Pharmacist (RPh/Pharm.D)

  • Pharmacist (RPh/Pharm.D)


  • Radiopharmacist – dispenses radioactive drugs used for patient diagnosis and therapy.
  • Pharmacotherapist – specializes in drug therapy.
  • Nutrition support pharmacist – specializes in preparing drugs needed for nutrition.

Work Activities/Work Locations

  • Pharmacists mix and dispense drugs that are prescribed by physicians or other health practitioners.
  • They are trained in the proper use of medications and advise patients and physicians about selection, proper dosages, side effects and possible interactions with other medications as well as ensuring that their customers are using their medicine appropriately.
  • They constantly read about new medicines and how they are used to control specific diseases as well as reading the conclusions drawn from studies on the effects of drugs that have been prescribed for many years.
  • Pharmacists currently earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) degree.
  • Pharmacists work in hospitals, retail store pharmacies, health maintenance organizations (HMO’s), and home healthcare agencies.
  • Pharmacists who work in retail stores may order supplies, buy and sell non-health related items, and may supervise staff.

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Pharmacists like counseling and educating people in their community.
  • Most do not like working nights, weekends, and holidays.

 Education: 6 years

 Patient Interaction: High

 Physical Activity: High

 Salary: $126,966

 Job Growth: Low

Related Careers

Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacist (RPh/Pharm.D)

Medication Assistant

Getting Started

  • Students should take a college preparatory curriculum.
  • Helpful high school courses include biology, anatomy & physiology, chemistry, physics, foreign language (minimum of two years), mathematics and statistics. Good written and verbal communication skills are important.
  • All practicing pharmacists have earned at least a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in pharmacy. Currently the only professional degree in Pharmacy is the PharmD degree. The majority of PharmD programs require 4 years of professional study, following a minimum of 2 years of pre-pharmacy study, for a total of 6 academic years following high school.
  • UW-Madison offers 2 academic programs: the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Pharmacology & Toxicology.
  • The Pharm.D. professional program fulfills the educational aspect of the requirements for licensure as a pharmacist.
  • Graduates of Pharmacology & Toxicology (B.S.) pursue careers in chemical, biotechnical, and pharmaceutical industries.
  • Students may also pursue graduate programs in Pharmaceutical Science, PhD; Social and Administrative Sciences, MS, PhD; or Pharmacy, MS.
  • Entrance into the School of Pharmacy requires many specific Pre-School of Pharmacy prerequisite college courses (67+ credit hours) that must be completed at an accredited college. UW-Madison requires: 8 semester credits of biology/zoology with lab; 16 of chemistry with lab; 8 of physics with lab; 4-5 of calculus with lab; 3 of microbiology; 3 of statistics; complete Communication “A” English/written Composition; microeconomics; social sciences; behavioral sciences; ethnic studies; and other courses to total 67+ credits. Completion of prerequisites takes over 2 years.
  • Pre-Pharmacy students then apply for admission into the School of Pharmacy. The application possess is very specific and varies from school to school. Check specifics online. Admission is VERY competitive. One can check what the average GPA is for current students at the specific school websites.
  • The Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) is usually required.
  • Courses offered at School of Pharmacy (an additional 4 years) are designed to teach students about all aspects of drug therapy. In addition, schools teach students how to communicate with patients and other healthcare providers about drug information and patient care. Students also learn professional ethics, how to develop and manage medication distribution systems, and concepts of public health.
  • The curriculum provides students with course work and clinical preparation that is basic to understanding the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, and the therapeutic use, appropriateness, selection, monitoring, and cost-effectiveness of drugs.
  • Some specific courses include: Pharmaceutical Biochemistry, Introduction to Drug Action and Drug Delivery, Pharmacotherapy, Medicinal Chemistry, and Pharmacist Communication.
  • In addition to receiving classroom instruction, students in Pharm.D. Programs are required to attend 35 credits of clerkship learning in a variety of pharmacy practice settings under the supervision of licensed pharmacists and physicians.
  • Concordia University Wisconsin, School of Pharmacy (PharmD) has a four-year professional pharmacy program.
  • To obtain the required license, pharmacists must graduate from an accredited College of Pharmacy, pass NAPLEX examination, and complete an internship under a licensed pharmacist.
  • Most States require continuing education for license renewal.

