A DUI conviction is a serious offense that can stay on your record for 10 years or more, depending on your state. It can affect many areas of your life, including your career, especially if you want to work in a human services field such as pharmacy. There might be instances, during your pharmacy training, when you'll have to explain the DUI. Also, you'll have to explain it to employers, because it may cause them to question your ability to perform your job without endangering the lives of patients. It's always best to be honest. You can become a pharmacist in spite of a DUI conviction, if you live your life responsibly after it.
Before you enter a pharmacy college, you must have completed classes such as biology, anatomy and chemistry. You can take these classes in high school, which would help you enter a prepharmacy program at a four-year college. This program will, in turn, help you to satisfy the entry requirements for a pharmacy college. Some colleges of pharmacy accept high school students directly for a six-year program.
Taking the PCAT
You can register for the Pharmacy College Admission Test when you have completed the undergraduate level education requirements and you have applied to a pharmacy college. It is designed to determine whether you have the knowledge and scientific skills necessary to begin a course in pharmacy. The registration and scheduling processes do not involve a background check and the test does not have any moral requirements. It's important to register for the PCAT as early as possible because seats fill up quickly. Pearson Vue, the exam administrator, will send the results of your test to the pharmacy schools to which you are applying.
College of Pharmacy Requirements
The requirements to enter a school of pharmacy vary by college, but typically include: completion of a prepharmacy program; an acceptable GPA, which varies by school; results from the PCAT; some experience in the health field and an interview with a member of the faculty. Some schools require a background check, to ensure that you are responsible enough to work as a pharmacist. They take several factors into consideration when determining whether to admit a student with a DUI conviction. These include the date of the incident, the details surrounding it and the student's behavior afterward. It might be difficult to gain admission if your DUI conviction is recent and your record shows other instances of breaking the law.
Applying for Licensure
You can apply for licensure after you successfully complete a pharmacy program. Each state's board of pharmacy requires candidates to pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination and, in 48 states, the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam. When you submit your application, you also will submit your fingerprints for a background check. If your records are acceptable, the board will allow you to take the exams. Provide information about your DUI conviction on your application. Like the pharmacy schools, each board examines such issues on an individual basis. Your state board will have criteria for approving or disqualifying applicants with DUI convictions, depending on the date of the conviction and the applicant's behavior since.
Points to Consider
You might be able to expunge the DUI conviction from your records after about 10 years, depending on the laws in your state. This seals the information from public inquiry unless there is a court order to reveal it. You can contact your attorney for information. Until you can expunge this information, it's best to provide it when asked, such as when you apply to a school, for a license or for a job. Inquirers can find it with a background check and could disqualify you from the application process for failing to disclose it.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Pharmacist
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln: CEH Criminal History Background Checks
- American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy: School Admission Requirements
- National Association of Boards of Pharmacy: FAQs: Which States Do Not Require the MPJE?
- NOLO: How Long will a DUI/DWI Stay on my Record, Counting as a Prior Offense?
- Regis University: Doctor of Pharmacy: Disqualifying Offenses
- University of Missouri-Kansas City: Doctor of Pharmacy Student Criminal Background Checks
- Long Island University: Admissions - Professional Program (Pharm. D): Criminal Background and Drug Testing
- McWhorter School of Pharmacy Samford University: Checklist for Application Process
- University of Arizona: College of Pharmacy: Prepharmacy Requirements
Tina Amo has been writing business-related content since 2006. Her articles appear on various well-known websites. Amo holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in information systems.