Pre-Pharmacy Preparation

Pharmacists fill medications doctors prescribe to patients. They also provide expert advice and answer questions about prescription instructions and safety. Pharmacists may also conduct health screenings, provide immunizations, and oversee and monitor patient medication profiles. 

Pharmacists work in community settings like retail chain pharmacies, and in clinical settings, like hospitals and doctor’s offices. They also work in consulting for medication use or for pharmaceutical companies in sales, marketing, and research.

How to Apply

Pharmacists must obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree and be licensed in order to practice. Pharmacy schools are highly competitive. Most require at least two years of undergraduate study in order to apply; some programs require a bachelor’s degree. Pharmacy school typically takes four years to complete. Some students go on to complete a one-to-two- year residency with additional training in a specialty area.

Course Requirements

Here is a guide of recommended courses that students could take in preparation for pharmacy school. This is not an exhaustive list. You are responsible to check with the schools you wish to apply for specific requirements.

Students should also check with the individual schools if they intend to use AP or Community College Credits to see if those are accepted. Although you can select any undergraduate major, most pharmacy schools require specific courses. You need these prerequisites in order to apply.

The required courses can be different at different schools. These requirements may also differ if you are applying with two years of college rather than a four-year degree. You must research the specific admissions requirements for the schools you apply to.

Students are encouraged to use PharmD School Directory to check admissions requirements for specific pharmacy schools. But also check directly with the individual schools.

Entrance Exam

Some pharmacy schools require the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) as an entrance exam. 

The PCAT is offered as a computer-based test and occurs on one or more dates in July, September, October, November, and January. Register to take the PCAT. 

Additional Requirements

Many pharmacy programs have a minimum cumulative GPA requirement. Most programs require at least a 2.5 GPA or more to apply to their program. On average, students who get into pharmacy school have a GPA of 3.5 or more.

Apart from your prerequisites and PCAT score, most pharmacy schools require one to four letters of recommendation, a written personal statement or essay, and if selected, an in-person interview.

Most pharmacy schools also either encourage or require applicants to have volunteer or paid experience working with patients in a pharmacy and/or health-care setting.

Application Service

The professional association for pharmacy is AACP (American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy).

Most schools go through a centralized application called the PharmCAS (Pharmacy College Application Service). Application opens in July with deadlines ranging from November through March.