Due to the difficulty in fulfilling the criteria set by the accrediting bodies, so many universities in Nigeria have not been able to meet the criteria to offer the course. This has made the number of universities offering it to be on the low side. Right now, there are about 20 universities that are running the B. Pharm. (Bachelor of Pharmacy) undergraduate degree program with just one university is running Pharm. D. (Doctor of Pharmacy) program which is University of Benin (UNIBEN).
To obtain a B. Pharm certificate, one has to study the course for five years in an approved university of his/her choice. This is a little bit different from a Pharm. D. program which runs for 6 years of training. The difference is that Pharm. D. is that it has an added advantage of learning more about clinical practice. This is important since the profession is getting more and more patient oriented.
Getting Started To Be A Pharmacist
The first step is to get an O’ level result with at least five credit passes in English Language, Mathematics, Physics, Biology and Chemistry. It should be noted that no schools do allow the combination of results. The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (J.A.M.B) Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (U.T.M.E) must be taken with a score approved by the institution of your choice. The subjects are Use of English, Chemistry, Physics and Biology. But due to the competitive nature of the course, the cut-off mark is usually very high as there are many students where there are few schools.
Also, some schools accept the Interim Joint Matriculation Board (I.J.M.B) examination with admission into 200 level when student pass the cut off mark.
For direct entry students, there is a different requirement as the student will normally starts from 200 level if admitted. They are expected to obtain 3 credits passes in an A-level examination with Biology/Zoology, Chemistry and Physics/Mathematics plus U.T.M.E requirements.
Some schools have a pre-degree program where students are taught basic subjects for a period specified by them (usually about 6 months) and an examination is set for them after which the best among them is chosen.
Wow! congratulations! you have been given admission to study pharmacy.
The Under Graduate Program
The first year could be considered the easiest in the race to become a licensed pharmacist. Most of the courses at this stage are all science subjects from secondary school days with some additions from General Studies and other compulsory university courses. To pass these courses, one must beat the cut-off marks as started by those departments and not by the faculty of pharmacy which is usually 45 %. The main hurdles start from year two.
Before I proceed, permit me to introduce pharmacy to you. Pharmacy is a faculty comprising of six departments each with different functions. They are:
Pharmacognosy and traditional medicine
Pharmaceutical chemistry and medicinal pharmacy
Pharmacology and therapeutics
Clinical pharmacy and administration
Pharmaceutics and industrial pharmacy
They all have courses under them which every student must enrol, write and pass. The pass mark for most of them is usually 50 % with some few exceptions that require a score of 60 % and above although very few courses are in this category. Failure to pass them will either lead to a carryover or a receipt examination will be organised for you which is dependent on the school.
After final result, successful candidates will be inducted into the noble profession by PCN at a date specified by them. At this stage, the joy of studying the course set in but it is not the end.
Congratulations! you are now a graduate pharmacist.
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After the induction, which is, swearing in or oath taking, with their certificate, candidates are to look for an internship venue to do their internship. This is a compulsory program for all pharmacy students that also require grading. Although, there is no known record of failure in Nigeria, according to some sources, some candidates have failed it in some countries. However, PCN has recently introduced an examination for all interns. The program must be run in a certified location by PCN. It covers a period of one year after which he/she is called a pharmacist. At the end of it, you will be given your final license to operate within the country. Some countries require some additional study when you visit their country. As for Nigeria, PCN has a program for all foreign pharmacists known as Foreign Pharmacist Graduate Orientation Program (F.P.G.O.P)
Hurrah! you are now a certified pharmacist
Well, for those that are eligible for National Youth Service Corps (N.Y.S.C), they will spend another one years serving their fatherland. The venue for this is not determined by PCN but by N.Y.S.C which most at of the time is at the hospital.