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Why do certain drugs cure certain ailments? What is the chemical makeup of prescription drugs? When and how do drugs take their effect once administered? These questions are studied and answered by those in the pharmacology industry.

The pharmacology major studies the effect drugs have on the human body and how drugs help us overcome illness and disease. Besides math and science skills, you'll need strong researching skills and the ability to take on challenges. Advanced molecular synthesis isn't something you learn overnight.

Something to consider

A pharmacology major will give you a good mix of classroom lectures, research work and labs. Get ready to jump in to advanced chemistry and biology classes during your first year.

Depending on your career path, pharmacology will involve more school after your undergraduate degree. If you are interested in pharmacology research, you can pursue a PhD in pharmacology or a related field. If you're interested in becoming a pharmacist, you'll need to go to an accredited pharmacy school and pursue a PharmD degree. Once you have your degree, you must also pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) to become a practicing pharmacist. Some universities have combined programs where you can earn both a PhD and a PharmD degree concurrently.

After graduation

Job titles for students who study pharmacology include: analytical chemist, pharmacist, clinical researcher, pharmaceutical sales representative and researcher/scientist. Job industries include: laboratories, consumer product industries, nutrition industry and research/development.

Where you could end up living

According to My Next Move, in 2013, the majority of the United States has average to above-average career opportunities as a pharmacist. Those states with above-average include: Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Salary and occupation outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2013, there were more than 287,000 pharmacists with the average salary of $116,500 per year. The growth rate percentage for pharmacists is 14 percent, which is only slightly faster than the national average for all occupations. With new research, medical breakthroughs and our modern age, there will always be an increase for prescriptions and the study of new drugs.

Did You Know?

Visit our Free Scholarship Search to find college scholarships for pharmacology careers.

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