Friday, July 23, 2021

Pharmacy Career Path in Nigeria: How to Become A Pharmacist in 4 Steps

by | May 12, 2021 34

Pharmacy is one of the most sought-after courses in Nigerian universities. It is a profession concerned with the art and science of preparing and dispensing medications and the provision of drug-related information to the public.

Pharmacists dispense medications prescribed by physicians and other healthcare professionals and offer expertise in the safe use of prescription and non-prescription medication. They advise physicians and other health practitioners about drug selection, dosages, and interactions.

Pharmacists supervise drug production and ensure that manufactured drugs meet the requirements as specified in the official compendium and conventional requirements before they are supplied to patients from pharmaceutical manufacturers. They oversee and supervise drug supply chain and ensure that the supply of drugs is within the law.

Does this sound like the type of work you would enjoy and be successful at? Here is a step by step guide on how to become a Pharmacist in Nigeria.

Step 1: Get Required Certifications

To become a pharmacist in Nigeria, you will need to earn a Bachelor of Pharmacy (B. Pharm.) or Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.)  degree from a college of pharmacy that is accredited by the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria. To obtain a B. Pharm certificate, prospective pharmacists are required to undergo pharmacy undergraduate training that lasts for five (5) years for Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) candidates and four (4) years for Direct Entry applicants in any of the approved universities offering pharmacy in Nigeria. This is a little bit different from Pharm. D. program which lasts for six (6) years for UTME candidates and five (5) years for Direct Entry applicants.

While Pharm.D. focuses on clinical practice and allows the student to get a hands-on experience while working as a pharmacist, B. Pharm. is more research-oriented and focuses on the manufacture of drugs and what new discoveries can be made in this field.

Upon graduation from a pharmacy school, successful candidates will be inducted into the noble profession by the Pharmacist Council of Nigeria (PCN). The provisional registration of fresh graduates commences during the induction (oath-taking) ceremony.  At this stage, the joy of studying pharmacy sets in but it is not the end but just the beginning of another level of your journey to becoming a pharmacist.

Read Also: Basic admission requirements to study pharmacy in Nigeria

Step 2: Internship Program

After induction into the profession, you are expected to undergo a compulsory twelve-month internship program where you will practise as a pharmacist under the supervision of a registered pharmacist. Here, you will learn a lot more about the profession and have an opportunity to relate with other professionals.

Internship training experience can be acquired in diverse practice settings and it should reflect the current changing roles of the pharmacist; noting that pharmaceutical care is the current philosophy of practice. Where a practice setting does not offer all the aspects of the required experience, arrangements are usually made for split-site or rotational training experience.

Pharmacy graduates can do their internship programs in the following practice settings:

  • Hospitals – Tertiary and Secondary Health Facilities
  • Community Pharmacies (rotation required)
  • Pharmaceutical industry (rotation required)
  • Regulatory Agencies (rotation required)
  • Academia (rotation required)

You can check out our article on “Current List of PCN Accredited Internship Training Centres for Pharmacy Graduates”

Step 3: Pre-registration Exam for Pharmacists

It is no longer news that the Governing Council of PCN at its 39th Regular Meeting of May 21, 2015, has approved the Report of the Ad hoc Committee on Pre- Registration Examination for fresh pharmacy graduates who have completed the one-year mandatory internship training prior to seeking full registration to practice in Nigeria. The objective of the pre-registration examination is to ascertain that those who have undertaken the internship training programme have acquired the requisite knowledge, attitudes and skills to practise pharmacy in Nigeria without endangering Public Health.

The examination holds twice a year, March and October and the pass mark is 50%. Candidates are eligible to sit for the examination to a maximum of four (4) attempts, upon the payment of prescribed fee and fulfilment of other conditions. Candidates who were unable to make it after four attempts are required to undergo a refresher program as may be prescribed by PCN before making one (1) more attempt.

Candidates are assessed in the following areas

  1. Pharmaceutical Care (Patient Focus) – Establishing Professional Relationship with Patients; Collecting Patient-Specific Objective and Subject Data; Evaluating Data to Identify Drug Therapy Problems; Patient & Drug-Focused Interventions; Outcome Assessment; and Documentation.
  2. Supply of Medicines (Product Focus) – Compounding of Medicines; Dispensing of Medicines and Information; and Monitoring/ Evaluation.
  3. Public Health (Population Focus) – Health Promotion; Health information & Education; Disease Prevention in Populations.
  4. Organization & Management (System Focus) – Budget & Health Care Financing; Human Resource Management; Quality Management; Conflict Management; Logistics & Supply Chain Management; Workplace Management.
  5. Professional/ Personal Management (Practice Focus) – Communication Skills; Continuing Professional Development; Legal & Regulatory Practice; Professional & Ethical Practice; Research in Workplace; Self- Management.
  6. Drug Production & Quality Assurance (Product Focus) – Unit Operations for Manufacturing Sterile and Non-Sterile Pharmaceuticals, current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP), Standard Operating Procedures.

