Can You Do Pharmacy With A Chemistry Degree?

Chemistry VS Pharmacy

Are you thinking of studying pharmacy? The pharmacy has a broad career scope. After completing the pharmacy education, building some skills, gaining some experience, completing the licensure exam, and obtaining the licensure, you can chase a high paying job in this field.

Before answering your question, we would like to talk about pharmacy a bit more. Pharmacy is the study of medicine. As a pharmacist, your duty will not just be to count and dispense pills. It will be more than that. Pharmacy technicians and pharmacy assistants work under pharmacists. Being a pharmacist, you need to supervise them.

Chemistry is another career field with excellent growth opportunities. It includes the study of things chemical. Under a chemistry degree, you will learn chemical processes, chemical compositions, and chemical manipulations. Now, coming to the main question, “Can you do pharmacy with a chemical degree?”

Pharmacy and chemistry both are different career fields. If you have completed your chemistry degree and now you want to get into pharmacy, you need to complete the pharmacy education. The jobs after completion of pharmacy degree and chemistry degree are different. Hence, it is not possible to work in a pharmacy just with a chemistry degree.

To help you get a better understanding of both, let’s understand the difference.

Pharmacy Degree vs Chemistry Degree

Pharmacy degree is focused on the effects of pharmaceutical drugs on an organism. It includes the study of anatomy and pharmacodynamics. Pharmacy is an applied science that is about the application of some parts of chemistry. As a pharmacist, your job will be to dispense prescriptions and medications to the patients. You need to make sure the prescriptions you dispense are safe to use.

Talking about chemistry it helps to develop laboratory techniques. With a chemistry degree, you will get skills that will help you in the area of biology and medicine, physics and engineering, and geology and earth science. Chemistry is the brand which includes the study of the properties and building of molecules. As a chemist, your job will be to investigate the properties of matter at the level of atoms and molecules.

Pharmacists are of various specialties. For example, ambulatory care pharmacists, cardiology pharmacists, critical care pharmacists, nuclear pharmacists, and cardiology pharmacists. Like pharmacists, chemists are also of different specialties, like forensic chemists, organic chemists, medicinal chemists, and physical chemists.

Now, the question is which degree you should choose: pharmacy or chemistry?

There is no direct answer to this question. Whether you should study pharmacy or chemistry is solely based upon your interest and career goal you want to achieve. It’s about what you want to do for the rest of your life.

To understand which degree is right for you, you need to understand the duties and responsibilities of both pharmacists and chemists.

Duties & Responsibilities of Pharmacists

People think the duty of pharmacists is just to count pills, but it’s not true. Pharmacists dispense prescriptions and provide guidance to patients. Pharmacists need to make sure the prescription dispensed is safe to use for the patient. Here are some duties and responsibilities of pharmacists:

  • Dispensing the medications according to physicians’ prescription
  • Reviewing prescriptions to ensure accuracy
  • Compounding medications and preparing special solutions
  • Guiding patients regarding the right use of medications
  • Collaborating with other healthcare professionals
  • Overseeing daily ordering
  • Making sure the pharmacy complies with state and federal regulations

Duties & Responsibilities of Chemists

The job of the chemist is to research. Chemists search for new knowledge about chemicals. They may build various products such as drugs, fibers, cosmetics, etc. Check the below give duties and responsibilities to know more about chemist job description:

  • Work on various research projects
  • Develop new products and testing new methods
  • Giving instructions on proper chemical testing and processing procedures.
  • Preparing compounds, reagents, and solutions used in laboratory procedures.
  • Analyze various substances to find their composition

From the above-given duties & responsibilities of pharmacists and chemists, you can see that both are very different. Pharmacy is all about dispensing medications, ensuring prescription accuracy, managing pharmacy, etc., while chemistry is mainly about working on research projects.

What can you do with a chemistry degree?

There are three kinds of chemistry degrees: Associate degree in chemistry, Bachelor’s degree in chemistry, and a Master of Chemistry.

An associate degree in chemistry is a two-year program where you get a basic education on different chemistry topics.

Chemistry bachelor’s is a four-year program that includes the study of both mathematics and life sciences. To successfully complete your chemistry degree, you need to be good in mathematics as you will go through various mathematics courses, like calculus and advanced algebra.

You will learn organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry. And, you will also learn about physics, biology, and cell biology. Apart from this, laboratory practicals will also be very important.