Educational Institutions

Concordia University
Medical College of Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin – Madison


Pre-Professional Programs

Completion of prerequisite courses may be done at any accredited college or university. Application is then made to School of Pharmacy. Very Competitive.

Alverno College
Beloit College
Cardinal Stritch University
Carroll University
Carthage College
Concordia University
Lakeland College
Lawrence University
Marian University
Ripon College
University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire
University of Wisconsin – Fond du Lac
University of Wisconsin – Green Bay
University of Wisconsin – La Crosse
University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh
University of Wisconsin – Parkside
University of Wisconsin – Platteville
University of Wisconsin – River Falls
University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point
University of Wisconsin – Stout
University of Wisconsin – Superior
University of Wisconsin – Waukesha
University of Wisconsin – Whitewater
Viterbo College
Wisconsin Lutheran College

Hospitals with Associated Educational Programs

Aurora Sinai Medical Center, Milwaukee
Aurora BayCare Medical Center, Green Bay
Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, Milwaukee
Froedtert Health Community Memorial, Menomonee Falls
Froedtert Hospital, Milwaukee
Gundersen Lutheran, La Crosse
Marshfield Clinic, Marshfield
Mayo Clinic Health System, Eau Claire
Mayo Clinic Health System, La Crosse Meriter Hospital, Madison
University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics, Madison
Veteran’s Administration Medical Center, Milwaukee
Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare – St. Francis
Wheaton Franciscan – St. Joseph, Milwaukee
Wheaton Franciscan – All Saints

  • To practice pharmacy in any State, a pharmacist must become a Registered Pharmacist (RPh), also known as a licensed pharmacist.
  • Pharmacists must be licensed to dispense drugs in the State where they are employed.
  • To obtain the required license, pharmacists must graduate from College of Pharmacy accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), pass a rigorous examination, AND complete an internship under a licensed pharmacist, giving direct, “hands-on” patient experience.
  • All States require the examination known as the NAPLEX (North American Pharmacists Licensure Examination) administered by National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.
  • All States except California currently grant license without extensive reexamination to qualified pharmacists who already are licensed by another State.
  • Persons interested in a career as a pharmacist should check with individual State Boards of Pharmacy for details on examination requirements, license renewal requirements, and license transfer procedures.

American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
1727 King St.
Alexandria, VA, 22314

American Pharmacists Association
2215 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC, 20037
202/628-4410 or 800/237-APHA (2742)

American Society of Consultant Pharmacists
1321 Duke St.
Alexandria, VA, 22314
703/739-1300 or 800/355-2727

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
7272 Wisconsin Ave.
Bethesda, MD, 20814

National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
1600 Feehanville Drive
Mount Prospect, IL, 60056

National Community Pharmacists Association
100 Daingerfield Rd.
Alexandria, VA, 22314-2885
703/683-8200 or 800/544-7447

Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin
701 Heartland Trail
Madison, WI, 53717

Wisconsin Pharmacy Examining Board
1400 E. Washington Ave., Room 112
Madison, WI, 53703
877/617-1565 or 608/266-2112

Career Outlook

Number Employed in 2012 (Wisconsin): 5,600
Number Employed in 2014 (U.S.): 297,100
Expected Employment in 2024 (U.S.): 306,200
Percent Employment Growth (2014-2024): 3%
Expected Annual Openings: 7,840
Median Salary in 2014 (Wisconsin): $126,966

Salary information is located at Career One Stop

Wisconsin AHEC Health Careers Information Center provides the most current salary information available from CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop will have a lapse between when the information is gathered and when it is released.

  • Pharmacists usually work 40-50 hours a week,
  • Their hours can include evenings, weekends, and holidays.
  • Pharmacist may work full-time or part-time.
  • After graduation an increasing number of graduates seek Residency training in pharmacy practice. Pharmacy Residences(ies) are postgraduate training programs lasting 1 or 2 years and usually require the completion of a research study. There are over 300 Pharmacy Residency programs across the nation offered in hospitals, community pharmacies, and specialized pharmacies that prepare participants to work in a specialized area of pharmacy.
  • Some pharmacists who run their own shop obtain a Master’s Degree in business administration (MBA). Others may obtain a degree in public administration or public health.
  • Some become managers of pharmacies in hospitals or clinics.
  • Others become sales representatives for pharmaceutical companies.