Getting An Online PharmD Degree in Montana
Pharmacy is a field of science concerned with the preparation and administration of drugs. This includes the cultivation of plants used to make drugs, the synthesis of chemicals that have medicinal properties, and how these agents are used to make drugs. As a pharmacist, you will be responsible for the dispensation of these medicines adequately. You will also work with other health professionals and advise them on the best drug practices for patients.
If you want to become a pharmacist in the United States, you must enroll in a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program. This program allows you to learn all the correct principles and skills you will need for practice. You’ll also be able to work anywhere you want in the health sector as a licensed pharmacist. This includes hospitals, primary to tertiary health care centers, research facilities, biotechnological industries, and educational institutions.
The US has around 144 accredited schools of pharmacy across its 50 states that you can go to start your PharmD training. Hence, you can apply to any of the schools to become a pharmacist. However, in this article, we will be discussing how you can get your online PharmD degree in Montana.
A pharmacist in Montana earns an average of $129,424 yearly, with an upper limit of around $137,854 and a lower limit of $121,945. This average amount is slightly higher than the federal average of $125,690. However, Montana’s average standard of living is lower than the national average by 6%, while housing and health costs in Montana are slightly higher than the national average. At the end of the day, you can expect to live as a Pharmacist in Montana just as well as anywhere else in the US. However, the longer you work in Montana, the higher your pay, around $25,000 more in 10 years.
The first thing you must do is complete your high school. After this, it’s required that you get a pre-pharmacy course program degree. You will expect to do coursework in chemistry, biology, microbiology, anatomy, physiology, and statistics. After completing this, you can apply to pharmacy school through the Pharmacy College Application Service. At this point, you should also write your Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT); however, some schools, such as St. John Fisher College, may waive it for newer students.
To apply to pharmacy schools, you will need to meet requirements like submission of all your transcripts, completion of a specified amount of credit hours in your pre-pharmacy program, and at least two letters of recommendation from authorities speaking about your character. Some schools may need you to have experience of some form in healthcare, whether voluntary work or internship. This increases your chance of being accepted.
These are the standard conditions, but schools can have different requirements, and you should make sure you check them out. Once you get accepted, you can pay your tuition and start your training.
Once you get admission and start your PharmD degree in Montana, you will be subject to rigorous classroom, laboratory, and clinical training. In your first year, you will be taught the basics of pharmaceutical sciences, such as medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, administrative pharmacy, and microbiology. This will prepare you for the world of pharmacy after you graduate.
As you progress, you will be taught more advanced pharmaceutical course works such as pharmacognosy, Immunology, Ambulatory practices, Neurology, Oncology, Pharmacoeconomics, and Hospital Management. Your clinical rotations may start in your third year, but they get more intense and make the bulk of your coursework in your fourth year.
You will not just be taught the principles of pharmacy but also the entrepreneurial aspect and the pharmacy ethics of practice. This is to make you an all-around prepared student. After you have completed all your years without any failed courses, you will graduate and be awarded your PharmD Degree.
Online Schools: St. John Fisher College
St. John Fisher College is one of the leading online pharmacy schools in the country. It is accredited by the ACPE (Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education) and runs a four-year program. To apply to this school, you will need at least 62 semester hours of pre-pharmacy education. You will also have to submit transcripts from every other institution you attended and two recommendation letters. The application period runs from December to June, and you apply through the PharmCAS.
To graduate, you will need to complete 2000 clinical hours. Your clinical hours can be done in a health institution in your vicinity. This school’s tuition costs around $1,130 per credit hour and prides itself on giving you your money’s worth. You will have world-class academicians and clinicians catering to you throughout your stay.
Physical Option: University of Montana
The University of Montana is an ACPE-certified school located in Missoula, Montana. It runs a four-year program and has an acceptance rate of 40%, making it a very competitive school. The first three years of school here are spent learning the foundational principles of pharmacy, while the last year devotes time to the clinical aspect of the training. The estimated tuition per year is $21,408 for non-residents of Montana and $5,352 for Montana residents. You will also need to submit at least one letter of recommendation to get accepted.
The University of Montana participates in the Early Decision Program that allows you to secure admission early enough before October 1. If you are not accepted, you can apply to other pharmacy schools before the window closes. You will have to complete at least 200 semester hours of coursework to graduate from this school. You can also do a dual degree program and get an MBA or M.Sc. while still getting your PharmD degree.
To start practicing as a pharmacist in Montana, you need to get licensed. You will have to pass two licensing exams to get your pharmacy license. These exams are the NAPLEX (North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam) and MPJE (Multi-state Jurisprudence Exam).
- The NAPLEX exam is concerned with if you have the proper knowledge to practice pharmacy in the state. The minimum passing score is 75 on a 0-150 scale.
- The MPJE is a two-hour test of 120 questions about your knowledge of Montana’s laws guiding pharmacy. It is referred to as a jurisprudence examination.
Other requirements include 1,500 internship hours, a clean record, and a fee of $120.
Montana employs more than 1,200 pharmacists as of 2020, which is expected to enjoy an 11.5% increase. The city of Billings has the highest number of employed pharmacists in the state, followed by Missoula. Other places you can work as a pharmacist include:
- Fort Harrison
- Billings Clinic
- SCL Health Medical Group
- Sidney Health Center
- RiverStone Health
- The Rehabilitation Hospital of Montana
- Option Care Health
- CVS Health
- Sam’s Club
You can run a residency program in Montana to improve your general skills as a pharmacist. It may also be required if you want to specialize in an area in pharmacy. You should note that you are not required to do this as it is a voluntary step. However, residency training may be necessary to get a full-time job in some facilities.
You can attend a residency program at the University of Montana, with rotations in internal medicine, critical care, ambulatory care, pain management, and pediatrics.
As a pharmacist in Montana, you must maintain your license to be up to date on best practices. You must have 15 hours of continued education each year with 5 hours in an approved group setting. However, if you do not take 5 hours in a supported group setting, you will be required to complete 20 hours of continued education at home. You will have to submit the hours each year before June 30. For more rules, visit here.
It is not enough to be licensed in Montana; you should also try to be registered with professional organizations in the state. This will help you access a community that can give you value.
The Montana Pharmacy Association is an association that has been active since 1890 and acts as a voice for pharmacy professionals in the state, including pharmacy students. They host educational symposiums, training, and conventions to promote health and create awareness among the public about specific ailments. They also publish research that adds to the amount of literature available for evidence-based practice,
The Montana Board of Pharmacy regulates individual licenses of pharmacy professionals in the state. They also give out licenses for pharmacies to operate in the state. They perform routine checks in these pharmacies to ensure they are up to standard and act as a legislative board that helps keep the pharmacy professionals in the state in check.