Pharmacists are essential healthcare professionals who enhance patient care and promote wellness. When pharmacists are involved in patient care, outcomes improve and costs decline. Pharmacy is a diverse and rewarding career, with opportunities for patient care, scientific research and innovation.
To prepare for a career in pharmacy, a student must complete a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree at a professional college of pharmacy. A PharmD degree consists of 4 academic years of professional education. Although it is possible to apply for a PharmD program after completing 60 semester hours at the undergraduate level, it is not the norm. Many students complete at least 3 years of undergraduate education, while most complete their baccalaureate degree. A grade of “C” or better in all prerequisite coursework and a minimum of a 2.5 GPA are required, although the average accepted student has around a 3.5 GPA.
Pharmacy colleges encourage or require applicants to have volunteer or paid experience working with patients in a pharmacy or health-related setting (hospital, nursing home, etc.). Ongoing work or volunteer experience in a pharmacy setting may be an important factor in the admissions process. Most pharmacy degree programs require 1-4 letters of recommendation typically from a science professor and a pharmacist.
Most pharmacy programs utilize the PharmCAS application service (www.pharmcas.org). Applicants can apply as early as July one year prior to when they plan to enter a program and must take the PCAT exam. The PCAT (Pharmacy College Admissions Test) is offered a limited number of times throughout the year. Visit pcatweb.info for specific dates for the academic year. The potential applicant needs to take the PCAT no later than October of the year prior to entry. The PCAT has 5 sections: Writing, Biological Processes, Chemical Processes, Critical Reading and Quantitative Reasoning. Scores range from 100-300 with the minimal accepted score in the 50th percentile.
For additional information, please visit the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.