Is It Hard To Become A Pharmacist? Pharmacy School 101

Hard To Become Pharmacist

Pharmacy is a broad career field. There are so many job positions out there in pharmacy. As careers in pharmacy are growing nowadays, more and more people are enrolling in this program. If your plan is to become a pharmacist, you need to do a lot of hard work and gain a good experience. A pharmacist is responsible for so many tasks in the pharmacy. In this post, we will discuss, “How difficult it is to become a pharmacist?” We have answered different questions often asked by students nowadays.

Is Pharmacy School Stressful?

Pharmacy school can be stressful when you have prepared no plan, and you don’t keep track of what you are doing. The study environment of a pharmacy school would be different than any other pharmacy schools. As everybody has their own strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, and qualities, for some people, pharmacy school cannot be stressful, while for some, it can be very stressful.

If you are someone who has a great interest in this field and if you love to explore new things in the pharmaceutical industry, then this should not be very stressful for you. For most students, pharmacy schools are very stressful. This is due to the following reasons:

Worrying too much

Most students worry about how much others are studying or how well they are performing. If you are also like one of those students, then you should stop comparing yourself with other students. Instead of that, you should start focusing on your studies and how well you are doing.

Don’t take time to relax

Studying more is good, but it shouldn’t be the reason behind your depression. You should take some time to relax and enjoy yourself. You should take the time for your hobby, like a gym, watching your favorite film, etc.

No plan

Planning is the best way to reduce your stress for studies. You need to create a plan and keep track of your assignments and studies. This way, you will not feel stressful.

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Are Pharmacists in Demand?

People will tell, “Pharmacy is not the way it was, now there are too many pharmacists.” But, in reality, it isn’t true. There is still a demand for pharmacists. Pharmacy is a continuous growing field. We cannot say that there is a great demand for pharmacists in each and every state. Some parts of the United States have a great need for pharmacists than other parts fo the country.

As per the reports, the number of pharmacy jobs available was 314,300 in 2018. There is still a demand for pharmacists. There are many pharmacists in the market that want you to believe that pharmacists are not in demand, and they don’t get jobs. If you have completed your pharmacy education and not finding the job, then your job finding location could be one of the reasons why you are facing difficulties in find the pharmacist job.

How Long Does it Take to Get A Degree in Pharmacy?

In order to become a pharmacist, you need to put a great effort and hard work. You must go step by step procedure. First of all, you need to get an undergraduate degree. After you earn an undergraduate degree, you need to get a pharmacy degree, which is also known as PharmD or Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

To enroll for the Pharmacy degree program (Doctor of Pharmacy), you will need at least two years of the undergraduate degree. The pharmacy degree is of four years. Many schools also offer 0-6 pharmacy programs. The pharmacy program will differ from one pharmacy school to another. But normally, most of the colleges offer 2-4 pharmacy program.

For some people, four years might be a big time. You may have a question regarding “Can anyone complete the degree in pharmacy early?” The answer is NO. You cannot skip anything or finish early. To become a professional and licensed pharmacist, it is important that you follow all the steps carefully. So, it takes four years to get a degree in pharmacy after completing the undergraduate coursework.

Is Pharmacist A Good Job?

Yes, it is a great job. If you are interested in becoming a pharmacist, then you must want to know how great this job is. Here are some points explaining why it is a great job:


The pharmacist is the job position in which you can get flexibility. As there is a huge demand for pharmacists, it is easy to find the right shift for you.

Job growth potential

According to the reports by Forbes, the number of pharmacy jobs expected to rise by 14% by the year 2022. With such great demand, you can easily find the right pharmacy job for yourself.


Another upside of the pharmacist job position is its payout. On average, pharmacists earn around $120,000 a year. It differs from one country’s location to another.

Diverse career options

Pharmacists have so many career options to choose from. As a pharmacist, you don’t need to be in one place. It allows transition into a different field. It includes research, clinical, and retail.

These are the major points explaining why pharmacist is a good job. Among these four points, the major benefits are having job growth potential and salary. It is great to start making more than $100,000 after graduating from college, and a pharmacist is such a job position.

Is Pharmacy Hard to Study?

You must have heard people talking about how hard pharmacy is. Yes, pharmacy is actually hard, so you should get lured by the money. You need to have an interest in the subjects you are going to study at your pharmacy school.

The difficulty level would vary from person to person. For one person, this course can be not so hard, but at the same time, for another person, it can be really hard. People fail and find this course hard when they make mistakes. Here are some mistakes that make people fail in pharmacy school:


Stress is the major reason why people fail in pharmacy school. When you can’t manage your stress properly, it impacts your academic performance.

Poor studying methods

Studying methods that used to work during your schools and undergraduate programs may not work in the pharmacy coursework. The best study method would differ from one person to another. You need to go through different methods and figure out which one is best for you.

