Are Pharmacists Doctors

Are pharmacists doctors

You might often wonder, are pharmacists doctors? Well, technically, pharmacists are doctors. 

To become a professional pharmacist, you must first obtain a PharmD or Dr. of pharmacy. However, many degrees confer the title of doctor on workers who are not in the medical field.

As a result, the question “Are pharmacists doctors?” is contextual. A pharmacist may decline the doctor title in a clinical context.

This post will give a comprehensive rundown of what it takes to be a pharmacist and answer the questions “are pharmacists doctors?”

Are Pharmacists Doctors?

In the technical sense, pharmacists are not doctors. Yes, while becoming a professional pharmacist must first obtain a PharmD or Dr. of pharmacy. However, many degrees confer the title of doctor on workers who are not in the medical field.

Differences Between Pharmacist and Doctor

Anyone with a basic understanding of the medical industry will quickly recognize that both professionals provide medical services to patients.

Is this, however, enough to qualify them both as doctors? What distinguishes doctors from pharmacists? 

Thus, we’ll discuss the differences between both professions. Here are the distinctions between pharmacists and doctors:

1. Definition

In terms of definition, doctors are experts who assess patients, diagnose their medical ailments, and choose the best course of therapy for them. Doctors are typically the patient’s initial point of contact after receptionists and hospital clerks upon entering the hospital. 

A doctor should evaluate your injury. They assess the severity of injuries and illnesses and specify the circumstances that allow for quick and efficient healing.

Pharmacists, on the other hand, ensure that you receive the correct prescription from the doctor. They will also explain how and when to take your medication so that you can heal as quickly as possible.

However, in rare situations, the pharmacist may also give some basic medical treatment, such as flu vaccines or general health tests. Pharmacists typically work in drug stores or other retail settings. Some will, however, be found in hospitals.

2. Education 

To become a doctor, you must first complete years of rigorous study, after which you must pursue a Master’s degree for further specialty. Meanwhile, after graduation, you will begin your apprenticeship training under the supervision of senior doctors.

So, after four to six years of studying for an undergraduate medical degree, you’ll spend another four to six years pursuing a Master’s degree.

On the other hand, while studying pharmacy is as demanding as studying medicine, it does not take as long. Perhaps only four years. To become a pharmacist, you will often study pharmacology, pharmaceutical chemistry, physiology, and other related fields.

You’ll learn to look for potential drug interactions along the way. This is because, while practicing, you may come across patients treated by more than one doctor.

You’ll need to go through the patient’s drug list and advise them on possible warning flags to look for from treatments.

You’ll also inform doctors if you notice that a patient’s medications are causing them damage. As a result, your training will cover every medicine on the market.

3. Accreditation

The Center for Pharmacy Practice Accreditation is the primary accreditation authority for pharmacists (CPPA).

They accredit healthcare organizations, such as pharmacies, and guarantee that their quality is acceptable.

On the other hand, the American Medical Association is the primary accreditation authority for physicians and medical doctors.

The organization promotes public health by ensuring that physicians and healthcare facilities provide high-quality care to the public.

4. Responsibilities

As a doctor, one of your responsibility will be to gather information about your patient’s health and symptoms.

You’ll also need to update their files, send them to other doctors for testing or evaluations, and give them their diagnosis.

Your employment as a pharmacist, on the other hand, entails giving broad advice regarding health issues.

When you work in large firms that include pharmacy technicians and interns, you will also have to manage them. You’ll essentially be validating prescriptions and detecting potential issues for the patient’s existing medication.

5. Salaries 

As a pharmacist, you can earn a lot of money if you have a PharmD or a Dr of Pharmacy. The same is true for the doctor. Jobs in the medical field are often hot and always in demand. A Dr of Pharmacy can expect to make an annual income of $127,516.

A Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), or Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree, on the other hand, can bring you an annual salary of $201,860.

