you get your PharmD degree, you will be able to work anywhere in the health sector, whether in a cutting-edge laboratory that researches new treatments or in a retail pharmacy working to dispense drugs to your community. A PharmD degree offers you numerous work and career options.
In the United States, pharmacy is a $482.2 billion industry accounting for more than 40% of the world’s pharmacy revenue. This number will only increase as the world advances. So, it’s always a great idea to pursue a career in pharmacy if you’re genuinely interested in health.
You can get your PharmD degree and license in Missouri and start practicing as soon as you’ve gone through the necessary steps. This article covers everything you need to do to get your PharmD degree in Missouri.
The average pharmacist in Missouri earns $61.26 an hour, which translates to $127,430 yearly. This amount is more than the federal average by 1.57%. In Missouri, an entry-level pharmacist with less than a year of experience can earn $96,070. After five years, this amount can increase to $130,470.
From 2015 to 2020, the pharmacist salary in Missouri has seen a 5.24% increase, and the cost of living in Missouri is less than the United States average by 10.1%. Thus, you can live very comfortably here as a working pharmacist.
After finishing high school and getting your degree, the next step is to apply for a pre-pharmacy program. The pre-pharmacy program lasts for two years. The courses you will learn at this point are prerequisites for pharmacy school. So, you must pass them before you can even be considered. These courses are Biology, English, Chemistry, Statistics, Psychology, Physiology and Anatomy.
In your second year of pre-pharmacy, you should start applying to pharmacy schools of your choice. To increase your chances of getting accepted, try and gain experience interning or volunteering in a health-related field. Usually, you apply through the Pharmacy College Application Service, but some schools may require you to apply directly.
Also, you may need to write the PCAT (Pharmacy College Admissions Test) and submit your scores in your application. The PCAT is usually taken to test the competency of prospective students. However, some schools, such as St. John Fisher College, do not demand this test.
Other requirements you may need for your application to pharmacy school are letters of recommendation and past transcripts from all the schools you have attended. If admission to the school is very competitive, they may request an interview for you.
Note that the requirements may differ across schools in the country. So, make sure to check them. When you have fulfilled all your conditions, you will be sent an email or a letter informing you of your acceptance into the school. Then, you can begin your PharmD training.
In your first year of pharmacy school, you will be taught the basics of the course, such as drug delivery, Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Biochemistry. In your second and third years, your coursework will get more advanced, and you’ll take courses like Advanced Dispensing, Pharmacognosy and Pharmacy Tech.
In your final year, a major course that you will do is the APPE (Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences). This clinical experience course aims to prepare you for pharmacy practice.
Note that the PharmD program could be a three-year degree, in which case the first two years are theoretical and the final year is clinical. The PharmD could also be a six-year program where you graduate with two degrees – PharmD and another.
St. John Fisher College is a leading academic institution that offers an online PharmD degree program. The pharmacy school is called the Wegmans School of Pharmacy. It is ACPE (Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education) certified and has a four-year program. To get admitted to study pharmacy, you need to have gotten at least 62 credits from an accredited college or pre-pharmacy school, three letters of recommendation and transcripts from previous schools you’ve attended. The PCAT isn’t required for admission to St. John Fisher College School of Pharmacy.
You need about 151 credits and 2000 clinical hours to complete this program. The tuition costs $1,130 per credit, not including fees for books. The school offers a standard PharmD program taught by world-class pharmacy professionals.
Missouri has two schools of pharmacy in the state.
Known as the University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC), this School of Pharmacy is ACPE accredited and has a NAPLEX passing average of 90.99%. The first-year tuition is $23,884 for Missouri residents and $52,515 for non-residents. This public school offers a dual degree program and does not participate in the early decision program.
To be accepted, you need a minimum of one reference letter and a PCAT score of at least 16 and a good college GPA. You also need to write a personal essay and have an interview with the faculty. The University of Missouri School of Pharmacy admission is also a fair, competitive school with an acceptance rate is 56%.
St. Louis College of Pharmacy is situated in Saint Louis, Missouri and has a NAPLEX average pass rate of 84.41%. They offer a four-year PharmD program and also a degree in MBA. Application is done through PharmCAS, and the school has an acceptance rate of 82%.
The St. Louis College of Pharmacy requires you to have a bachelor’s degree and submit a at least two reference letters to be considered for admission. You can pursue a 7-year integrated bachelor’s and PharmD degree or a 6-year undergraduate entry that combines pre-pharmacy and PharmD degree programs.
After getting your PharmD degree, you need to have a Missouri pharmacist license in order to practice. This is done after you have fulfilled specific provisions, such as passing your licensing exams: the NAPLEX (North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam) and MPJE (Multi-state Jurisprudence Exam).
Other requirements are:
- 1500 hours of internship
- No criminal record
- A fee of $150
- A passport-style photo
As of 2020, Missouri had 6230 pharmacists working in the state. Three thousand pharmacists worked in retail pharmacies, 1750 worked in hospitals and 150 in outpatient centers. There is a 2.73% projected increase in jobs by 2028. Currently, some places you could work are:
- Citizens Memorial Healthcare
- Boone Health
- Cerner Corporation
- SSM Health
- Western Missouri Medical Center
- Hy-Vee, Inc
- MU Health Care
- Myers and Stauffer LC
The Residency Program for pharmacists is not compulsory, but it is useful, especially if you want to develop your skills further and specialize in a subfield of pharmacy. Some jobs require you to have done residency training before offering full-time employment. You can do your residency training at the University of Missouri Health System, which offers three pharmacy residency programs.
When you start practicing, your professional journey does not end. You have to keep renewing your license, which is done in Missouri every two years. Once each cycle ends, you must take 30 hours of continuing education which is verified by the Missouri Board of Pharmacy. In Missouri, you can get ACPE accredited courses at NetCe, EliteLearning and Biologix Solutions.
To be a successful pharmacist in Missouri, it would help if you joined an association that caters to the needs of pharmacists in the state. Joining a professional organization will help you build connections and access several benefits the community offers.
The Missouri Board of Pharmacy regulates the licensing of all pharmacy professionals in Missouri as well as pharmacies. They conduct routine checks at licensed pharmacies to ensure they keep to health regulations. They also ensure that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians renew their licenses.
The Missouri Pharmacy Association is an association of all pharmacy professionals, including pharmacy students and people who own pharmacy businesses. This association was created to advocate for the well-being of its members.
The Missouri Society of Health-System Pharmacists is an association of only professionals that work in the health system. Its main aim is to be a voice for pharmacists that work in hospitals.