The Doctor of Pharmacy prepares students for a demanding and rapidly evolving profession. Pharmacists are medication experts who are concerned about their patients’ health and wellness. Because people often feel comfortable approaching pharmacists and seeking advice from them, they are important in providing information and for connecting patients with additional care. Pharmacists’ responsibilities go well beyond dispensing medications. They monitor patient health and progress with medication, educate people on medication use, administer immunizations, adjust medications and dosages, advise physicians and other healthcare providers on medication decisions, and monitor prescriptions for drug interactions.
Preparation and Applying
- Begin researching schools early in your academic career as programs have different admissions requirements.
- Spend time working in pharmacies and/or observing pharmacists to make sure this is the right field for you.
- Prepare and take the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT), although some schools will accept the MCAT.
- Pharmacy schools typically require courses similar to those listed below.
- All required courses must have a minimum grade of C. Additional information on each college’s requirements can be found on their websites.
- A common application is available for some of the programs. The system is called PharmCAS
- Competitive applicants will have:
- Strong academic performance
- Above average scores on the PCAT (if required)
- Leadership, teamwork, and communication skills
- Volunteer and shadowing/observation experiences
- Strong positive letters of recommendation
- PharmCAS opens mid-July and it is ideal to submit within about a month of the application opening. Apply directly to programs not participating in PharmCAS.
Education and Licensure
- A Doctor of Pharmacy program requires at least two years of undergraduate pre-pharmacy study followed by four academic years of study in the professional level program.
- Some schools will require an admissions exam called the PCAT (the Pharmacy College Admission Test).
- To practice, students must complete their Pharm.D., spend a specified number of hours in a practice setting, and pass a licensure exam, and, in most states, a pharmacy law exam.
- Certain areas of pharmaceutical practice may require a 1-2 year residency program and/or fellowship after graduating