Pharmacy education has seen a tremendous rise as a field of study and career option in India. Thousands of students are graduating every year from more than 800 Pharmacy colleges across the country. Those students who are interested in medicine, but for whom becoming a doctor does not appeal for any reason, Pharmacy can be an excellent alternative.
There are a basically two types pharmacy degree in India, a 4-year graduation course after 12th and also you can go for two-year master’s degree after graduation. Pharmacy education is related to health and trains students to make effective and safe use of pharmaceutical products. It also deals with manufacturing and quality control of medicines and drugs.
The skills and knowledge of dispensing and preparing medicines/drugs make pharmacy graduates widely demanded in medical field. They can be employed in a wide range of pharmaceutical companies and lead a successful career as a Pharmacist. Here, we are pointing out some reasons why more students nowadays, are opting for Pharmacy education.
Wide Variety of Career Opportunities
Pharmacy is a diverse field of study and hence it leads students to a rewarding career, with opportunities in healthcare, scientific research and innovation. Pharmacists can work in a myriad of professional setups ranging from pharma companies to institute. Pharmacists play key leadership roles in all aspects of healthcare system. The demand for pharmacy graduates is spread across sectors, public and private alike.
Majority of pharmacists in India work in an independent or a retail chain pharmacy company. Pharmacists work in numerous other healthcare environments as well, including hospitals, nursing homes, pharmaceutical industry, colleges and government departments etc. Different fields where pharmacy graduates are hired, apart from pharmaceutical companies are-
- health and welfare provincial research council
- department of national defense
- health centers, educational institutes
- food and drug administration
- sales and marketing department for pharmacy and drug manufacturing company.
Pharmacy graduates can also be self employed by setting up a medical store or chemist shops and have a successful career.
Financially Fulfilling Career
One of the key benefits of studying Pharmacy is financial. Starting salaries are among the best across all industry sectors. A pharmacist’s starting salary may be higher than that of a junior doctor and rises rapidly with experience. Entry level salary for a Fresher in Pharmacy industry is around 1.8 Lakh INR per annum. After having some experience, salary may go up to an average package of 4 to 5 LPA. Also, if one gets some higher degree, he/she can expect a salary hike up to 10 LPA depending on skill set and experience.
The top recruiters hiring pharmacy graduates are:
- Dr Reddys Laboratories
- Glenmark Pharmaceuticals
- Abott India
Stability and Flexibility in Career
Pharmacists can be employed in every part of the country. Pharmacy license is generally reciprocal between the states of India; however, additional criteria may be required to transfer license status. Pharmacists may be able to find non-traditional work hours, or you can also do part-time, depending on the practice and experience. This flexibility cannot be found in any other field. Pharmacists are needed all throughout the country, so this field of study comes up with the stability of job also.
Wide Range of Specializations
Pharmacy field has a variety of specializations in terms of study and career opportunities. The specialized fields in which pharmacy graduates can make a flourishing career are pharmaceutics, Nutrition pharmacy, pharmaceutical chemistry, medicinal chemistry, cardiovascular pharmaceutics, oncology pharmacy, pharmaceutical analysis, psychiatry pharmacy, nuclear pharmacy and infectious disease pharmacy etc.
Skills developed by Pharmacy Education
There is a majority of the skills that you will acquire with Pharmacy education. You will have extensive knowledge of medicines, including their ingredients, manufacturing and effects, as well as knowing how to operate pharmaceutical instrumentations. Additionally, you will develop very strong professional skills in terms of interacting with patients, such as effective communication after completing your pharmacy degree.
Apart from these, you will be having transferable skills, your high level of organization and ability to work carefully, accurately and methodically in all circumstances is highly valuable that you gain after working in some pharma company. You will also gain problem-solving skills and will be able to consider multiple perspectives from business concerns to ethics.
Social Aspects of Pharmacy Degree
Pharmacy degrees put you in contact with real people a lot of the time, just as any other medical degree. Pharmacists are revered in our community because they are entrusted with health of our families. Pharmacists play a key role in helping patients feel better and get well quickly. Also, pharmacists are the medication specialists, so they can be the best advisor of which medicine to be taken. Pharmacists improve medication adherence and they communicate effectively to evaluate the factors that affect a patient’s ability to take a medication. So, all of these qualities have a strong social impact of people with Pharmacy degree.
Higher Study Options
The Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy is known as B.Pharm in India. After completing this degree, you can start your career as a Pharmacist, however, you have options for higher studies too. You can opt for master’s degree program across various pharmacy colleges in India.
GPAT or Graduate Pharmacy Aptitude Test is a national level entrance exam conducted by AICTE every year to select suitable Pharmacy graduates for admission into the Master’s degree (M.Pharm) program. GPAT is a three-hour computer based online test conducted in a single session. GPAT score is accepted by all AICTE approved institutions/University Departments. Bachelor’s degree holders in Pharmacy (4 years after 10+2) and those, who are in the final year of B. Pharmacy course, are eligible for appearing in GPAT exam.
After completing Master of Pharmacy, the students may opt to go for a further higher qualification. By pursuing Ph. D. in pharmacy, they can step into the field of research in Pharmacy.
So, this may be another reason to opt for pharmacy education as it has many higher studies opportunities.
Where to Study Pharmacy?
There are two categories of institutes in India to study pharmacy. The first one is Government Colleges, and next option is the privately-owned institutions. These colleges accept various national level entrance exam scores for providing admissions. The total number of pharmacy colleges in India is around 900. There are some top colleges among these are:
- National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Mohali
- College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vishakhapatnam
- University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chandigarh
- Bombay College of Pharmacy, Mumbai
- JSS College of Pharmacy, Mysore.
Pharmacy though, seems like a relatively unexciting degree course. However, pharmacists play a vital role in healthcare industry. They act as one of the most important checks on physicians, act as a backup or an alternative to hospital visits, and generally provide an essential service in keeping us well by taking care of our health.