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 after being 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 should I do while at Mississippi College to work toward a degree in pharmacy?
After your first three years at Mississippi College, you can 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. Requirements include:
- Completion of three 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 prepharmacy 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 141, 142, 303-313, 304-314, 418 or 419
- Biology 111, 112, 305, 306, 412, 414, 415, 417
- Economics 232
- Communication 202 or 203
- Mathematics 121, 207
- Physics 151, 152
- Medical Ethics
After completion of the first professional year on the Oxford campus, the student will be awarded a BS in Pharmaceutical Sciences and will continue in the Doctorate of Pharmacy Program. The second professional year will also be on the Oxford campus. The third year will be at the UM medical center in Jackson, MS. The fourth year of the professional program will be at an approved pharmacy.
Is there an entrance exam to get into pharmacy school?
Entrance to the pharmacy program requires passing the PCAT exam. The average PCAT score of pharmacy students is 67. The average GPA for prepharmacy coursework is 3.3.
What kind of courses will I take at pharmacy school?
First Professional Year: First Semester
- Human Pathophysiology I (PHCL 341)
- Basic Pharmaceutics I (PHAR 331)
- Professional Communications in Pharmacy (PHAD 390)
- Pharmacy Administration I (PHAD 391)
- Pharmaceutical Calculations (PHAR 330)
- Information Skills (PRCT 350)
- Pharmacy Practice Skills Laboratory I (PRCT 353)
- Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (Community) (PRCT 375)
First Professional Year: Second Semester
- Human Pathophysiology II (PHCL 342)
- Basic Pharmaceutics II (PHAR 332)
- Pharmacokinetics (PHAR 334)
- Pharmacogenetics and Pharmacoimmunology (MEDC 317)
- Pharmacy Administration II (PHAD 392)
- Pharmacy Practice Skills Laboratory II (PRCT 354)
- Professional Electives (1-2)
Second Professional Year: First Semester
- Basic and Clinical Pharmacology I (PHCL 443)
- Introduction to the Principles of Medicinal Chemistry I (MEDC 416)
- Pharmacy Law (PHAD 491)
- Pharmacy Management and Business Methods (PHAD 493)
- Pharmacy Practice I (PRCT 450)
- Practice Skills Laboratory III (PRCT 455)
- Elective (professional)
Second Professional Year: Second Semester
- Basic and Clinical Pharmacology II (PHCL 444)
- Introduction to the Principles of Medicinal Chemistry II (MEDC 417)
- Natural Product Derived Pharmaceuticals (PHCG 422)
- Pharmacoeconomics, Pharmacoepidemiology, & Medicine Safety (PHAD 494)
- Pharmacy Practice II (PRCT 451)
- Practice Skills Laboratory IV (PRCT 456)
- Elective (professional)
Third Professional Year: First Semester
- Pharmaceutical Care I: Knowledge and Comprehension (PRCT 555)
- Pharmaceutical Care I: Problem Solving (PRCT 556)
- Pharmaceutical Care I: Group (PRCT 557)
- Pharmaceutical Care II: Knowledge and Comprehension (PRCT 558)
- Pharmaceutical Care II: Problem Solving (PRCT 559)
- Pharmaceutical Care II: Group (PRCT 560)
- Community Pharmacy Practice III (PRCT 543)
- Practice Skills Laboratory V (PRCT 577)
Third Professional Year: Second Semester
- Pharmaceutical Care III: Knowledge and Comprehension (PRCT 561)
- Pharmaceutical Care III: Problem Solving (PRCT 562)
- Pharmaceutical Care III: Group (PRCT 563)
- Pharmaceutical Care IV: Knowledge and Comprehension (PRCT 564)
- Pharmaceutical Care IV: Problem Solving (PRCT 565)
- Pharmaceutical Care IV: Group (PRCT 569)
- Preventive Medicine and Public Health (PRCT 552)
- Institutional Pharmacy Practice III (PRCT 544)
- Specialty Pharmacy Practice Elective (PRCT 545)
Fourth Professional Year
Each student will participate in four required five-week rotations (medicine, ambulatory care, institutional practice, and community practice) and four five-week elective rotations for a total of 40 weeks of experiential education during the period beginning in June following completion of the PY3 year and ending with May commencement of the succeeding year. The electives must be in different areas of training. Students also must register for Seminar Skills Development II (PRCT 567) during one semester of the PY4 year.
How do I become a licensed pharmacist?
Upon completing the Pharm.D. degree you are required to pass the NABPLEX, the national pharmacy board exam to be licensed to practice pharmacy. The exam is taken the month following graduation.
What do pharmacists earn?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the yearly average median pay for pharmacists in 2012 was $116,670.