Getting into the pharmacy field is quite exciting right now. With innovations, areas and specialties opening to professionals in the field, pharmacists are taking medicine and health as we know it to new heights. For instance, nuclear pharmacy is an area that deals with the use of radioactive drug therapy as a treatment method. Also, pharmacogenomics is concerned with creating drugs based on people’s genes. These branches are just examples of how much pharmacy has to offer. If you want to be a pharmacist, get ready to immerse yourself in a very innovative field that seeks to promote health and wellbeing.
The Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree is a step in the right direction to becoming a certified pharmacist. When you start your PharmD program, you are trained to understand the basic principles of pharmacy and how to apply these principles to improve public health. There are many opportunities for pharmacists in several industries, including the beauty industry, biotechnology industry, research facilities, educational institutions and the health industry. You can also choose to work as an independent pharmacist.
There are many procedures to undergo to get your PharmD degree and become a licensed pharmacist in Oklahoma. We’ll cover these steps in the article to help you gain insight into the experience you need before getting started.
As of 2020, the median pharmacist salary in Oklahoma was $134,207. Some cities in Oklahoma also have a lesser pay than the state median salary, such as Oklahoma City, which pays $130,423, and Hopetown, which pays $132,600. A pharmacist in the state could earn between $126,451 to $142,948.
The median salary is lower than the federal median pay of $142,773. However, Oklahoma has a lower cost of living which is about 14.6% lower than the national average, so pharmacists in Oklahoma can live just as comfortably as pharmacists in any other US state.
First, you must have completed high school and gotten your diploma. If you have done this, you can apply for a pre-pharmacy program. The pre-pharmacy program will last for two years and includes coursework in Chemistry, English, Biology, Microbiology, Statistics, Anatomy and Physiology. This pre-pharmacy program prepares you for pharmacy school by teaching you the foundational courses.
Once you have completed all the required credits and courses, you can apply for pharmacy school. You can start applying in the second year of your pre-pharmacy program through the Pharmacy College Application Service. However, you should note that not all schools will need you to apply through this service.
For most schools, you will have to submit your PCAT (Pharmacy College Admissions Test) scores with your application. The PCAT is used to test your level of readiness for pharmacy school. However, some schools do not require this test for admission.
Other requirements for pharmacy school include transcripts from previously attended institutions, letters of recommendation and an interview if you’re applying to a competitive school of pharmacy. The requirements can be a little different across the 144 pharmacy schools in the US. To see the specific requirements for your school of choice, go here.
If you meet all the requirements of the schools you have applied to, you can expect an offer of admission and start your PharmD journey.
In a standard four-year PharmD program, you will be introduced to the basics of pharmacy with courses in pharmaceutical microbiology, pharmacognosy, pharmacology and pharmacy management in the first and second year. By the third and fourth years, you’ll take on more advanced coursework, including intensive laboratory work and practical training. Courses you’ll take in this period may include Geriatric Pharmacy, Marketing and Development in the Pharmaceutical Industry, Integrated Hematology, Integrated Psychiatry and Ambulatory Practices.
Towards the end of the third year and throughout the fourth year, you will do more clinical rotations (Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience) and less theoretical coursework. Your clinical rotations may be in hospitals, pharmaceutical industries, primary care centers and labs that simulate clinical conditions. Your entire clinical hours should amount to 2000 before you can graduate.
For schools with an accelerated three-year PharmD program, the first two years will be focused on theoretical coursework, while the third year will be the clinical part. The dual degree six-year program combines a pre-pharmacy program with the four-year program and another program of your choice.
Wegmans School of Pharmacy at St. John Fisher College is accredited by ACPE (Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education), and it offers a four-year PharmD online program. The first two years are focused on the theoretical aspect of pharmacy. The third year combines mostly theoretical coursework with an introduction to pharmacy practice, while the fourth year focuses on the clinical aspect of your learning. You will need 2000 hours’ worth of clinical postings to graduate. This clinical exposure can be obtained in any accredited pharmaceutical or medical and health facility in your Oklahoma community.
The tuition for the online program at this school costs about $1,130 per credit load, and you will need a minimum of 151 credits to graduate. Note that this tuition does not include clinical fees, books and departmental fees. Also, you will not need to take your PCAT to be accepted into this school but will need at least 62 pre-pharmacy credits from an accredited school. Your application will be through the PharmCAS.
The college of pharmacy at the University of Oklahoma was established in 1893 and has served as a center for training different generations of pharmacists. It runs a four-year PharmD program and also offers a dual degree program. The tuition for out-of-state students is $35,706 per year, while the tuition for residents is $15,914 per year. Admission for the University of Oklahoma PharmD degree program is highly competitive, with an acceptance rate of 38%.
Requirements include a minimum PCAT score of 35 and two letters of recommendation. You’ll also need to attend an interview before you are accepted.
Southwestern Oklahoma College is located in the city of Weatherford in Oklahoma and offers and offers a four-year PharmD degree program. You can also do your pre-pharmacy program in this school and start your PharmD program after completion. The school has a 60% acceptance rate, and the requirements for admission include PCAT and SAT. You will also be interviewed for a more subjective assessment of who you really are and what your motivates are. The Southwestern Oklahoma College will also need you to submit two letters of recommendation. The tuition is $22,464 per year for students from Oklahoma and $37,800 per year for out-of-state students.
To practice in Oklahoma as a pharmacist legally after getting your PharmD degree, you need a license. The requirements for this are your PharmD degree, no criminal record, 1500 internship hours, a $125 fee, an interview from the Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy and a pass in your licensing exams. These licensing exams are NAPLEX and MPJE.
NAPLEX stands for North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam and assesses your knowledge of the pharmacy principles necessary for practice. HOWEVER, the MPJE (Multi-state Jurisprudence Exam) is used to assess your understanding of ethics, law, and rules governing pharmacy in the country and Oklahoma.
Oklahoma has around 3760 pharmacists working in the state as of 2020. This number is projected to increase, primarily due to the increasing demand in the country. Some of the places you can work include the following:
- Oklahoma Health Care
- Integris Health
- Saint Francis Health System
- OU Health
- Prospero Health
- CVS Health
- Ardent Health Services
- Sam’s Club
- Boston Medical Center
- Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services – Fort Supply
To maintain your license in Oklahoma, you must complete 15 hours of ACPE-approved continued education each year. Additionally, you must submit a verifiable document to the Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy. You can get ACPE-approved courses from EliteLearning and Biologix Solutions.
This is a two-year program you can do after your graduate from school. A residency program enhances your skills and knowledge of the pharmaceutical practice. It is generally divided into two PGY1 (Post Graduate Year 1) and (Post Graduate Year 2).
The University of Oklahoma Health Science Center College of Pharmacy has a pharmacy residency program in Oklahoma. Their PGY1 offers you the chance to learn more about general pharmacy practice and patient care. The PGY2 focuses on specialties like ambulatory care, pediatrics, oncology and internal medicine.
As a pharmacist in Oklahoma, you should try to become part of an association relevant to your profession. It helps your professional growth by connecting you to a vast network of opportunities.
Oklahoma Pharmacist Association is an association of every pharmacy professional in the state. They host conventions and symposiums for their members and outreaches to improve the public’s health.
Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy is a regulatory body concerned with licensing and regulating pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacies in Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Society of Health-System Pharmacists is only interested in pharmacy professionals that work in the Oklahoma health system. Their main aim is to add value to their members and advocate for better patient care.