Becoming a Pharmacist in Vermont

Many who choose to get a Doctorate in Pharmacy do so to bridge the gap between physicians and patients. That position comes with the responsibility of dispensing the appropriate prescriptions and advising patients of possible side effects and safe usage. Handling issues that concern people’s health is a responsibility that can save a patient’s life. Pharmacists need to know about drug interactions, such as which ones should not be taken simultaneously and what adverse side effects can happen. They also conduct health and wellness screenings for patients, give advice for living a healthy lifestyle, administer immunizations and oversee the pharmacy.

Being a Pharmacist (PharmD) does not limit you to working in a Pharmacy. A Pharmacist degree can lead to options such as research and development, inpatient and outpatient care, biotech and academic work. Often these options can require additional schooling hours, but getting your PharmD is the first step.

Requirements for Becoming a Pharmacist

Students who want to become a Pharmacist (PharmD) must enroll in prerequisite courses. These courses include subjects such as biology, physics and chemistry. While some programs only require two years, others require four years of undergraduate work. After these courses are complete, you can enroll in an accredited Pharmacy Program.

Pharmacy Programs usually take a duration of four years to complete. During those four years, you will complete a rigorous curriculum and work hands-on in labs to prepare you to become a Doctor of Pharmacy.

Once you have graduated, you have two exams to pass. Each test must pass with a 75% or higher. The first exam is called the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX). This exam tests your knowledge and skills in pharmacy work. The second test to take is the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE). The MPJE is an exam that is more state-specific in nature.

After you have accomplished your undergrad work, graduated, and passed your state exams, you can take a sigh of relief. The hardest work is behind you. Your next step is to complete 1,740 hours of an internship. Among those, 1,240 hours can be from a school externship. An internship will thrust you into the work field you have worked so hard to achieve.

It is essential to know that after you have accomplished your Doctorate and started working in a pharmacy setting, your state requirements are not met. In Vermont, all Pharmacists must complete 30 hours of pharmacy continuing education every two years to renew their pharmacist license. Ten of those credits need to be live.

The NAPLEX and MPJE

Passing both the NAPLEX and MPJE is necessary to practice as a Pharmacist in every state in America. The NAPLEX exam is designed to assess the competence of prospective pharmacists. It is an adaptive, computerized exam that will adjust the questions based on the test taker’s answers. There are approximately 225 questions on the exam, and you will have six hours to complete it.

The cost of the exam is $575, and candidates who do not pass the first time will have up to four more chances to pass. Most accredited pharmacy schools have a high first-time pass rate so most will not have to re-test.

The MPJE is an exam that tests you on the applications of laws and regulations for individual states. This exam will need to be taken in any state a Pharmacist is seeking to work in. This is also an adaptive exam and will cost $200 to take. There are a total of 120 questions on the test, and you will have two and a half hours to complete it.

Salary of a Pharmacist in Vermont

Salary ranges can vary widely depending on the city, education, certifications, additional skills and the number of years you have spent in your profession. With that in mind, the range in Vermont for a Pharmacist’s annual income is $129,881 and $146,826. This comes to an average of $137,850 annually for a Doctor of Pharmacy. With the national average coming in at $128,570, Vermont offers competitive wages and stability.

Accredited Online Pharmacy Programs

There are many accredited online pharmacy programs to choose from nowadays. With virtual learning on the rise, there is one college that stands out the most.

St John Fisher College

Saint John Fisher College (SJFC) opened its Wegmans School of Pharmacy over 16 years ago. Along with those years of experience, Saint John Fishers College offers experiential learning. Up to 30% of the curriculum they offer is hands-on. They have also partnered with thousands of pharmacies all over the United States to enable students to complete their required 2000 hours of clinical rotations in their own community.

SJFC keeps its online classes small, so students get plenty of personalized training along with one-on-one access to faculty. Graduates from St. John Fisher School of Pharmacy consistently test better and get better residency placement after completing the program.

Having the flexibility of taking classes and making them fit around your unique lifestyle is invaluable. St. John Fisher College makes it easy to achieve your PharmD from the comfort of your own home.

Admission requirements to consider when applying to St John Fisher College:

  • Complete and submit an application through Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS)
  • Official transcripts from all institutions you have attended
  • Two or more Letters of Recommendation
  • Complete an admissions interview. This can be done in-person or online
  • Complete 62 semester hours of prerequisite credits. All science lab-based courses must have all been completed in the past five years
  • Have a 2.75 GPA or higher in both science and cumulative courses. This is the minimum GPA. Most students admitted to the program are accepted with a much higher GPA.
  • Pass a background check

Accredited Campus Pharmacy Programs

There are currently only two on-campus Universities offering a Pharmacy Program in the state of Vermont. Both of these colleges happen to offer the same Pharmacy Program. Let’s take a quick look at what both Universities have to offer:

University of Vermont

University of Vermont (UVM) partnered with Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS) back in 2009 to offer students in Colchester, VT an opportunity for a four-year Pharmacy Program. The program provided at UVM prides itself in its cutting-edge research in areas such as nephrology, public health, infectious disease, and epigenetics. Hundreds of rotation sites are available to students to gain first-hand experience and ready them for real-world pharmacy work.

Admission requirements for UVM’s Pharmacy Program include:

  • Complete most of, if not all, program prerequisites (General Chemistry- eight semester hours, General Biology- eight semester hours, Biology- three semester hours, Organic Chemistry- eight semester hours, Statistics- three semester hours, Calculus- three semester hours, Microbiology- three semester hours, Physics- three semester hours, Public Speaking- three semester hours, Humanities- nine semester hours, Social Science Elective- three semester hours and General Electives- nine semester hours)
  • Apply to Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS)
  • Official transcripts from all institutions you have attended
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • GPA: no courses that have received a C or lower will be accepted

Saint Michael’s College

Saint Michael’s College is a private Roman Catholic institution that offers over 30 majors in the Arts and Sciences. The University opened its doors in 1904 and has since then evolved and partnered with other colleges to offer an array of programs to its students. Saint Michael’s College partnered with Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS) to offer its all-inclusive program to Vermont students. ACPHS has affiliation agreements with over 14 institutions in America, ensuring its top-of-the-line program is available to as many students as possible while still offering small classroom experiences.

Admission requirements into the St. Michael’s Graduate Pharmacy Program:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Have a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • All official transcripts from any undergraduate institutions attended
  • Two Letters of Recommendation. One letter must be from a college professor. No letters can be from a family member.
  • Submit a two-page essay describing an experience that has inspired you
  • Submit a resume
  • Have an interview
  • Submit a $50 non-refundable application fee
  • Submit a completed Application for Graduate Admission

Job Prospects

Pharmacists have enjoyed high earnings and job security and progress in both the health care system and professional projects. The beauty of Pharmaceutical work is also that the work environment has variety. You can find a pharmacy in grocery stores, drug stores, big-box stores, hospitals, private offices, institutional settings, government agencies, mail-order environments and other healthcare facilities. These can be found all over Vermont and many other states, as well.

Some of Vermont’s top companies for pharmacists are CVS, KPH Healthcare Services, the University of Vermont Medical Center and RPh on the Go. With hourly rates ranging from $73.92 up to $85.43 with these companies, you are sure to find a position that is competitive and comfortable. Truly some of the best rewards for all the hard work in achieving the Pharmacist title.