The basic requirement for pharmacists to be considered for registration is an undergraduate or postgraduate pharmacy degree from a recognized university. In many countries this involves a four- or five-year course to attain a master of pharmacy degree (MPharm). In the United States of America, students graduating after Jan 1, 2003, must complete a doctor of pharmacy degree to become a licensed pharmacist. This same requirement has been coming into place in other countries such as Canada and France.
The doctor of pharmacy degree requires completion of five years at an accredited college of pharmacy (most students applying for admission into a college of pharmacy already have an undergraduate degree. However, many schools admit students after completion of two or three years of undergraduate pharmacy prerequisites or directly from high school into a six-year accelerated program). Any person holding a bachelor's degree in pharmacy who graduated before this date is grandfathered in and can register for a license.
To practice as a pharmacist, registration with the country, state or province's regulatory agency is required. There is often a requirement for the pharmacy graduate to have completed a certain number of hours of experience in a pharmacy under the supervision of a registered pharmacist. If the regulatory body governs an entire country, they will usually administer a written and oral examination to the prospective pharmacist prior to registration. If its jurisdiction is limited to a specific area (e.g., a state or province), the required examination is administered by a national examining board.
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