EDU: How to get into Pharmacy School.


Nov 23, 2001
Orlando, Florida
Step 1.
Know that a doctor of pharmacy degree is for you. Some people choose pharmacy mostly for the money so they can earn $100k+ a year after only 4 years of pharmacy school. The salaries for pharmacists are increasing by 6% each year.. so in 2010 I’ll make about 120k. *UPDATE* Got offered my first job at 124k/year :bigthumb:

Personally, I chose pharmacy because it's a more predictable kind of science. The pharmacist doesn't have to bear the responsibility and uncertainty of diagnosing the patient; therefore they don't have to deal with the malpractice insurance that physicians must suffer. There’s no bedpans, blood and gore that a nurse will handle… and no other group in health care knows drugs better than the pharmacist... you'll give drug advice not just to patients but nurses and physicians too.

Pharmacy is the part of health care where you can improve quality of life and save lives by monitoring drug therapies, preventing adverse drug interactions and giving patients advice that they can't get from their busy doctors. It's a lot more than just pill pushing. There's also a ton of different fields you can go into. Pharmacy isn't just Walgreens and CVS.

You can work in:
Clinical Pharmacy
Clinical Research
Community Pharmacy (Chain or Independent)

Critical Care
Drug Information
Home Care
Hospital (Staff or Administration)
Industry (pharmaceutical)
Infectious Disease
Intensive Care
Long Term Care
Managed Care (Insurance Companies)
Nuclear Pharmacy
Nutrition Support
Operating Room
Pediatric Oncology
Pharmacy Benefit Management
Poison Control
Primary Care
Psychiatric Pharmacy
Senior Care
Public Health Services Commissioned Corps
Veterans Affairs
Organ Transplantation​

Step 2.
Finish the prereqs for pharmacy school. If you bust your ass, you can do this within 2 years. You don't need a bachelors unless you're applying to a school in California. You can always get a bachelors if you want... it will certainly make your application more competitive.

The most common prereqs are the following:
Various AA courses such as English composition I/II, Humanities I/II, Sociology or Pyschology, Macro or Microeconomics and Speech.

General Chemistry I/II
General Biology I/II
Physics I/II
Organic Chemistry I/II
Calculus I

The prereqs vary from school to school and can be found here:
(the pdf is ~14mb)
More information on pharmacy school admission stats can be found at:

There's only a few schools that have stricter prereqs and may require biochemistry, microbiology, inorganic chemistry or genetics.

So you could finish all of your prereqs and apply to pharmacy school as young as 19-20 years old. :bowdown: to starting doctorate studies at 20 years old.

Step 3. Take the PCAT exam. Register at

The PCAT tests you on 5 sections plus an essay.
Chemistry: Material from General Chemistry I/II and Organic Chemistry I.
Biology: Material from General Bio I/II and some physiology and anatomy.
Quantitative: Algebra, Geometry and some Calculus.
Verbal: Tests vocabulary
Reading Comprehension: Read short story passages and interpret them correctly.
Essay: There's now an essay that usually has nothing to do with pharmacy. it's more creative writing than anything. It's basically just to show that you can write full sentences and can actually spell correctly. Most OT'ers may fail this. :fawk: Past essays were "Describe the possibilities of life on other planets" ... "Describe methods to overcome voter apathy" ... and then some other one about racial discrimination.​

Competitive scores start at a composite score of about 70%. That means you did better than 70% of everyone that took the PCAT. Ideally, you want to be in the 80's or above.

Step 4.
Fill out and submit your application (PharmCAS).

Start your PharmCAS application around August, a year before you want to start pharmacy school. Deadlines range from November through March depending on the school. PharmCAS is a centralized application system where you fill out one application and it can get sent out to over 50 schools. There are a lot of schools out there that don't use PharmCAS and require separate applications. You can check to see which schools accept PharmCAS applications here:

Portions of the application include:
Recommendation Letters (Usually about 3 letters needed, all submitted by professors, managers or pharmacists online)
Personal Statement
Work experience
Listed coursework and grades

To be even considered by most schools, you'll need a 3.0 GPA(prereqs only) and at least a 60-70% PCAT. If you don't have a 3.0 GPA, retake any classes you got a C in and ace them. Pharmcas will average the grade to a B.
Make your application as competitive as possible. At UF for example, they received 2000 applications for only 250 seats. In 2000, the total applications to all pharmacy schools nationwide were about 40,000. In 2006, there were over 85,000 applications sent out nationwide. The longer you wait to apply, the more competition you're going up against.

