As part of the healthcare industry, pharmacy is a career choice that offers stability as well as excellent growth potential. The median level income for pharmacy graduates is well above the national average when compared to other industries.  A state license is required to practice pharmacy in the U.S., and a state exam is usually taken after a degree is obtained. The general pharmacy employment sector at the associate and/or Pharm.D. level is classified into pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy aides.

Pharmacy Associates Course Information

The associate online pharmacy degree qualifies the degree holder as a pharmacy technician. This is a 2-year degree that provides the graduate with the skills and knowledge required to assist licensed pharmacists in performing tasks such as counter dispensing of medications and preparation of prescriptions at retail and mail order pharmacies. Other career choices include pharmacist assistance in hospitals, retirement homes, and assisted living facilities. After completion of an online pharmacy degree, graduates can immediately enter the workforce or proceed toward a Pharm.D. degree.

Doctor of Pharmacy Course Information

The pharmacy BA has been replaced by the Pharm.D., or Doctor of Pharmacy (not to be confused with a doctorate PhD), degree at most institutions, to be more in accordance with other medical disciplines. The Pharm.D. program is a 6-year course of study and includes 2 years of pre-pharmacy courses. This degree qualifies graduates as pharmacists once they pass the state license exam, but a license in one state does not automatically qualify one to practice in another. Online pharmacy degree programs often require successful completion of the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT).

Pharmacy Masters Course Information

A 2-year masters in pharmacy prepares the graduate for leadership roles in the pharmaceutical industry. The MA in pharmacy combines chemistry and healthcare as they relate to the research, development, and manufacture of synthetic medications to treat and heal the body. The online pharmacy degree chosen at the MA level is dependent on the student’s professional goals; choices include a Masters of Science in Pharmaceutical Science, a Masters of Science in Pharmacy Administration, and a Master of Business Administration in Pharmaceutical Business, Pharmacy Management, or Pharmacy Administration.

Pharmacy Doctorate Course Information

Both campus-based and online pharmacy degree programs at the doctorate level generally require about 3-4 years to complete. Individuals pursuing this degree often plan to work in pharmaceutical research and development, teach at a college or university, or pursue private industry positions. Standard in comparison to other PhD programs, the pharmacy doctorate requires coursework, candidacy examinations, and the writing of a dissertation. PhD recipients may also pursue government positions with organizations such as the FDA, DEA, National Institute of Health, or the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Pharmacy Degree Career Outlook

People will always need medications, and a pharmacy career offers many opportunities not only in prescription handling but in research and development and education as well. Position openings continue to grow in all sectors of the pharmacy industry, offering graduates potential employment in pharmacies, hospitals, elderly living institutions, pharmaceutical firms, and government agencies. Not only are salary levels high in the pharmacy profession, most pharmacy industry personnel also earn overtime, bonuses, and are offered excellent benefits and profit-sharing opportunities.

Anyone interested in pursuing a career in the health care industry might want to consider the pharmacy discipline. This field offers tremendous career possibilities at the associate level, the Pharm.D. level, or the advanced Masters and/or PhD level. Degrees can be obtained on campus or online for the convenience of the student, which makes it a great diploma choice for working individuals and stay at home moms with young children.

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