Step 4: National Youth Service Corps (NYSC)

The National Youth Service Corp is another compulsory phase in your journey to becoming a Pharmacist in Nigeria. It is a scheme set up by the Nigerian government under decree No.24 of 22nd May 1973 in a bid to reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild the country after the Nigerian Civil war. This is known as national service year.

During the one-year national service year, you are expected to serve your fatherland. The state where you are posted to and your place of primary assignment are not determined by PCN but by NYSC. Once you are done with NYSC, you are free to practice in any field of pharmacy and in any part of the country.

Now that you have read how to become a pharmacist in 4 steps, check out our articles on basic admission requirements for studying pharmacy in Nigeria, accredited universities for pharmacy programmes in Nigeria, pharmacy curriculum and core courses of pharmacy, career opportunities for pharmacists in Nigeria, procedure for registration of pharmacists in Nigeria and pharmacist’s salary.

Related Keywords: How many years does it take to study pharmacy in Nigeria? How do I become a pharmacist in Nigeria? How much do pharmacists earn in Nigeria? Is pharmacy a good course in Nigeria? how lucrative is pharmacy in Nigeria, pharmacy course syllabus in Nigeria, pharmacy related courses in Nigeria, youngest pharmacist in Nigeria, types of pharmacy in Nigeria, pharmacy 100 level courses, pharmacy career in Nigeria, pharmacy is how many years course


  1. Ms emerald says:

    what about the pharmacy graduates that study in pharmacy colleges outside the country? Do they follow the same steps as above??

    • Pharmapproch says:

      Hi Emerald,
      According to Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), a Pharmacist whose undergraduate pharmacy degree was conferred by a recognized school of pharmacy outside Nigeria is expected to forward first, a written application for participation in the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Orientation Programme (FPGOP) and thereafter, a completed application form with relevant documents.

      The programme runs for six (06) weeks, comprising of four (04) weeks of lectures, practicals, hospital and field visitations, one (01) week of revision and one (01) week of examinations.

      You should note that success at FPGOP examination is not a license to practice pharmacy in Nigeria. Those who pass the examination will proceed for the twelve months continuous internship programme after which they will write Pre-registration Exam for Pharmacists. This is followed by the one-year national service year. Once you are done with NYSC, you are free to practice in any field of pharmacy and in any part of the country.

      However, those who have evidence of registration in their country of training will be granted registration in line with laid down procedures.

  2. Jim says:

    Please, How can I change my B pharm to pharm.D after graduation? I heard it will take me additional 2yrs to run the pharm D program instead of additional 1yr. What processes can we pas tru to upgrade our B pharm to pharm D?

    • Pharmapproach says:

      It really takes about 2 years. The student will start by enrolling for the Pharm D Conversion Program at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Benin.
      The program involves some courses in clinical pharmacy and clinical rotation in about six hospitals in Benin and University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Enugu.
      At the end, the person will sit for some exams and if successful gets inducted into the Pharm D Degree.

  3. jabir abdullahi says:

    hello, please am a pharmacy student currently studying at cyprus international university, but unlike BPHARM, mine here is MPHARM with the duration of 5yrs and it has been accredited by PCN, so what can you say about it?, hope if i come back to Nigeria, the registration and internship will not be a problem

    • Pharmapproach says:

      Hello Abdullahi,
      Registration and internship would not be a problem for you since the institution is accredited by PCN.

  4. shoba says:

    Thanks for sharing informative article. I was looking for such kind of information as my sister is planning to do D Pharma course from Chandigarh Group of Colleges Landran ( ). This article will be be helpful to her and clear her all doubts.

  5. Margaret John says:

    Please what about studying pharmacy in health technology accredited by PCN will I be able to do internship and registration, how dose it works?
    Because am planning to study pharmacy and I was advice to study in health tec


    Please does the pharm D already cover the Bpharm? I mean for example, if I get admitted straightforward for the pharm D programme, after I I finish, does it mean I already possess a Bpharm since the pharm D is higher?

