Securing a pharmacy internship is a crucial step for pharmacy students looking to gain practical experience and further their careers. Pharmacists play a vital role in healthcare, and internships provide an opportunity to observe and learn from experienced professionals. In this guide, we’ll delve into the ins and outs of obtaining a pharmacy internship, including what these internships entail, prerequisites, and the differences between interns and pharmacy technicians. Whether you’re a current pharmacy student or considering a career in pharmacy, this information will help you navigate the path to becoming a pharmacy intern.
What is a Pharmacist Internship?
A pharmacist internship is an elective, part-time initiative affording pharmacy students the opportunity to shadow seasoned colleagues in their field. Typically, students embark on internships during or immediately following the completion of their pharmacy degree program. Many pharmacy schools or academic programs maintain an internship coordinator responsible for assisting students in locating suitable internships and fostering partnerships with hospitals, laboratories, and other facilities where these internships transpire.
These hands-on experiences empower prospective pharmacists to cultivate valuable skills, identify specialized areas within pharmacology, and build a professional network pivotal to their future careers. While an internship doesn’t guarantee employment with a specific company, it serves as a valuable addition to a student’s CV, furnishing a competitive edge during the hiring process.
How to Get a Pharmacy Internship?
Pharmacists offer individuals prescribed medications, provide guidance on proper administration, and address healthcare inquiries from patients. These professionals undergo extensive university training to obtain their credentials and often engage in internships during their academic journey. If you’re a pharmacy student, understanding the ins and outs of internships can facilitate your pursuit of a program aligning with your career aspirations.
To Grasp How to Become a Pharmacy Intern, Follow the Steps Outlined Below:
Research Available Programs:
Commence your quest by researching potential internship programs that align with your interests. You can explore pharmacy internships online, utilize job boards where organizations often post openings or consult the British Pharmacological Society’s website, which frequently advertises internship opportunities. When you identify a program of interest, bookmark it, and note its pharmacological focus, location, and any prerequisites.
Many pharmacy degree programs have dedicated internship or placement coordinators who can provide guidance in identifying promising internship prospects and navigating the application process. If your institution lacks an internship coordinator or you’re unsure of their identity, consider approaching one of your professors for mentorship. An experienced mentor can help you evaluate your saved internship options based on your career goals and current skill set.
Apply for Programs:
Streamline your internship applications by maintaining an organized system. Create an application checklist for each program of interest, documenting all required components. These components may include an application essay, transcripts of your academic records, A-level or GCSE results, or recommendation letters from professors in your pharmacy program. Incorporate key deadlines into your calendar or maintain a spreadsheet to track your submission progress for each program.
Apply and Enroll in Pharmacy School:
Once you’ve satisfied the requisite course requirements, you can proceed to apply for pharmacy school. The application entails submission of your Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) scores, GPA, letters of recommendation, relevant work experience, and your ranking in your college class.
Upon gaining admission to pharmacy school, you will receive the foundational knowledge essential for becoming a pharmacist. Coursework will encompass subjects like medical ethics, pharmacology, and physiology.
Fulfill Prerequisite Requirements for the Pharmacy Program:
Before gaining admission to pharmacy school, you must complete essential prerequisite courses to meet the requirements for a bachelor’s program. These prerequisites typically include earning college credits in fundamental subjects like biology, mathematics, and physics.
Register with the Board of Pharmacy:
Typically, aspiring interns must officially register with the Board of Pharmacy, designating their status as interns. This registration legitimizes their ability to document and process their internship hours
Pharmacy Intern vs. Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy interns are students working towards becoming licensed pharmacists and engage in internships to gain practical experience and apply their academic knowledge. They primarily assist with supportive tasks and observe licensed pharmacists.
In contrast, pharmacy technicians are licensed professionals who have completed specific programs and perform a wider range of responsibilities in the pharmacy, including medication distribution and patient interaction.
Understanding these distinctions is essential in recognizing the respective roles and contributions of pharmacy interns and pharmacy technicians in the healthcare system. Both pharmacy interns and pharmacy technicians contribute to the work of pharmacists, yet they differ in qualifications and job responsibilities. The following distinctions elucidate their disparities:
Pharmacy interns are students aspiring to become pharmacists, while pharmacy technicians are employed professionals who have already fulfilled licensing requirements. To become a pharmacy technician, candidates typically complete a mandated vocational certificate or diploma program, coupled with an apprenticeship or formal work-study experience. Once they meet these requirements, they can pursue licensure through the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). Interns have not typically completed their degree or diploma programs, although some may have recently finished their coursework. Instead, they generally submit their grades and test scores to the internship director for admission.
Due to their lack of licensure, interns are primarily engaged in supportive tasks that do not encompass the administration of medication to patients. Their duties may involve observing pharmacists at work, note-taking during meetings, practicing the compilation of patient files, and performing administrative functions during their internship. In contrast, pharmacy technicians, having obtained their licensure, undertake responsibilities within the scope of their job description, including medication organization, prescription fulfillment, and customer interactions.
While pharmacy interns may work fewer hours compared to pharmacy technicians, they often have additional coursework requirements integrated into their programs. Students often access internship opportunities through their academic institutions, and these initiatives may include reflective components. Following each session at the internship site, students may be required to compose written reports detailing the day’s activities. This practice not only grants students credit for attendance but also facilitates reflection on the daily operations within a pharmacy setting.
A pharmacy internship is not just a valuable addition to your resume; it’s a gateway to a fulfilling and essential career in healthcare. By fulfilling prerequisite requirements, researching available programs, seeking guidance from mentors or coordinators, and meticulously applying to your chosen internships, you can embark on a journey that will provide you with hands-on experience, invaluable skills, and a network of professionals. Pharmacy interns, distinct from pharmacy technicians, have the opportunity to explore their future as pharmacists while contributing to the healthcare field. With dedication and determination, you can pave the way for a successful and rewarding career in pharmacy.