Am I Too Old To Start Getting Into Pharmacy School? (Real Answers From Future Pharmacists)

older pharmacist

This day in age people are living longer which gives you time to fulfill your dreams, have kids later in life, or switch up your career. When you go to college you are usually young and might not know what you want to do. My husband changed his major four times before eventually finishing up his degree in what he started.

So are you too old to get started on your Pharmacist career?

Simple answer no you are not too old to go to Pharmacy School. If this is something you want to do and dream of you are never too old honestly. Now there are some things you will need to look at like:

  • Financial Aid
  • Student Loan Debt
  • Are you working full time already?
  • Do your current credits transfer?

There are some other things you will need to look further into on top of these things that we go over below. It isn’t an easy decision so read through this and go on too look at the actual Pharmacy schools it doesn’t hurt to see what kind of grants and assistance you can get since that will essentially be the biggest decision the amount of student loans you will have to take on.

Becoming A Pharmacist Later in Life

So you want to be a Pharmacist which is great if you are ready to fully commit there should be nothing that deters you from this dream. However you do need to look at every aspect of what you are getting into. As with all the pros comes the cons. So not to be negative, but let’s take a look at the possible reality of your situation.

Financial Aid – get in touch with schools right after reading this so you can see what kind of options you have at your disposal. Hopefully you can get some grants or at the minimum try to get only federal loans and no private loans. As you will have additional programs you can look into after graduating like Student Loan Forgiveness for public service in a non profit. A lot of people tend to forget that non profits include a lot of hospitals and hospitals do pay well. At the time of this writing one of the programs is if you work for non profit for 10 years the rest of your student loan debt will be forgiven.

Student Loan Debt – how much debt are you already in? If you already have a Bachelors Degree with around 40k+ of debt you really need to look at how much of your credits will transfer first then what the overall cost of your Pharmacist Education will cost. If you can’t transfer any of your credits and you have to take on all loans you are probably looking at owing 150k+ just from pharmacy school plus whatever other loans you have. So yes it can be like taking on a mortgage or second mortgage.

Working Full Time – if you have to work full time it will make it very tough to keep up with school work. There are online schools where you do all your labs in the summer time but that doesn’t make them any easier that just means you have to be that more disciplined with your own time to not only learn everything you would in the classroom but too also get all your work done on top of that. Working part time is doable and a lot of Pharmacist work part time as Interns or Pharmacy Technicians.

Credit Transfers – most classes that you have taken will be able to transfer toward your pre-pharmacy requirements outside of that it is very unlikely credits will transfer. Some may but you need to get ahold of admissions to have them verify and check before hand. It is worth pushing for it as well so you can save not only money for that class but time. It will help speed things up even if you need to go through some online learning as a refresher for that course.

Becoming A Pharmacist At 30+

Becoming a Pharmacist after the age of 30 is very doable I have even heard of people in their 60’s from friends attending classes. If it is what you want to do don’t let anything hold you back. You can do anything you set your mind to as long as your why is big enough.

So at 30 with no college education that would put you at being a Pharmacist in just over 6 years depending on when you are reading this since there are certain application guidelines. So safe estimate would be 7 years you can speed up that process by taking on more courses for your pre pharm and some schools offer summer education and year round education. A safe bet is 7 years if you don’t fail any course that included rotations. So you would be a pharmacy by the age of 37.

The way to look at this as well is that you are investing years of education into a very substantial salary and career that most people wouldn’t make if they work their butts off for 7 years. There is talk of Pharmacist career being on a downtrend and it is true that there are more schools and graduates then ever but there will never be complete shortage of jobs due to the amount of graduates. If you want it more you can find jobs that just aren’t close to home and they usually pay more.

Somebody always has a shortage you just may need to move there.

New Pharmacy Schools (Online)

This has also been a new trend with Pharmacy Online Schools popping up. Some people learn differently and this can be a great approach to get there. It will take you 4 years to complete after you have your prerequisites out of the way.

Here is a list of 6 of those schools you can check out:


Pharmacist Age Limit

There is no Pharmacist age limit. Either you can perform your job or you can’t. If you can take on new technologies and adapt to change you will be just fine. A lot of corporations and hospitals do change their software and upgrade. This can honestly be the best time to jump on board because you will be on pretty much an even playing field for the administration side of things.

As long as you are motivated and driven to be a good Pharmacist you will not need to worry about your age.

Never Too Old To Have A Dream

We think you can never be too old to work toward a dream and if that dream is to be a pharmacist then so be it. But don’t take our word for it we have also gone out and done the research to get answers from fellow Pharmacist on forums so you can get more opinions on this matter then just us. Hope these serve you well.