Not attending

Poor attendance is another major reason why people fail in pharmacy school. You may have got the facility of video technology to catch the missed class. But, it is always great to attend live lectures, because it creates a great impact on exam performance.

How to Become A Pharmacist?

If you want to become a pharmacist, you need to do hard work and go through all the stages required to become a pharmacist. In order for you to become a pharmacist technician, there is no need to get a high-level formal education degree, but to become a pharmacist, you need to get a formal education.

First of all, you need to have a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree in order to become a pharmacist. Now, before getting into the PharmD program, you need to get an undergraduate degree. The undergraduate degree could be of two to three years. After the completion of the undergraduate pharmacy course, the students need to take PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test).

Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) is an entrance exam for the PharmD applicants. The exam consists of seven different subtests that examine the writing ability, verbal ability, reading comprehension, quantitative ability, biology, and chemistry knowledge. At the pharmacy program, you also complete so many hours of clinical training. The clinical training is in a variety of settings like hospitals, communities, and compounding pharmacies.

Pharmacists also need to take the licensure examination. It is mandatory for pharmacists of all the states to obtain the license. The licensure includes completing the PharmD program and passing two licensure exams – NAPLEX (North American Pharmacist Licensing Exam) and MPJE (Multi-State PharmacyJurisprudence Exam).

Is Being A Pharmacist Worth It?

Yes, it’s worth it. By becoming a pharmacist, you get so many benefits. Pharmacy is a wide career option in which finding a job is not that hard. You will find some people saying, “Pharmacy is not the way it was earlier.” They feel this due to an increase in the number of pharmacy schools and applicants for pharmacy.

But, if you are doing the pharmacy from one of the top-rated pharmacy schools, then you should not worry about anything. Earlier, there was a huge shortage of pharmacists, but with the increase in the number of pharmacy schools and pharmacists, the demand is slightly reduced.

This career field has so many great opportunities and benefits. Some of the major benefits of the pharmacist career are salary, job growth potential, flexibility, and diversity in career options. Pharmacists make a great amount of money. After becoming a pharmacist, you can expect to earn more than $100,000 a year, depending upon your experience & skills. According to the reports by Forbes, the number of pharmacy jobs expected to rise by 14% by the year 2022. With such great demand, you can easily find the right pharmacy job for yourself.

How Hard Is It to Get Into Pharmacy School?

There are so many things impact this. As different pharmacy schools have different methods, it is based on what method you want to use. Let say 2+4 programs have more competition as compared to 0+6 programs. With a 0+6 program, the applicant is guaranteed admission to the graduation program.

Depending upon the pharmacy school you have selected, the school may have 2+4, 0-6, or any other pharmacy programs. Let’s understand the differences between all three. The 0-6 pharmacy program takes you to all the six years of school without taking the PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test). In 2+4 pharmacy programs, the first two years are pre-professional years in which you need to complete all prerequisites.

After the completion of two years, you need to apply formally to the pharmacy school. Under the 2+4 pharmacy program, you need to take PCAT and compete with other applicants. Apart from 2+4 and 0-6, pharmacy schools nowadays are also offering 3+3 and 3+4 pharmacy programs. You need to figure out which pharmacy program is right for you and then apply for it.

How to Get A Pharmacist Licensure?

Getting a license is the most crucial part of the pharmacy. You are not a licensed pharmacist until you get the pharmacist licensure. In order to become a pharmacist in the United States, the applicant must earn the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) from a school or college accredited by the Accreditation Council of Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and also passes the NAPLEX. NAPLEX (North American Pharmacist License Exam) is the pharmacy licensure exam in the United States.

The NAPLEX is developed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). It is a computer-based exam that gives a proper measurement of your knowledge and ability in the pharmacy field. This is the main component used for the assessment of a candidate’s skills and the ability for the pharmacist licensure.

To pass the NAPLEX license exam, you need to prepare for it properly. You can prepare for it with pre-NAPLEX. It prepares you for the NAPLEX experience and gives you an idea about what kind of questions you can expect. the pre-NAPLEX exam consists of a total of 100 questions, and it takes 140 minutes to complete. The pre-NAPLEX is conducted just for practicing for the main exam. The scores you will earn pre-exam will not be counted in the main exam.

Is Pharmacy Harder Than Medicine?

You might be interested in knowing whether the pharmacy is harder than medicine. You are planning to pursue your career in pharmacy or medicine; then, you should not consider the difficulty of the coursework. If you are really passionate about pharmacy, then don’t check out the difficulty level. Here’s the answer to your question:

Basically, pharmacy and medicine both careers are very challenging, so it is essential for you to choose the one you are really passionate about. You must not be selecting a particular field just for a reason; it will make you more money. Medical education takes longer to get into a career than the pharmacy, which makes it a bit harder.

