Pharmacy is the branch of health sciences that deals with the preparation, dispensing, and proper utilization of drugs. A pharmacist is a health care professional who is licensed to prepare and sell or dispose of drugs and compounds and can make up prescriptions. Most pharmacy schools do not require you to complete an undergraduate major, though you may be more competitive for admission with a degree. Each school varies in its expectations of successful applicants, so the best places to check for the latest information are the websites of the schools in which you are most interested, and the admissions officers at those schools. The UA Health Professions Advising Office can assist you as well.
For more information about the PCAT, prerequisites, and more, please see the University of Alabama Pharmacy School Admissions Guide.
What Do Pharmacists Do?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, pharmacists typically do the following:
- Fill prescriptions, verifying instructions from physicians on the proper amounts of medication to give to patients
- Check whether prescriptions will interact negatively with other drugs that a patient is taking or any medical conditions the patient has
- Instruct patients on how and when to take a prescribed medicine and inform them about potential side effects they may experience from taking the medicine
- Give flu shots and, in most states, other vaccinations
- Advise patients about general health topics, such as diet, exercise, and managing stress, and on other issues, such as what equipment or supplies would be best to treat a health problem
- Complete insurance forms and work with insurance companies to ensure that patients get the medicines they need
- Oversee the work of pharmacy technicians and pharmacists in training (interns)
- Keep records and do other administrative tasks
- Teach other healthcare practitioners about proper medication therapies for patients