Whenever you enter a pharmacy, there are various categories of people you will find. Each of these categories of people have different qualifications.
If you are interested in ever working in a pharmacy then you will have to know exactly what each of these qualifications entails and how long it can take you to obtain such a qualification.
Let’s look at the various pharmacy courses available in Ghana.
Bachelor of pharmacy
The bachelor of pharmacy degree is a 4 year degree programme which was offered by most of the universities in Ghana prior to 2018. Students who graduated from this programme after their four years, had to undertake a one year compulsory internship/national service.
After successful completion of that one year of internship, the graduates are required to sit for and pass the pharmacy professional qualifying examination otherwise called the licensure exams after which they are registered as pharmacists by the registrar of the pharmacy council.
Fortunately or unfortunately, almost all the universities that used to offer this course have upgraded to the Doctor of Pharmacy programme. As such this four-year degree is no longer available in accredited Ghanaian universities.
Doctor of Pharmacy
The doctor of pharmacy programme is currently the new wave of pharmacy in the country. Almost every university in Ghana now offers this programme as a six-year duration programme. Successful completion of this programme leads to the award of the Doctor of Pharmacy degree by the university attended.
Graduates then sit for the pharmacy professional qualifying examination and on passing, will be awarded a provisional pharmacist license. With this license, these pharmacists are required to undertake a one year compulsory housemanship while being paid as a newly qualified pharmacist.
After completing the housemanship, they are then awarded a permanent license by the pharmacy council for them to practice pharmacy in Ghana.
Unlike those who graduate with a bachelor of pharmacy degree, the doctor of pharmacy graduates bear the doctor title and their training is more clinically oriented.
Institutions in Ghana that offer the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) programme include;
II. University of Ghana, Legon (UG)
IV. University of Cape Coast (UCC)
V. Central University, Accra
VI. University of Development Studies, Tamale (UDS)
VII. Entrance University College of Health
Dispensing Technology (HND and Diploma)
The Dispensing Technology programme is a three-year higher national diploma (HND) degree or two-year diploma degree offered by some of the technical universities, and some private tertiary and post-secondary institutions in the country.
The technical universities usually offer the 3-year HND programme and the private colleges/institutions offer both the 2-year diploma and 3-year HND programmes.
Students of this programme graduate as Pharmacy Technicians or Dispensing Technicians.
Pharmacy technicians are usually second in command after pharmacists in the community and hospital pharmacy settings. They are trained in dispensing, pharmaceutical chemistry, basic pharmacology, management, and other basic things that are taught in pharmacy schools.
Institutions that offer Dispensing Technology programme include;
I. Kumasi Technical University (KsTU), Kumasi
II. Sunyani Technical University, Sunyani
III. Wa Technical University, Wa
IV. Royal Ann College of Health, Kumasi
V. PharmaTrust Professional College, Accra
VI. Health Access Institute, Haatso-Accra
VII. Narh-Bita College, Tema
VIII. Baldwin University, Osu-Accra
IX. Maranatha University College, Accra
X. Advance Global College, Tamale
XI. Nelchris Science College, Accra
Medicine Counter Assistantship
This is one of the short-duration pharmacy-related courses in Ghana. Any individual with or without a science background with WASSCE or SSCE certificate (at least a pass in all subjects) can apply to undertake this 6 months course.
Graduates of this programme are referred to as medicine counter assistants or commonly called MCAs.
They are basically trained in dispensing, inventory control, and management of diseases of common occurrences in the communities. As part of their training, students are required to obtain at least 3 months of practical knowledge in a registered pharmacy. So this 6-months course is broken down into a 3-month classroom teaching and a 3-month on-the-field pharmacy training.
MCAs are therefore qualified to work in various pharmacies including retail community pharmacies, wholesale pharmacies, and hospital pharmacies.
Institutions that offer the medicine counter assistantship course include;
I. Pharmatrust professional College
II. Royal Ann College of Health
III. G-Health COnsult
IV. Advance Global College
V. Rapha Development Institute
VI. Phersons Health College
VII. Senes MCA Training School
VIII. Volta Health Consult Limited
IX. Hills Training Institute
X. Avenue Chemist MCA Training School, etc
Health Facility Assistantship
This course is quite similar to the medicine counter assistantship course and is also part of the six months pharmacy courses available in Ghana.
However, for the health facility assistantship course, graduates are called health facility assistants and are trained to assist not only in pharmacies but various health facilities like clinics, community health centers and the like.
Pharma Marketing and Salesmanship
This is also a short course. The duration is six (6) months and students will be posted to do attachment and job placement with pharmaceutical companies after 3 months of intensive teaching sessions.
The goal of this course is to train individuals who need specialist knowledge in the marketing of Pharmaceutical products. Hence, applicants with a degree in marketing, HND in marketing, diploma in marketing, dispensing technicians, medicine counter assistants can apply to be enrolled in this program.
This means that graduates will be able to work with Pharmaceutical wholesale companies, Pharmaceutical marketing companies, and Pharmaceutical manufacturing companies as sales representatives.
Pharm D Top up (Doctor of Pharmacy Top up)
This is a new programme that has been introduced due to the inception of the doctor of pharmacy programme in Ghana and the fact that it is expected to become the minimum requirement for qualification as a pharmacist in Ghana.
It is a two-year course now available to a bachelor of pharmacy degree holders who want to upgrade to doctor of pharmacy. It is offered on a part-time basis.
Currently, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology as well as the University of Ghana are the only two universities in Ghana known to be offering this 2 years pharmacy course.
If you are interested in getting into a pharmacy or any related course then you can choose to undertake any of the above mentioned pharmacy courses based on your qualification.
For more information about entry requirements for any of these programmes/courses, click here.