Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How to Be an Animal Pharmacist

Veterinary pharmacists provide medicines used in the practice of animal medicine.

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Veterinary pharmacists play an important role in the ongoing health of pets and other animals domesticated by humans. The National Institute of Health notes that there are two types of veterinary pharmacists. First, there are those pharmacists who serve the needs of veterinarians on an as-needed basis. Secondly, there are those that are known as veterinary pharmacy specialists who work exclusively in the field of veterinary pharmacy practice. The education and training for both are similar.

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Obtain a bachelor's degree in biology or a field of approved pre-pharmaceutical studies, such as chemistry. Most pharmacy schools require that you have completed a bachelor's degree prior to admission, although some will admit students with three years of undergraduate education. Determine the admission requirements for each school you hope to attend before applying and make sure that you have met all of the minimum requirements.


Attend pharmacy school and obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy, also known as a Pharm.D. degree. This is the standard degree for pharmacists throughout the United States. It will take you approximately four years to complete these degree after finishing your undergraduate degree program. While there is no consensus regarding any required training for veterinary pharmacists, you will need to be able to legally dispense medicine and advise veterinarians regarding different types of drugs. The Pharm.D. degree prepares you for both.


Take specialized courses in veterinary pharmacy studies. If you can't complete these at the school where you do your Pharm.D. work, take additional coursework, once you have finished your degree, at a school that offers these courses. These will provide you further knowledge of the veterinary medicine field and with more specific knowledge of dosages for animals of all types and sizes. Some states like Florida require that pharmacists dispensing veterinary medicines complete additional courses like these to comply with state law and to ensure that you have the necessary knowledge to provide pharmacotherapy to animals.


Pass your state licensing exams. All 50 states require that pharmacists be licensed to legally practice pharmaceutical dispensing. All 50 states require that you pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX) to legally practice. Some will also require that you pass an additional jurisprudence exam that tests your knowledge of pharmaceutical law for your state as well. After passing these exams, you should be able to legally work as a pharmacist providing medicine for animal care.

ReferencesNational Institute of Health: The Role and Education of the Veterinary PharmacistThe Society of Veterinary Hospital PharmacistsUniversity of Florida, College of Pharmacy: Veterinary Pharmacy PracticeU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition -- PharmacistsPhoto Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty ImagesRead Next:

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