Are Pharmacists Called Doctors

You most likely do not address your pharmacist as “doctor.” In fact, pharmacists will most likely identify themselves by their first name if you encounter them at your local apothecary. 

How To Become a Pharmacist

Below are the steps needed to become a pharmacist:

Step 1: Take Pre-Pharmacy Courses in Undergrad

Pharmacists in training have two options for completing their educational needs. The first option entails finishing undergraduate courses before enrolling in a graduate program, whereas the second is a combined option that combines all curriculum into one program. 

Graduate + Undergraduate pre-pharmacy courses are available as two or four-year degrees. Thus, students should already know which graduate program they want to pursue before enrolling in an undergraduate program.

Four-year degrees include more general education and liberal arts subjects, whereas two-year programs focus on field-specific courses.

Students must take courses in basic and organic chemistry, human anatomy and physiology, molecular and cellular biology, microbiology, statistics, calculus, and English to meet prerequisites for advanced study. 

After completing the program, students will apply for a four-year pharmacy Ph.D. degree.

Graduate: Combined degrees are available in a variety of formats and allow students to finish all required coursework in a shorter period. 

The most typical programs are six and seven years in length and grant both a bachelor’s and a doctor of pharmacy degree upon completion. 

These programs are ideal for students who clearly grasp their future job aspirations and desire to complete their studies sooner. 

Before being admitted to a graduate program in either of the educational options covered in this section, candidates must pass the Pharmacy College Admissions Test.

Step 2: Fulfill Licensure Requirements

Pharmacist licensing requirements are mandated at the state level; therefore, graduates should consult with their local board to learn about specific requirements. 

While some states may have requirements, others do not; the bulk of them include the following elements:

  • Complete a Ph.D. program that has been certified by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.
  • Pass three components of the pharmacist license examination series: the North American Pharmacist Licensing Exam, the Multi-State Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam, and the Written and Practical Exam.

Step 3: Complete Post-Doctoral Training

Pharmacists who want to work in a particular field of pharmaceutics typically complete a one- to a two-year residency program. Post-doctoral training offers young pharmacists the specific expertise they’ll need to enter these professions, whether they’re interested in psychopharmacology or pharmacoepidemiology. This is also an excellent option for people who intend to conduct research.

Step 4: Stay on Top of Continuing Education

As of 2016, all states required pharmacists to complete continuing education hours in order to keep their licenses active.

Most require between 15 and 30 hours between license renewals, which are usually every two years. 

Pharmacists should review their state’s particular regulations before enrolling in any courses or training. 

How Long Does It Take to Become a Pharmacist?

“How long does it take to become a pharmacist?” is a frequently asked question. To practice pharmacy in the United States, you must first obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree from an authorized pharmacy school and then pass a state pharmacy licensure exam. 

The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education accredits pharmacy schools in the United States. A degree in pharmaceutical science or a related field only will not allow you to practice pharmacy in the United States.

A follow-up question will be, ‘how long does it take to get a PharmD?’

The Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree program necessitates at least two years of particular undergraduate college study, followed by four academic years (or three calendar years) of professional pharmacy education. 

How Long Is Pharmacy School

A four-year Doctor of Pharmacy degree program is followed by an optional one- or two-year residency program. As a result, most pharmacy graduates will spend four to six years in school. 

What Do Pharmacists Do?

Although individuals outside the profession may be unaware of the wide range of responsibilities available in the field of pharmaceutics, there are several paths and career sectors that a prospective pharmacist can choose from. Below are some of these sectors:

1. Pharmacoepidemiology

Professionals in this discipline employ their knowledge of disease patterns and cause to reveal how medications are used and how they affect human health.

The majority of pharmacists in this specialty conduct research on themes ranging from drug safety and effectiveness to drug measurement and risk management.

2. Pharmacoeconomics

Pharmacoeconomics is responsible for developing research that assesses the clinical and economic components of the pharmaceutical sector. 

Their study keeps pharmaceutical organizations and healthcare decision-makers up to date with important information. 

