Online PhD Pharmacy Programs
At the doctoral level, there are two categories of pharmacy degrees. Doctor of Pharmacy degrees (also known as Pharm.D. degrees) are professional degrees; they prepare qualified graduates for the pharmacy profession, much like law degrees prepare lawyers and medical degrees prepare doctors. Most Pharm.D. programs include a period of clinical training, which allows prospective pharmacists to hone their skills in actual healthcare environments.
To practice as a Licensed Pharmacist, you need to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from an accredited college. Different states maintain different licensing laws, but most recognize pharmacy programs that are accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). Additionally, aspiring pharmacists need to pass several standardized exams — including the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX) and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE) or an equivalent state exam that some states use to substitute for the MPJE.
The second type of pharmacy doctorate is the Ph.D. in Pharmacy or Pharmaceutical Sciences. Ph.D. Pharmacy students are usually required to engage in research and unique scholarship, which they must compile into an extensive written report known as a dissertation. Practicing research and documentation is fitting preparation for these students, as most of them aspire to work in laboratories, regulatory agencies, or university classrooms.
The goal of Ph.D. Pharmacy programs is to prepare you to be a leader in research. Different colleges and pharmacy schools offer different concentrations to their Ph.D. students. Medicinal chemistry, toxicology, cosmetic chemistry, medical informatics, and pharmacogenomics are just a few examples of the Ph.D. specialties available. As a prospective student, you can narrow your program search by the specific type of research and career paths that interest you. In a pharmaceutical sciences program, you might concentrate on the factors involved in developing new drugs and drug delivery systems. Meanwhile, in a medical informatics program, you might devote more time to the statistics and data that reveal which new drugs are most necessary.
With a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences or a related specialty, you may be qualified to pursue various exciting career options. Some graduates move into academia, working as college professors, program administrators, or university researchers. Other graduates seek frontline roles with pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms. Drug, cosmetic, and chemical companies need in-house scientists to ensure the products they bring to the market are safe and thoroughly tested. Another potential option for pharmacy graduates is to work with government agencies. This may mean supporting federal research or helping to develop public health programs and policies.
If you're interested in studying pharmacy at the doctorate level, another option you may have is to earn your Ph.D. and Pharm.D. degrees together. Dual Pharm.D./Ph.D. programs may provide both the professional training needed to work as a Licensed Pharmacist and the advanced training in research and pharmaceutical science to allow you to be a leader in education, research, or business. Dual pharmacy degree programs are very rigorous and competitive. Like other doctorates in pharmacy, dual degree programs usually require applicants to have a relevant bachelor degree and/or professional experience in a pharmacy or laboratory setting.