This article will explain about how you can get your pharmacy degree online. We will provide information about what sort of program to look for and why earning a pharmacy degree is a smart career choice. We also will provide information about high quality pharmacy programs that we think you should consider.
What Is an Online Pharmacy Degree?
An online pharmacy degree is a graduate degree that is called the Doctor of Pharmacy, or Pharm.D. This is a graduate degree program that will take four or five years to complete, but the exact timeline for degree completion will vary depending upon the program.
A graduate from a pharmacy program will focus on drug related work that can include designing and developing new treatments, handling prescriptions, and advising patients on different types of medications that are available.
An online pharmacy degree is taken by a student who has graduated with a bachelor’s degree, usually in chemistry, biology or a related field. Once you are admitted into the pharmacy program, you will study chemistry, human biology, pharmacology, physiology and biology.
Most Pharm.D. degree programs have both academic research and vocational training on the job. In your real world work, you will learn about the various legal and ethical issues in play with modern pharmaceuticals and pharmacies, and also how to interact effectively with patients.
In this four or five year program, you will learn a great deal about different drug prescriptions, drugs, clinical practice and how to respond to various situations in the pharmacy field. Some students choose to specialize in new medicine development or in patient care. Some also opt to focus on elder care or infectious diseases.
Getting your online pharmacy degree will provide you with the opportunity to work as one of these types of pharmacists:
- Community pharmacist: Usually works in a retail store or chain drug store. A few may work in an independent pharmacy. They mainly provide prescriptions to patients and answer questions that they may have about any of the drugs they are taking. They also may provide some direct patient care, such as giving flu shots and vaccinations.
- Clinical pharmacist: Often works in a hospital or clinic or another type of healthcare setting. They do not spend much of their time giving out prescriptions. They work more in patient care, as they often go on hospital rounds with a doctor. These pharmacists often recommend medications that should be given to patients and they also oversee the timing and dosage of the delivery of the drugs.
- Consultant pharmacist: Provide consulting services to healthcare facilities and insurance providers on patient drugs or how to improve services at pharmacies. Some may provide direct advice to patients as well.
- Pharmaceutical pharmacist: May work with a pharmaceutical company in sales, marketing and research and development.
Why Earn an Online Pharmacy Degree?
Many people who want to work in the health care field but not clinically often choose a pharmacy career. You will be working with patients with their prescriptions but you will not actually be treating the patients themselves in most cases.
People who have a strong aptitude in sciences and math often choose a pharmacy career.
Another reason that students choose to study pharmacy is that job demand in the field is increasing. While the demand for pharmacists in regular, chain pharmacies and similar companies will only increase by 3% by 2024, it is likely that health care facilities will need more pharmacists for their hospitals and clinics. These facilities need more of these workers to provide skilled oversight of the drugs that are provided to patients and to provide better patient care.
Many pharmacists are also finding work in mail order and online pharmacy sales, while employment for retail pharmacists will show slower growth.
The last reason that people choose the pharmacy field is the salary. The median salary for all pharmacists was $121,000 in 2015. Meanwhile, the top 10% earn more than $150,000 per year.
Also, being able to take your pharmacy program online is a great advantage that many people are choosing to do today. Being able to take most of your classes on your own schedule makes getting through this five year program a bit easier.
Choosing an Online Pharmacy Degree Path
If you want to earn your Pharm.D. degree to become a pharmacist, you may want to consider Creighton University’s Pharm.D. program. Creighton University is one of the top private pharmacy schools in the United States, according to US News and World Report.
This is an innovative Pharm.D. program that is reflective of the changes that have occurred in the practice of pharmacy in the last decade in medication therapy management and patient centered care. Today, pharmacists are vital members of the larger healthcare team who offer important clinical services to help to improve the patient’s life quality. This five year program focuses on the following critical factors:
- Collection of patient data
- Medication therapy assessment and delivery
- Pharmacy care plans
- Counseling for patients
- Monitoring and compliance issues for patients
Graduates from this accredited program enter pharmacy practice with excellent pharmacy knowledge, superb communication skills, and excellent thinking abilities. You can take part in specialized internships and clinical programs that are suitable for students who have specific pharmacology interests.
Creighton University was the first pharmacy school to offer a distance, accredited pharmacy degree program. This innovative program covers all of the material as the campus program, but you are able to complete your course requirements with much more flexibility. You will enjoy interactions with your mentors, faculty and fellow students via web conferencing software, discussion boards, phone and email.
Some of your classes will be synchronous so you will have your classes live with other students. You will also complete some classes on your own. You will need to report to campus during two to four week sessions each summer. These on campus intensive sessions cover laboratory courses and clinical work.
You also will complete a clinical residency in this program. You will work a total of eight, five week clinical rotations. These are unpaid clinical rotations that will provide you with real life experience working in a pharmacy.
Your classes will include:
- Pharmacy Practice Experience
- Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience
- Pharmacy Skills Lab
- Health Systems and Patient Safety
- Chemical Basis of Drug Action
- Introduction to Research Methods and Biostatistics
- Pharmacy Practice Law and Ethics
Earning your pharmacy degree online is a major financial and time commitment. If you are going to spend five years earning this difficult degree, you should be certain that the program you have chosen is a good one.
The best way to make sure you are getting your money’s worth in your pharmacy program is to check that the program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education or ACPE. This highly respected body accredits pharmacy schools, verifying that they are teaching materials that meet modern pharmacy education standards.
By earning your pharmacy degree, you will be entering a growing career field with many exciting job options. People with a pharmacy degree can often choose from several job offers in some parts of the US.