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Pharmacy School: An Overview

By Brendan Conway updated on Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Pharmacy schools at the graduate level grant aspiring pharmacists a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree. Pharm.D. degrees will generally take up to four years of study, though the exact amount of time involved may vary depending upon the pharmacy school in question. If you are interested in becoming a pharmacist, you can find more information on how to get into pharmacy school after the link.

Do I Need to Go to Undergraduate College to Attend a Pharmacy School?

Pharmacy schools typically require students to have a certain minimum amount of education prior to achieving entrance. As a baseline, many top pharmacy schools ask students to have two to three years of collegiate-level study in related science subjects before applying. Those who receive admittance into the best pharmacy schools have usually completed an undergraduate degree.

Raising the bar for pharmacy careers, the Pharm.D. degree is the only pharmacy degree being awarded by pharmacy schools to aspiring pharmacists. In the past, some pharmacy schools used to offer Bachelor of Pharmacy degrees, which might have allowed students to practice as pharmacists without first attending graduate institutions, but most undergraduate schools have ceased this practice. 

However, there are still undergraduate pharmacy certification programs, which train students to become pharmacy technicians, who provide clinical and administrative support to pharmacists. For more information on getting an undergraduate pharmacy certification, follow the link to Peterson's undergraduate section and read more on pharmacy colleges.

Pharmacy Schools: The Curriculum

Pharmacy schools will provide students with education about chemistry, biology, and physics, as well as specific courses on drug therapy, its usefulness, and important principles on patient care. Students at pharmacy schools will also be taught how to interact with pharmaceutical companies in order to perform their necessary roles as students.

The best pharmacy schools feature courses on professional ethics and the moral requirements of acting as pharmacists, ensuring that their students will not only be of the highest caliber academically, but also of the highest moral fiber.

Top pharmacy schools often pair students up with actual pharmacists and pharmacies in order to give those students hands-on training and experience with the guidance of full professionals. In addition to this hands-on experience during the normal program of the pharmacy school, many pharmacist students choose to continue on after they obtain their Pharm.D. degrees, going through residencies or fellowships in order to continue their educations. These residencies are also sometimes offered through the pharmacy school.

What Comes After Graduation From a Pharmacy School?

After attending and graduating from pharmacy school, you must continue on to obtain the appropriate license from the state in which you are hoping to practice as a pharmacist. This process of obtaining a license generally requires you to have a Pharm.D. degree and to pass certain examinations, as well as to have a designated number of hours of practice work achieved through your practicum courses or residency.

You should be certain that the pharmacy schools you apply to are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). For most top pharmacy schools, the question of accreditation isn't even an issue, but it always best to check whether or not any given pharmacy school is accredited prior to applying.

Pharmacy Schools
About the Author

Brendan Conway is the Web Content Editor for Peterson's Interactive and is well-versed in the world of higher education and admissions. He is a graduate of Hamilton College, and has been working in admissions advice, test-prep advice, career planning advice, and similar fields for the majority of his career since graduation. Brendan endeavors to provide the most relevant, useful, and interesting information via Peterson's Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ feeds. Brendan enjoys lexicological oddities and voraciously reading in his free time.

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