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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Pharmaceutical Science

Majors Overview March 17, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in pharmaceutical science and their educational requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and professional certification and continuing education choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Pharmaceutical Science

Students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs in pharmaceutical science are educated in every branch of pharmaceutical science, including medical chemistry, pharmaceutical toxicology, and pharmacology. Students enrolled in some schools are required to choose a major concentration area, such as pharmaceutical analytical chemistry or pharmacology.

Coursework is a combination of classroom instruction and laboratory experiences. Students complete four years of full-time study to learn about the creation of drugs and formulation of dosages; however, students enrolled in a Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science degree program are not trained to sit for the licensing exam they need to pass to become a pharmacist.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma. While some pharmaceutical science programs may accept high school graduates, completion of two years of pre-pharmaceutical coursework is mandatory for incoming students to most programs. Pre-pharmaceutical courses may include calculus, physics, chemistry, and biology.

Coursework

Coursework has a predominant focus on the sciences, such as biology and chemistry. Students may also serve internships with government agencies, university research labs, or pharmaceutical companies. Core coursework may include topic areas such as the following:

•Technical writing
•Pharmaceutical manufacturing
•Biochemistry
•Physiology and anatomy
•Biopharmaceutics
•Quality control

Career Choices

Those who complete a bachelor’s degree program may seek entry-level careers in the fields of drug regulation, pharmaceutical marketing, or drug research and development. They can choose from popular career options such as:

•Drug analysis and development
•Pharmaceutical economics
•Drug testing
•Dosage forms and drug delivery systems
•Sales and marketing

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, job growth rates of 20% have been predicted for pharmacy technicians. Over the same period, biological technicians are expected to see a job growth rate of 10% (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2012, pharmacy technicians brought home an average annual wage of $29,320, while biological technicians earned $39,750 over the same period (BLS).

Professional Certification and Continuing Education Choices

Graduates from the bachelor’s degree program can seek continuing education to boost their career prospects in a dynamic, change-oriented field by earning advanced degrees such as the Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Pharmaceutical Engineering. Alternatively, they may pursue doctorates in fields such as medicinal chemistry or a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree followed by state licensure.

The American Society for Microbiology offers professional certification through its National Registry of Microbiologists to scientists in the pharmaceutical industry. Certification norms include seven years of work experience and completion of 12 credit hours in microbiology; alternatively, individuals seeking certification can augment a bachelor’s degree with a year of work experience and a minimum of 20 credit hours of coursework in microbiology.

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