Some of the topics these professionals may investigate include assessing the economics of alternative therapies or medicines outside of pharmaceutics, determining how much patients are willing to pay for drugs, and comprehending the importance that populations place on drugs that improve quality of life.

3. Gerontology

Individuals who want to integrate their knowledge of pharmacology with an awareness of the biological, psychological, and sociological aspects of aging will find this field extremely rewarding. 

4. Global Medicine

Pharmacists with a specialized understanding of global medicine are well-versed in how modern medicine may be used to aid citizens in poor nations.

These pharmacists have a passion for delivering treatment to underprivileged areas all over the world. Graduates of these programs learn about pharmacotherapy, pharmaceutical safety, and public health. 

5. Healthcare Decision Analysis

Pharmacists interested in the business side of the sector can focus their careers on healthcare decision analysis to gain a deeper understanding of the inner achievements

Graduates are armed with a deep grasp of pharmaceutics and the economics and policies surrounding healthcare, which is typically provided as a dual degree program. 

Online Pharmacy School

Below are some of the top online pharmacy schools with an online option for students:

1. Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Boston (MA)

MCPHS (Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences) provides an online Doctor of Pharmacy – Postbaccalaureate Pathway degree. 

This program aims at students who have a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and are currently working pharmacists in the United States. 

The program begins every fall and needs one in-person orientation in August. The program will cost you about $20,790.

2. Duquesne University Pittsburgh (PA)

Duquesne University provides a Doctor of Pharmacy degree online that can be completed in four years. 

Duquesne is a Catholic university that strives to academically challenge students while also nurturing their spiritual and ethical development. 

Students get both online and limited campus education during the first three years of the online PharmD program. The annual tuition for this university to study pharmacy is $61,346.

3. Shenandoah University Winchester (VA) 

Shenandoah University provides three online pharmacy doctoral degree options: a part-time Nontraditional Doctor of Pharmacy, a full-time Doctor of Pharmacy/Master of Public Health dual degree, and a full-time Doctor of Pharmacy/Master of Science in Pharmacogenomics and Personalized Medicine dual degree. 

Full-time programs typically take five years to finish with an Annual Tuition of $10,950.

4. Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine Erie (PA)

Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine’s online Doctor of Pharmacy degree is designed for distant learners to accomplish a PharmD in four years. 

The fourth year of this degree consists of an Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences rotation, emphasizing the abilities required for a career in pharmaceutical sciences and drug development. Annual tuition for this program is $29,065.

5. Concordia University – Wisconsin

Concordia University – Wisconsin (CUW) provides a Doctor of Pharmacy and MBA dual degree program online. 

This 128-credit program is expected to take four years to finish. CUW provides a Lutheran Church-affiliated faith-based education. The degree program’s emphasis is on combining PharmD knowledge with business management and organizational skills. The university has an Annual Tuition of $11,400.

6. University of Colorado Denver

The University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) provides an online Doctor of Pharmacy in North American-trained PharmD, training students in clinical skills, cancer, infectious diseases, public health, and other fields. 

Students normally complete the curriculum in two to six years. The program can be done either full-time or part-time. 

7. St. John Fisher College

St. John Fisher College offers an online Doctor of Pharmacy degree that teaches students about pharmaceutical science as well as patient-centered practice. 

Students can learn more about providing pharmaceutical services to patients in marginalized communities by participating in both local and worldwide initiatives. 

8. Creighton University

Creighton University provides two online doctoral degree choices for students: a Doctor of Pharmacy and a combination Doctor of Pharmacy/Master of Business Administration. 

Both programs are designed to be completed in four years of full-time study. Students complete clinical rotations during their third and fourth years of education. you can learn more here


We hope this post on, are pharmacists’ doctors provided all the needed information you need to know about pharmacy.

In reality, it may seem the duties and responsibilities of doctors and pharmacists coincide. However, in the technical sense, pharmacists are not medical doctors. the article has answered the question “are pharmacists doctors?”

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