Becoming a Pharmacist

Lizbeth Arellano


Ever since I was a child, I've always been interested in careers in the medical field. From Doctors to physical therapists, those are the people that I have always admired. The one career that interests me the most is a pharmacist career. I really admire how well they work with others and the fact that they are always there to answer many of your questions and concerns. I have always appreciated the little things that pharmacists do because those are the things that count. I like listening to others and attending others needs so I think this career is a good fit for me.

Career research

Daily tasks and responsibilities

  • Advice customers on medications
  • Maintain pharmacy files with patient records
  • Instruct patients on how and when to take a prescribed medication
  • Inform customers about potential side effects they may experience from taking certain medications

Work environment

Most pharmacists work in Pharmacies, Grocery stores, drug stores, and clinics. Pharmacists work full time, and sometimes on weekends or at night.

Education and training

You must have a Doctor of pharmacy degree and a postgraduate professional degree. All Doctor of Pharmacy programs require applicants to take post secondary courses such as chemistry, biology, and anatomy. Most programs require at least 2 years of undergraduate study. Most programs also require to take the Pharmacy College Admissions Test. Doctors of pharmacy programs usually take 4 years to finish, Some schools admit high school graduates into a 6-year program. A Pharm.D. program includes courses in chemistry, pharmacology, and medical ethics. Students also complete supervised work also called internships, in different settings such as hospitals and retail pharmacies.

Preferred job skills

  • Active listening
  • Critical thinking
  • active learning
  • Communication skills

Job Outlook/Salary

Increase by 14% by 2022

Salary:$104,440 In Illinois

High school preparation


Many High schools want to get their students ready for their future. There are some courses that can be taken that can help you gain knowledge before you enter your career.

Some of these courses can help you gain more knowledge about the pharmacist career.

  • Biology
  • Medical Careers
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • chemistry

Extra curricular activities

Although there are not many extracurricular activities that give you more knowledge on this career, you have the option of doing activities that can make some of your job skills better. Some of these extra curricular activities can help you better your skills such as:

  • Speech club
  • key club

Work/Volunteer experience

You could volunteer at your local pharmacy and help them complete simple tasks. You could also become more involved and you could seek an internship at these following stores:


Bradley Henning-Physical science teacher at East Leyden High School

Teresa French-English teacher at East Leyden High School

Anna Reed-Art teacher at East Leyden High School

Pharmacists Job Description

My post secondary plans

College related majors

  • Pharmaceutics and drug design
  • Medicinal and pharmaceutical chemistry
  • pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences, and administration

Training programs/certificate courses

Following graduation from Pharm.D.program, pharmacists seeking an advanced position may need to complete a 1-2 year residency.

In order to become a pharmacist you must attend college/universities. You need to expand your knowledge as being a pharmacist is a very tricky career. Some universities that you should consider going to are:

  • Illinois University at Chicago
  • Midwestern University
  • Southern Illinois University

Q&A about becoming a Pharmacist

I had the pleasure of interviewing someone who is also a pharmacist. His name is Ben Andrick and he answered some of the few questions that I had about the profession in general. I also asked him about himself and what schools he would recommend.

Q:What schools would you recommend?

"All pharmacy programs are accredited by the American College of Pharmacy Education. Therefore, all programs meet the same standards in regards to your pharmacy education. This education will include basic medical science, therapeutic and clinical experiences. What I feel is most important is to find a school that is a good match for your personality and in a location you would want to live (remember pharmacy school is at least 4 years long)".

Q:What is the biggest challenge that you have faced in pursuing your career?

"Certainly, acceptance into pharmacy school is a very competitive process. However, with dedication and a passion for pursuing a degree in pharmacy, along with good grades, you should have no problems. Pharmacy schools are looking for students who are well rounded individuals who will not only be able to handle the rigorous course work, but will be able to work well with patients and other healthcare professionals, such as doctors and nurses".

Q:Is it worth having to pay student loans because of all the years of attending college?

"In my opinion, yes attending pharmacy school is worth the loans. As a student, I used private and government loans in addition to working throughout college. Though you can accumulate substantial debt, there are many opportunities for scholarships specific to pharmacy in addition to school scholarships. In my opinion, the investment is worth the risk because, firstly, there are few professions where the salary upon entry to the work force is great than $100,000 and second, this was a career I truly wanted to be a part of. Pharmacy is a profession in which you will be able to pay off your student loans after college".

Q:What is the average salary for someone entering the career?

The average salary for a US pharmacist is about $110,000 a year.

Q:Does a pharmacist salary support a comfortable lifestyle

"Yes! As you can see from the salary information above, pharmacists make more than enough money to live comfortably. In addition, many employers will offer healthcare benefits. As for hours, they can be variable. You should expect to work some weekend and possibly holidays early in your career. Also, there are opportunities for part-time work as well".


It's never to early to start thinking about your future career. I know that it might not be easy to pursue a career in pharmacy, but I've certainly learned a lot more since I did this research. Some things I did expect of the career and other things where new to me. This experience made me realize that even as a high school student, you can still find ways to expand your knowledge on your future career.