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Ask A Student Diplomat: Internship Tips

CasperoQuestion: What goes into a pharmacy internship?

Gregory Caspero: One of the criteria for obtaining a pharmacy license in the state of Pennsylvania is to accrue 1,500 internship hours. Since most students will do this over the course of their time in the professional phase of the pharmacy program, it is important that you understand the following information before you begin the process.

According to the Pennsylvania Board of Pharmacy, "Pharmacy internship means the supervised practical experience required for licensure as a registered pharmacist. The purpose of the pharmacy internship program is to provide a registered intern with the knowledge and practical experience necessary for functioning competently and effectively upon licensure."

You will not be able to register for a pharmacy intern license until you have completed two years of college and are enrolled in an ACPE-accredited pharmacy degree program.

An application must be submitted to the Pennsylvania Board of Pharmacy for approval. Approval must also be granted by your chosen school of pharmacy.

Once the application is approved, a pharmacy intern registration is valid for six years from the date of issue.

In order to begin accumulating intern hours, the student intern must also register a registered pharmacist to be their preceptor. This preceptor will serve as the student intern's mentor during their time in the internship program.

The minimum number of hours needed in order to become a licensed pharmacist in the state of Pennsylvania is 1,500. Of these hours, 1,000 will be earned through experiential education coursework completed through the school of pharmacy. The additional 500 hours will be served in a pharmacy.

Student interns can work in a variety of settings, such as community pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and nuclear pharmacies.

A maximum of 50 hours may be credited in one week.

Many pharmacy students will work at their pharmacies throughout the school year, but others choose to work in their hometown during breaks or summer. As long as the hours are properly recorded through the Pennsylvania Board of Pharmacy, they will count.

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