Suggestions on how to make your application competitive:

  • Work as a pharmacy tech and get a recommendation letter from a pharmacist.
  • Pharmacy work experience isn't required! If you can't or don't want to work in a pharmacy, shadow as many pharmacists as you can in different settings (hospital and retail) and get to know what the job is like...this only involves sitting there watching and asking questions for about an hour.
  • If you can't shadow a pharmacist, just talk to as many as you can. Mention your knowledge of the field in your personal statement. ie: The pros and cons of the career.
  • Your personal statement should convey your confidence in choosing pharmacy and that you know what you're getting yourself into. It's all really intimidating at first, but once you start... all of your thoughts and reasons end up flowing on paper.
  • Join your university's pre-professional society or pre-pharmacy society. Have some extracurriculars and honor societies on your application. DO SOMETHING that shows you have life outside of school.
  • Try to work in a professional environment. Whether it's a hospital, retail pharmacy, or comfy office job... show that you have a professional work ethic.
  • Apply to as many schools as possible. You want to get as many interview offers as possible. Get a suit, get a plane ticket and rental car.. try to be as calm as possible and ask at least 3 questions to the interviewer at the end of the interview. To prepare for interviews you can go to and read the questions that students got grilled with at interviews from every school in the nation. It's basically a huge cheat sheet for interviews. :eek3:
  • Browse the Student Doctor Network for details on 'everything'. One of the challenges of applying is finding out what to expect.. here's where everything is at.

Cliffs: Takes a minimum of 6 years to get a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. 2 years undergrad + 4 years pharmacy school. Crap loads of career fields other than CVS and Walgreens. Work your ass off in undergrad. Apply to pharmacy school through PharmCAS. Get accepted. Make $120k+ a year by the time of your graduation.
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Nov 23, 2001
Orlando, Florida
I've been having requests to repost this again. Hopefully this time it'll get archived. :x: Plus, it's getting near that time to get your materials together and start applications. Applying early to some schools is GREATLY beneficial because they have rolling admissions (they admit people early so there's less competition for you which = easier admission).

Also... studying for the PCAT isn't that difficult. My strongest suggestion is take the Collins online prep course. It's so good that it's almost suspiciously too good. A lot of the questions are almost verbatim on the exam. Screw the Kaplan overpriced BS. Another suggestion is just buy CliffNotes Quick Review books. They're short, to the point and you can buy ones for Biology, Chemistry, Organic Chem, Calculus, etc... They cover all the info you need to know for the PCAT.


Compare pharmacy schools by their NAPLEX passing rates:
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fuck those nerds...screwing up all the curves and shit. It's like they like the torture. :ugh:


Nov 23, 2001
Orlando, Florida
How would I know this? I like math; I'm good at math.:dunno:

Being good at math will be very helpful... especially in pharmacokinetics and dosage calculations. But it's more important to be good at chemistry and biology. Personally, I absolutely SUCK at math, but I'm doing badass so far.


New Member
Feb 3, 2007
friend's doing this and now she's on the way to making 100k in a couple years while i'll be stuck in grad school


OT Supporter
Jan 8, 2004
I want to major in biochem :o will this give me an edge over bio or chem majors?
not rly

i would rather take bio (like im doing) and get a high gpa, relatively good pcat, and observing/shadowing experience rather than trying to do a hard major.


Nov 23, 2001
Orlando, Florida
Wait till you get addicted to meds and become a complete drug-fiend.

:rofl: I'm interning in a pharmacy right now and they showed us actual vids of employees stealing drugs. Even showed a few 'stealthily' taking swigs of hydrocodone cough syrup and slyly putting it back on the shelf.

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