    • Pharmapproach says:

      In response to your question regarding PharmD and B Pharm programs, Pharm D is a full and complete replacement for B Pharm. Pharm D can be considered as an improved Pharmacy Training Program.
      Securing admission for Pharm D means you will be trained and licensed to practice as a pharmacist. You do not need B Pharm again, you have a more refined and more adapted training and degree.


    And again please after having bagged pharm D, is there a need for acquiring an MSc in pharmacy?

    • Pharmapproach says:

      Pharm D is not synonymous to MSC programs in pharmacy or other disciplines. It does not replace them either. Thus, having a Pharm D does not exclude you from presenting MSC qualifications where necessary. For clarity, while Pharm D is an undergraduate program, MSC is a postgraduate package. Even people with MBBS obtain MSC in specific medical disciplines if need be.


    Please does having a pharm D means an automatic certification of B pharm? For example, if I get admitted straightforward to the pharm D programme of 6 years, does it mean upon the completion of my pharm D, I already have a Bpharm since pharm D is higher?

    • Pharmapproach says:

      Like I said in the answer to one of your previous questions, PharmD is a full and complete replacement for B Pharm. Securing admission for PharmD means you will be trained and licensed to practice as a pharmacist. You do not need B Pharm again, you have a more refined and more adapted training and degree.
      For Nigeria and at the University of Benin, prospective students are admitted as PharmD students. Upon graduation and subsequent induction, they get two certificates: PharmD and B Pharm. The reason is that the country is yet to fully embrace d PharmD program. While some local parastatals may decline to accept a PharmD certificate (maybe because of bureaucracies), some graduands travel to western countries where the same PharmD is the minimum requirement for practice. Hence the need to serve d two certs for the purpose of satisfying variations and diversities in Pharmacists’ needs.


    (1).Please, I couldn’t get a reply on my question. Does having pharm D imply an automatic certification of Bpharm? If I get admitted straightforward for Pharm D for six years, does it mean I already have a Bpharm upon the completion of my pharm D programme since pharm D is higher than Bpharm???

    (2). Is there a need to acquire an MSc (Masters) in pharmacy even after I already have a pharm D? And, is there Msc pharm programmes in Nigeria universities ?


    • Pharmapproach says:

      I have responded to your questions. I am sorry for my delayed response.


    Thank you so much. Am so glad I have a reliable pharmacy news channel where I can get clarity when and where needed. Am highly grateful.


    Thanks so much sir

  12. Victoria says:

    Quiet informative, keep on the good work and God bless you 🙏

  13. Yosev says:

    Please Sir reply me ooh.
    My plans are to work in a pharmaceutical industry and not a hospital but I unknowingly applied for Pharm.D instead of B.pharm and am now learning that pharm D is clinically oriented so its destination is Hospital which is not my plan.

    So can I be able to work in a pharmaceutical industry with a pharm.D degree without B.pharm here in Nigeria?

    It since opportunities are restricted in the pharm.D program so am confuse sir.

    Or is there any other program I will do upon acquiring the pharm.D program so as to be eligible to work in am industry?


    • Pharmapproach says:

      Pharm D is a full and complete replacement for B Pharm. Like I said in one of my replies, Pharm D can be considered as an improved Pharmacy Training Program.
      With a Pharm D degree, you can work in a pharmaceutical industry.


    Pls I want to find out if Liberal Bilingual university of Togo is accredited by PCN, how do I go about it. Thanks

  15. Romanus Chukwuemeka Romanus says:

    Please 🙏. I’m not pharmacist but inquire for a friend who study pharmacy science in UK. Can he practice as a pharmacist in Nigeria. Where did he fall to B or D pharm.

    • Pharmapproach says:

      Hello Romanus, your question has been answered in the comment section. You can check our response to Ms. Emerald.

  16. Jennyamor says:

    As a Nigerian pharmacist graduate,but couldn’t do my internship immediately because I left Nigeria. can I still do my internship when I come back to Nigeria after 5years or above?

  17. Musa Duda says:

    Sir I’m pharm.d graduate and I completed my internship in the country where I studied so is it necessary for me to go for another internship in Nigeria after licence exams.

    • Pharmapproach says:

      You are expected to undergo a compulsory twelve-month internship program where you will practise as a pharmacist under the supervision of a registered pharmacist if you wan to practice in Nigeria.

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