Pharmacists dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners and provide information to patients about medications and their use. They advise physicians and other health practitioners on the selection,dosages, interactions, and side effects of medications. Pharmacists must understand the use, composition,and clinical effects of drugs. Pharmacists in community or retail pharmacies counsel patients, as well as answer questions about prescription drugs, such as possible adverse reactions or interactions. They provide information about over-the-counter drugs and make recommendations after asking a series of health questions, such as whether the customer is taking any other medications. They also assess, plan, and monitor drug regimens. They counsel patients on the use of drugs while in the hospital, and on their use at home when they are discharged. Pharmacists may also evaluate drug use patterns and outcomes for patients in hospitals or managed care organizations. Pharmacists who work in home health care monitor drug therapy and prepare infusions —solutions that are injected into patients — and other medications for use in the home. Most pharmacists keep confidential computerized records of patients’drug therapies to ensure that harmful drug interactions do not occur. They frequently teach pharmacy students serving as interns in preparation for graduation and licensure. Some pharmacists specialize in specific drug therapy areas, such as psychiatric disorders, intravenous nutrition support, oncology, nuclear pharmacy, and pharmacotherapy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I have to do while I am at Mississippi College to work toward a degree in Pharmacy?
You will do your first two years at Mississippi College and then transfer to the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy (Oxford, MS) to complete a BS in Pharmaceutical Science. This degree does not allow the practice of Pharmacy.
Admission to this program is competitive; a total of 120 will be accepted. Requirements include:
- Completion of two years of pre-pharmacy courses by spring of application year;
- A minimum grade of C in each required course and a cumulative GPA of at least 2.50 on all required pre-pharmacy courses, excluding electives in humanities, fine arts and social sciences;
- A GPA of at least 2.50 in all of your Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics courses;
- Completion of the Pharmacy College Admission Test taken no more than 12 months prior to application deadline;
- Application by March 1 with decisions announced by June 1..
The pre-pharmacy program at Mississippi College, which meets the minimum required prerequisites for the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, includes the following courses:
- English 101, 102
- Chemistry 101, 102, 303-313, 304-314, 418 or 419
- Biology 111, 112, 305, 306, 412, 414, 415
- Economics 232
- Communication 202 or 203
- Mathematics 121, 207
- Physics 101, 102
- Medical Ethics
21 hours of electives - These must include 6 hours of social or behavioral sciences and 9 hours of humanities and fine arts with a minimum of 3 hours in each of these two areas. Performance courses credits are acceptable. History may be a social science or humanity. Recommended electives include anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, economics, and microbiology. Grades in the elective courses have no effect on a students admission to the professional program.
No elective credit will be given for lower level math courses.
After completion of the third year (first professional year), 70-75 of those in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Program will be selected to enter the Doctor of Pharmacy Program. The selection will be based on performances in the course work and other factors. Those accepted will then complete the fourth year (second professional year), obtain a B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences and then enter the two-year Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum. This Pharm.D. is completed at the University of Mississippi Medical Mall in Jackson, MS. Those not accepted may complete the B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences, but cannot practice pharmacy. They have options to enter other graduate programs.
Is there an entrance exam to get into Pharmacy School?
Yes. You have to take the PCAT exam before entering the Pharmacy program. The average PCAT score of pharmacy students is 67. The average GPA for pre-pharmacy course work is 3.3.
Click here for the PCAT exam schedule; It's at the end of the document at the link.
What kind of courses will I take at Pharmacy School?
- Human Physiol/pathophysiol I
- Basic Pharmaceutics I
- Biochem Foundations of Therap
- Professional Communications in Pharmacy
- Human Physiol/pathophysiol II
- Basic Pharmaceutics II
- Pharmacogenetics And Pharmacoimmunology
- Principles of Medicinal Chemistry
- Laboratory Principles of Medicinal Chemistry
(Curriculum for those who wish to pursue the Doctor of Pharmacy degree)
- Basic and Clinical Pharmacol I
- Med Chem of Therapeut Agents I
- Pathogenesis and Etiology of Infectious Diseases
- Pharmacy Practice I
- Basic and Clinical Pharmacol II
- Med Chem of Therapeut Agents II
- Natural Product Derived Pharmaceuticals
- Pharmacy Practice II
- Pharmacy Practice III
- Pharmacy Law
What do I have to do to become a licensed Pharmacist?
Upon completing the Pharm.D. degree you will need to pass the NABPLEX, the national pharmacy board exam before you can become licensed to practice pharmacy. The exam is taken the month following graduation.
What do Pharmacists earn?
In community pharmacies, pharmacists usually begin at the staff level. After they gain experience and secure the necessary capital, Median annual earnings of pharmacists in 1998 were $66,220.The middle 50 percent earned between $52,310 and $80,250 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $42,550 and the highest 10 percent more than $88,670 a year. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of pharmacists in 1997 were as follows:
- Grocery stores - $67,000
- Drug stores and proprietary stores - 63,400
- Hospitals - 62,600
- Federal government - 61,700