How to Get into Pharmacy School

10 Tips for Getting Accepted into Pharmacy School

Pharmacist preparing a prescription
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If you are interested in a career as a pharmacist in the United States, you must graduate from pharmacy school and obtain a PharmD degree.

If you're interested in finding out how to get into pharmacy school, below are a few tips. These won't make you absolutely certain to get in, of course. There's still going to be more to do beyond simply following these steps, and there will also be some factors which are totally outside of your control, but these tips can be a good place to start.

The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) is a great resource for information about pharmacy school. 

Tips About Pharmacy School From the AACP

  • It is ideal to build a foundation for pharmacy school with a "comprehensive and balanced" high school and undergraduate (college) curriculum that is strong in math and science.
  • Pharmacy school consists of two years of undergraduate (pre-professional) college coursework, plus four years of pharmacy school (professional education).
  • The degree required for pharmacists, which is obtained by successfully graduating pharmacy school, is a Pharm.D. degree. (Doctor of Pharmacy)
  • While it is common for most students to enter pharmacy school after 2-4 years of college, there are some pharmacy schools that admit students immediately out of high school. These programs are called "0-6" programs, and they enable students to complete their undergraduate degree and pharmacy degree all within six years of graduating high school. There are only nine such programs listed on the AACP website as of 2011.
  • Experience working with patients, either on a volunteer basis or paid, is recommended to help make your application more attractive to pharmacy admissions committees.
  • Letters of recommendation are required by most pharmacy schools - requirements vary but anywhere from one to four letters may be required.
  • The acceptance process will include an onsite interview, which will evaluate communication skills, interest level, knowledge of the industry, motivation, and problem-solving skills. The more direct experience you have in a pharmacy setting or a clinical setting working with patients, the easier it will be for you to respond to the interview questions, most likely.
  • In addition to the 0-6 programs, there are also early acceptance programs ​and some accelerated programs. The accelerated pharmacy schools confer a degree after three years instead of the usual four. There are 12 accelerated programs recognized by the AACP on their website.
  • While there is no one standardized application process for all pharmacy schools, about two thirds of pharmacy schools utilize the Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS).
  • The test required for admission to pharmacy school is the PCAT - Pharmacy College Admissions Test. The AACP website includes tips for registering and completing the exam. Acceptable scores vary by pharmacy program, as do minimum GPA requirements. The AACP recommends consulting the websites of your desired pharmacy programs to confirm each school's admission requirements.

For More Information

These are just a few of the tips provided by the AACP.

Visit the AACP website for step-by-step guidelines that will help walk you through the admissions process, including evaluating program options and registering for the PCAT.

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