The actual medical school takes just 4 years, but it also takes another 3 to 7 years of residency before you become a medical doctor. On the other hand, pharmacy requires completing 2 years of undergraduate coursework and then completing 4 years of pharmacy degree (Doctor of Pharmacy).

Pharmacy and medicine are both hard career fields that require proper attention and focus. In order to get succeed and become a pharmacist, you need to be very conscious regarding the studies. During pharmacy school, you will be studying for long hours and it is also essential that you are good at science and math.

Pharmacist Advantages and Disadvantages

Becoming a pharmacist has its own pros and cons. Here we have shared major advantages and disadvantages of becoming a pharmacist:

Pharmacist Advantages

Here are the major advantages of becoming a pharmacist:

1. Variety of job opportunities

In the pharmacy field, you will have a wide variety of job opportunities. Here you will find two main industries – the hospital industry and the retail industry. Becoming a pharmacist will make you perform different job roles and different responsibilities.

2. Don’t require a license for all positions

If your main goal is to become a pharmacist, then you will need to pass the licensure exam and get the license. The great thing about this field is you don’t require to have licensure for all the positions. Some of the positions that don’t require licensure are Pharmacy Technician, Pharmacy Assistant, and Medical Writer.

3. Lucrative career

Pharmacy is a flexible and lucrative career option. After completing your pharmacy education and getting licensure, you can expect to earn more than $100,000 a year.

Pharmacist Disadvantages

Here are the major disadvantages of becoming a pharmacist:

1. Extensive education requirements

The time, money, and effort you will be spending on your pharmacy education will be extensive. You will need to spend around 6 to 8 years in education and training to meet the requirements.

2. Increasing competition

Earlier, becoming a pharmacist wasn’t that competitive that it is right now. With more and more people started getting into this field, the competition has been raised greatly.

So, these are the main advantages and disadvantages of becoming a pharmacist. Basically, the pharmacy is a great career option.

Most Difficult Subject in Pharmacy School

The answer to “Which is the most difficult subject in pharmacy school?” is going to different for different people. The answer will be highly based on the strengths of the person you are asking this question. Here are some difficult subjects in pharmacy school:

Pharmacy Jurisprudence: Clinical Pharmacy and Administration

This course is different than other courses in pharmacy. This is about the law in pharmacy, and its passing marks are 60%. In general, it is about ethics, the rights of the medical personnel, rights of patients, and other laws. For someone who does not like law at all, for them, this subject can be really frustrating.

Biosynthesis: Pharmacognosy

Pharmacognosy is another subject that can be somewhat difficult for you. This subject is about studying the routes of chemicals in plants. You must remember and write various chemicals, including the type of enzyme included. This can be really annoying for most people.

Endocrine: Pharmacology

Pharmacology is the subject in which you need to study different types of hormones in the body. It also includes studying signs and symptoms of the body when there is an increase or/and there is a reduction.

Easiest Way to Become A Pharmacist

There is no shortcut to becoming a pharmacist. In order to get to the pharmacist’s job position, it is important to follow all the steps. If there would be a shortcut to this job position, then everyone would have done that, as it is the most lucrative career option.

You need to follow all the steps, starting from preparing for the college to getting the pharmacist job. After the completion of the high school diploma, the next step would be to go for an undergraduate pharmacy program. Then, you need to decide on a bachelor’s degree. Then, to obtain some pharmacy experience, You can gain practical experience in pharmacy while working on the undergraduate pharmacy program.

After the completion of the undergraduate program, the next step is to take the PCAT and join the pharmacy school for achieving the Doctor of Pharmacy degree. You will need to get a license in order to practice pharmacy. NAPLEX (North American Pharmacist License Exam) is the standard licensure exam for pharmacists. After earning the PharmD degree and getting licensure, you may need to complete a pharmacy residency (of two years). After completing all the stages, the final one is to get the job.

These are the steps you need to follow to become a pharmacist. Apart from learning the pharmacy on-campus, there are many schools that offer the facility of learning the pharmacy online. The steps to becoming a pharmacist will be the same, even if you choose to enroll in learning pharmacy online.

Final Thoughts

Everyone would have different views on whether becoming a pharmacist is hard or not. But, for most people, it is very hard. If you want to become a pharmacist, you need to work really hard and be self-disciplined. There are no shortcuts or easy ways to becoming a pharmacist.

You need to follow all the steps – starting from enrolling in the undergraduate program to getting pharmacist licensure and job. When you prepare the planner and follow it, managing your study and work would be easier. When you will work hard and complete your studies, then you will start enjoying the benefits of becoming a pharmacist.


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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