Pharmacy School

Pharmacy School

Is Pharmacy School Right for Me?

  • Pharmacy school is a 3 to 4 year graduate, professional program. Length of the program is dependent on the school of choice.
  • Pharmacy combines science, health care, computer technology, counseling, as well as business. As a pharmacist, you will be able to help people with anything related to the use of medicine, which means you will help people to stay as healthy as possible. Additionally, you will become an important member of the healthcare team. An active pharmacist works closely with several professionals of the healthcare field, whether as a leader or collaborative efforts with other pharmacists, physicians, or nurses. The role of a pharmacist assumes a position of power, and hence responsibility. This career will expect full compliance in the Code of Ethics for Pharmacists, and to serve your community, individuals, and society by assisting them in making the best use of their medications, adhering to the moral obligations residing in the bounds of the patient-pharmacist relationship, and acting with honesty and integrity to all patient demographics. Despite the innumerable responsibilities taken on by a pharmacist, the fulfillment of the career should quell any trepidations. You will have the ability to save patients’ lives as a pharmacist and form long-term and meaningful relationships with your patients. In addition, the average pharmacist’s salary is considered one of the top best-paid salaries in America as of 2019 (Refer to article). Tangentially, take into serious consideration if a 3- or 4- year program is right for you. Academic pressures should always be balanced with personal care and mental health, and time for fun!
    • The National Association of Colleges and Employers offers the most accurate compensation data available. Salary results based on college, location and other factors for reliable analysis
      • Median salary for a pharmacist as of the year 2019 in Ventura County (Thousand Oaks-Ventura-Oxnard: $126,500
  • Reference: Student and Job Seeker Salary Calculators(n.d.). Retrieved from
  • According to the Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC), being a pharmacist is considered number 11 of the top 25 best paying jobs in the United States.
    • They organized their ordinal list based on 3 factors:
      • Mean salary
      • Stress level
      • Work-life balance
  • Reference: Mejia, Z. (2019, January 10). These are the 25 best-paying jobs in America in 2019. Retrieved from

Pharmacy Prerequisites:

Sample Prerequisites List

General Biology
(BIO 200)
Human Anatomy & Physiology
(BIO 210, BIO 211)
(BIO 301)
General Chemistry
(CHEM 121, CHEM 122)
Organic Chemistry
(CHEM 311, CHEM 312, CHEM 314, CHEM 315)
(CHEM 460, CHEM 461)
(Science majors: an Upper Division course)
(MATH 150)
(PHYS 100 OR PHYS 101)
(MATH 201 OR MATH 202)
(ECON 110 OR ECON 111)
(Requirement dependent on school of choice; check course equivalencies)

Recommended courses:

  • Some schools recommend the following courses:
    • General Psychology (PSY 100), General Sociology (SOC 100), Upper Division Cell or Molecular Biology (BIOL 300, BIOL 400), Cultural Anthropology (ANTH 102), Calculus II (MATH 151)

Pharmacy School Application Process:

Webpage link(s):

  • Pharmacy School Directory:
    • Refer to the PharmCAS PharmD School Directory as a summary of schools offering Pharmacy programs nationwide, as well as their application deadline and accreditation status.
  • Application Process:

A Good Pharmacist is/has:

  • Motivated
  • Attentive
  • Scientific Aptitude
  • Leadership
  • Detail-oriented
  • Communication skills
  • Problem Solving skills
  • Time-management skills

Undergraduate Plan for Pharmacy:

  • Volunteer
    • Conduct volunteer hours at a nearby hospital or even reach out to your local, community pharmacy
  • Participation on Your Undergraduate Campus
    • Serving your campus in terms of either a leadership or communal position looks great on your application! Many pharmacy schools judge the character of an applicant, which are spoken for in the actions carried out by that applicant during their time as an undergraduate. Join a club or honor society and run for a board position; working at a serving-oriented facility on campus, such as a tutoring center, mental wellness center, or the library are some examples.
    • DO RESEARCH. The earlier you begin wet-lab research, the better you look as an applicant. Regardless of topic/field/instructor, just having a composite of both time and experience being independent in lab is priceless. Being able to recall times you overcame a problem independently in lab, or presented consolidated findings at a reputable conference gives you an edge in all aspects of the application process: physical application and interview process. Rarely an interviewer will ask you what you did explicitly in lab, rather, they will want to hear about how you worked with a group, problem-solved in lab, or experiences that shaped you as an applicant.
  • Pharmacy Technician
    • You can become a Pharmacy Technician in order to earn some experience working in a pharmacy
    • Greatly enhances candidate appeal because:
      • You will have worked closely with pharmacists who can model qualities an ideal pharmacist embodies and can set a standard for professionalism.
      • As a pharmacy technician, you will be exposed to the U.S.’s systematic and differential healthcare: Medicaid, Medi-Cal, and Medicare. This knowledge is your foundation is learning more about the diverse demographics you will serve as a future pharmacist. Also, serves as practical knowledge that is applicable, and helps build a personalized view on the progressive nature of healthcare and insurance.
      • Exposure to drug names and their corresponding conditions.
      • Subjective experiences, whether positive or negative, contribute to baseline understanding of the pharmacy field. If positive, these experiences can mainly corroborate good patient-provider communication habits. Can help to break-in a facet of professional communication that is representative of the position you wish to hold in the future. Negative experiences, with the aid of good leadership by a pharmacist/manager, can build your confidence, autonomy, and problem-solving skills in the pharmacy.
  • Take Science and Math courses
    • All Pharmacy programs require Biological Science, Physical Science, and some Mathematics courses as non-negotiable prerequisites for admission. However, you do not need to be a Biochemistry/Chemistry major to apply!
    • There is a fraction of pharmacy applicants who represent different fields, such as psychology, mathematics, physics, and business.
    • Be aware of your potential pharmacy schools’ required prerequisites. Prerequisites can vary greatly between schools. Taking non-STEM courses like economics or communication class will need to be factored in to your timely graduation and application to pharmacy school.
  • Begin your application early:
    • This is attributable to the applicant’s time management skills. You will want to research:
      • Potential pharmacy application essay questions and interview questions. Some schools publish questions they have asked before and are a great preparative resource. In addition, it might be advantageous to look up essay or interview questions of other schools of medical practice, such as Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Optometry, etc.
      • Research sub-requirements that are specific to your school of choice. This constitutes background check procedures, federal fingerprint procedures, how to order and send official transcripts (some schools do not send transcripts on weekends, require a small fee, or have a lag-period before sending), possible financial deposits you will make have to make once accepted to school of choice.

Financial Aid/Financing your Pharmacy Education:

Webpage link(s):

Life as a Pharmacy Student:

Life After Pharmacy School:

  • Pharmacy Career Map Link:
    • Here’s a link to multiple career pathways that you can take regarding pharmacy
    • Pharmacy Career Map
  • Expanding on Pharmacy Education
    • You can pursue a Masters/PhD concurrently or after PharmD.

Created by: Caeley Dye, Daisy Okoyeocha, Alexia Romero

Back to Top ↑