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Pharmacist Schooling Requirements

Pharmacy programs are available through 4-year colleges and universities. Students interested in pursuing a career in pharmacy must earn a Doctor of Pharmacy from a school accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.

Before beginning professional practice, pharmacists must satisfy various licensing requirements, which includes completing a Pharm.D. program. These programs are typically four years in length and include both lecture-based and hands-on training components.

Top 10 Schools with Pharmacy Programs

These schools offer accredited Pharm.D. programs.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Graduate Tuition and Fees 2015-2016*
University of California - San Francisco San Francisco, CA 4-year, Public Doctoral $12,445 in-state, $27,547 out-of-state
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC 4-year, Public Doctoral $11,074 in-state, $28,285 out-of-state
University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN 4-year, Public Doctoral $17,289 in-state, $25,953 out-of-state
University of Texas - Austin Austin, TX 4-year, Public Doctoral $10,934 in-state, $20,762 out-of-state
University of Kentucky Lexington, KY 4-year, Public Doctoral $11,688 in-state, $26,154 out-of-state
University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI 4-year, Public Doctoral $11,870 in-state, $25,196 out-of-state
Ohio State University Columbus, OH 4-year, Public Doctoral $12,425 in-state, $31,897 out-of-state
Purdue University West Lafayette, IN 4-year, Public Doctoral $10,002 in-state, $28,804 out-of-state
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, Public Doctoral $20,966 in-state, $42,016 out-of-state
University of Arizona Tucson, AZ 4-year, Public Doctoral $12,048 in-state, $30,370 out-of-state

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Here are some considerations when searching for schools with pharmacy programs:

  • Search for a school accredited by the ACPE.
  • Inquire about graduates' success rate on tests administered by the National Association of Board of Pharmacy.
  • Students should seek programs that provide clinical experience in a variety of settings.
  • Some schools offer dual-degree programs that allow students to earn a Master of Business Administration alongside their Pharm.D.

Pharm. D. Programs

Prospective pharmacists spend four years studying clinical practice, ethics and pharmaceutical law. After graduating, some complete pharmacy residency programs to gain specialty training in various areas of pharmaceutical science, such as psychiatric pharmacy, geriatric pharmacy or nuclear pharmacy.

Applicants to Pharm.D. programs need to fulfill course prerequisites and take the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT). Most programs require 60-90 credits of prerequisite coursework covering chemistry, biology, composition, math and physics. Students that hold bachelor's degrees in a closely related major may be exempt from some course requirements.

Students interested in becoming pharmacists should seek accredited programs that offer clinical experience. Other considerations include the possibility of a dual-degree and graduate success rate on certification exams.

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