Pharmacy school requirements and prerequisites for pharmacy school vary slightly from school to school, but all accredited schools typically have the same set of requirements as outlined by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). The AACP mandates that all pharmacists have to have completed a doctorate degree in order to practice, so you will need to find a school that offers higher-level training in your specific field if you want to enter the field as a pharmacist or a researcher. If you only want to train to be a pharmacy technician, the pharmacy school requirements will be different and you may receive most of your training on the job.
What Are the Typical Pharmacy School Requirements?
Students interested in applying for a doctorate degree program at a pharmacy school need to apply for general admission to the college or university, and then submit an application for a seat at the pharmacy school. In many cases, the admissions process includes the following pharmacy school requirements:
- Proof of completion of general education requirements
- Proof of at least two years of educational experience beyond high school
- Completed application
- Letters of recommendation or references
- Narrative or personal statement outlining career and educational goals
Many schools also require prospective students to take the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT). This is a standardized test that is endorsed by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and consists of seven different tests including reading comprehension, quantitative problem solving, biology and chemistry.
Preparing for and Fulfilling Pharmacy School Requirements
In most cases, the pharmacy degree program is four years in length, and the student completes general science courses and introductory pharmacy courses during the first two years, followed by pharmacy theory, practice and research projects in the last two years. Successful completion of these pharmacy school requirements leads to the Doctor of Pharmacy degree.
During the student's sophomore year, it is generally a good idea to look at the pharmacy application to determine what additional courses (if any) need to be taken, and start seeking out references to write the letters of recommendation. During the student's junior year, it is advisable to set up volunteer work in a pharmacy-related setting to obtain work experience and also get a letter of recommendation from a volunteer supervisor. Many schools also offer career workshops and seminars for those who are interested in pursuing a career in the field of pharmacy. Students can then prepare for their pharmacy interview and submit their pharmacy application during their senior year.
Academic Prerequisites for Pharmacy School
Many of the top pharmacy schools in the United States require students to have completed a minimum number of general education credits and advanced courses in certain science courses, including physics, chemistry and biology. Students must also have completed upper-level math courses such as calculus, and elective credits in subjects such as humanities or social science.
The breakdown of academic prerequisites for pharmacy school for most degree programs includes:
- General Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Humanities or Social Studies
- Speech/Public Speaking
The listings of prerequisites for pharmacy school are usually minimum requirements, and some applicants may be required to complete more than those listed, based on their academic standing and educational goals. It's important for students to work with the admissions office or office of student affairs to determine what coursework they have already completed will fulfill the requirements for prerequisites for pharmacy school.