Master of Chemistry is a professional degree. If you are clear that you want to become a professional chemist in the future, you need to earn a Master of a chemistry degree. Here’s what you can do with a chemistry degree:

  • Agricultural and Food Science Technicians
  • Agricultural and Food Scientists
  • Anthropologists and Archeologists
  • Atmospheric Scientists and Meteorologists
  • Biochemists and Biophysicists
  • Chemical Technicians
  • Chemists and Materials Scientists
  • Conservation Scientists and Foresters
  • Economists
  • Environmental Science and Protection Technicians
  • Environmental Scientists and Specialists
  • Epidemiologists
  • Forensic Science Technicians
  • Forest and Conservation Technicians
  • Geographers
  • Geological and Petroleum Technicians
  • Geoscientists
  • Historians
  • Hydrologists
  • Medical Scientists
  • Microbiologists
  • Natural Sciences Managers
  • Nuclear Technicians
  • Physicists and Astronomers
  • Political Scientists
  • Psychologists
  • Sociologists
  • Survey Researchers
  • Urban and Regional Planners
  • Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists

Having job experience in the field can further help you boost your career as a chemist.

Will Chemistry Help You With PharmD According To Real Pharmacists

We didn’t want you to only take our word on this so we went out and gathered information from a few forums and websites from real current or past student Pharmacists.

The only information we changed was any spelling or grammar errors. Other then that the opinions remain unchanged.

1. ChemistryTrash “Can be a good path” –

In school you will have the opportunity to study a lot of chemistry! So it can be a good path, but I would definitely recommend getting your start as a pharmacy technician as soon as you can to see if health care is the right field for you. If you decide you still like chemistry, but not so much healthcare, you could always go the PhD route instead of pharmd!

Try not to focus on people who are jaded by the field. The way the economy is currently, that how EVERY field is! Stick with what you’re passionate about and you’ll land on your feet 🙂

2. Ilead “If in H.S. take AP Chem first” –

I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t, I’ll just tell you my experience and you can decide for yourself.
After taking AP Chem my senior year, I realized that I loved chemistry. After volunteering at a pharmacy, I decided that I wanted to go into healthcare and thought that pharmacy would be a good choice because I was always interested in biology and chemistry.
I’ll be a junior in a 7 year pharmacy program and so far, chemistry has been a big part of our curriculum. In freshman year, there’s gen chem and in sophomore year, there is organic chem. In junior year, we have biochem (which I haven’t taken yet, but from what I can tell, there is a lot of chemistry involved). I’ve also heard that NAPLEX (the national exam to get license) also has organic chem.
So far, I’ve enjoyed being in pre-pharmacy and learned a lot about chemistry, but I don’t know what it’s like if you choose to attend a general 4 year college and pursue graduate school. I’m sorry but I also don’t know much about chemistry in the professional program.
Regarding pharmacy as a career, from what I’ve seen, chemistry isn’t used much.
But as people have said, you should also consider job outlook and if you want to pursue a career in healthcare. If you are really interested in chemistry, there are many different jobs that you can choose from.

3. Apples2Oranges “Biochem as Pharmacist” –

f you’re good in chemistry and you like it, PhD for you! You’ll use some biochemistry for the most part, but it’s not anything invigorating. As a pharmacist in general, you will learn what is already available, not what can be possibly made like a scientist. That goes for most medical fields…unless you’re like an MD/PhD or PharmD/PhD.

I was pretty good at chemistry, but dear god I hated it. I just pushed through it for school.

4. PharmdDoctor “Stick with Chemistry” –

To be honest, a BS in chemistry is not even worth it if you’re interested in chemistry.

Get a chemical engineering degree. It will make you a stronger candidate for the white collar industry jobs, while a Bachelor’s of chemistry will more likely get you a low-level tech or lab assistant job.

5. RcodyFB16 “Don’t need B.S. Chem” – Bachelor degree of any kind is not required to enter pharmacy school, in which you will earn a PharmD. You may want to think about investing even the minimum amount of effort in researching what is required on your own before deciding this is what you want to do. It certainly is not for everyone. Lots of people learn or decide they hate it after graduation once it is too late.



Final Thoughts

As we have seen, chemistry and pharmacy both are different career fields. One degree is focused on pharmaceutical drugs, while another one is about laboratory researches. Before choosing between the two, properly understand the job description of pharmacists and chemists. If you already have a B.S. in Chemistry or something similar just make sure you get in touch with the Colleges directly to see what will transfer if you are looking to get your PharmD.


Danielle Winner

Hello my name is Danielle Winner. Welcome to my site on Pharmacy School and tips and tricks to hopefully help you get in. It's not easy but hopefully you can learn to not make mistakes that students (myself included) make. Good luck on your journey. I graduated from Albany School of Pharmacy in May 2010 and have had a few different jobs across the east coast of the U.S.

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