Pharmacists are essential healthcare professionals, who enhance patient care and promote wellness. When pharmacists are involved in patient care, outcomes improve and costs decline. Current pharmacy graduates receive a minimum of six years of rigorous professional education, leading to the Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Pharmacy is a diverse and rewarding career, with opportunities for patient care, scientific research and innovation.

Typical Responsibilities

Pharmacist responsibilities include a range of care for patients, from dispensing medications to monitoring patient health and progress to maximize their response to the medication. Pharmacists also educate consumers and patients on the use of prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, and advise physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals on drug decisions. Pharmacists also provide expertise about the composition of drugs, including their chemical, biological, and physical properties and their manufacture and use. Pharmacists ensure drug purity and strength and make sure that drugs do not interact in a harmful way.

Preparing for Admission

  • Resources for researching schools: A complete list of all Pharmacy (PharmD) programs can be found on the American Association of College of Pharmacy (AACP) website
  • Prerequisite coursework: The undergraduate pre-requisites vary significantly from one institution to the next. A complete list of prerequisite courses is available for each institution on the AACP website.
  • Standardized Test(s): The Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) is constructed specifically for pharmacy colleges. It measures general academic ability and scientific knowledge necessary for the commencement of pharmaceutical education.
  • Experience/Exposure: 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.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Many pharmacy degree programs require 1-4 letters. Some may require you to submit letters from a pharmacist, professor, or academic advisor. Review the admission requirements of each pharmacy school for instructions.

The Admissions Cycle

  • There is a Centralized Application Process (PharmCAS) that 126 of the 138 pharmaceutical programs participate in.
  • Application opens: July and Application deadlines: ranges by program from November through March
  • Fees: $150 for the first designation, $55 for each additional designation
  • Fee waivers: There is a fee assistance program to help cover application deadlines available to eligible students to apply.
  • AACP has created a thorough instruction manual and FAQ which is helpful for students in the application process.