Some of these answers have been edited for better grammar and writing style. However, the meaning and overall intent remain the same. Most of these answers are curated from the Aussie SubReddit.

Here’s what fellow Pharmacist have said about being too old become one yourself:

Real Pharmacist Answers

 1. Apteryx “Only Too Old If You Are Dead” – You’re only too old if you’re dead. Otherwise, go for it. One dean at a pharm school I talked to said the one of the guys in a recent class of Pharm.D. graduates was 55 years old. I think there’s something to be said for someone who has the determination to go through with a program at a “non-traditional” age, so I’m sure you could find a job. Pharmacy is a lot bigger than retail and hospitals.

2. CrazyBob “PHD to Pharmacy School” –

nope. i’ve heard of a 61 year old woman who went to pharmacy school and graduated at 65. so i wouldn’t say you’re too old. you might be older than most of your class mates, but 35 isn’t too old.

i know one guy in my class who got his PhD in may and started pharmacy school in august. so it’s not too late if you can apply and get accepted.

3. Socalpharm86 – I know a pharmacy manager at one of the highest volume CVS in my area who’s a bit over 40. He graduated about 3 years ago.

4. FFpickle “Go For It” –

I know someone with a BS in chem who is much older than you and has been working in industry for many yrs.

Age discrimination is a reality in industry.

But methinks that as long as you have a PharmD and license to practice, you’ll find a job (and if you don’t, it’s likely not because of your age).

If that is all that is holding you back, then there is nothing to fear…go for it.

I would think that a 35 yo may want to think about tuition costs, opportunity cost, family reasons, lifestyle changes, etc. But you really should not be hesitant because of not finding a job due to your age.

5. Mickc “Never Too Old” –

You are NEVER too old to go back to school. As long as you have the heart for it, you can do it. Good luck. Pharmacy is a growing industry. I doubt there will be a lack of job offerings for anyone who looks hard enough.

As for me, I am a non-traditional applicant. Currently I work as an RN and I am a full-time student. I’m married with a baby boy on the way, so everything is changing quickly. My primary concern is my gpa (~2.953). I hope the ad coms can look beyond that and give me a shot! Either way, I won’t quit until I get in, and neither should you.

6. AntiviralRule “Personal Experience” –

Hey Scooby, I am 38 years old, had a similar undergrad GPA, and will be attending pharmacy school next year (assuming I can get in! I will be doing three interviews this month :xf:). You are certainly not too old.

The biggest obstacles I faced when deciding to change careers were (1) money (I had to work full-time while completing my prereqs), (2) re-adjusting to life in school, but that didn’t take too long and (3) You will also have to make personal sacrifices (i.e., not having much of a social life — but that’s true of any serious pre-pharm student who’s working and going to school full-time, regardless of age.

Bottom line is, if you’re sure you want to become a pharmacist, go for it. Get involved, study hard, and research the profession. Good :luck:!

7. Forrest Gump – “Absolutely Not” – Absolutely not! My parents always taught me it is never too late to go after your dreams. For example, my mom didn’t find her dream job until she was 40 and she is now 46 and is loving every minute of it! As far as finding a position once you graduate, just be prepared to move to where the need is great and you’ll be fine. Go for it!

8. Wes011 “30 Themselves” – I completely agree. I am 30 and if I get accepted I’ll be 31 years old starting a PharmD program. I’ll graduate when I am 34 from the 3-year program.

9. PonderingChoice “Not Too Old” –

I wouldn’t say you’re too old but, as I’ve said elsewhere, I’m 24 with my B.S. in microbiology, and I’d be breaking even or losing money by going to pharmacy school at say, ~32 years of age. It might be even more of an issue with yourself, given your work experience in the field, i.e. the salary jump isn’t nearly as big.

As ever, this isn’t meant to discourage people who think they will be significantly happier by being a pharmacist, but is your career that bad, and pharmacy so awesome? Also, some people mention working full time and attending pharmacy school: that’s four pretty rough years, right there. Is it worth it, for a decrease in your life-time earnings?

Maybe it is, it depends on your motivation. Are you doing this because you love pharmacy, or are you doing it for the money and/or just to get a higher degree? (Since another one of my pet peeves is “inefficient” college degrees. Not that an educated populace is a bad thing, mind you.)

10. Cangri One “Knows a 56 year old going through the process” – lol not too old at all….i know a guy whose 56 and just started taking his pre-req classes for pharm school.

11. Diastole “Just Turned 40” –

just turned 40 and I’m a P1. I’m not even the oldest in my class. I thought it might be hard to make friends because I am older than most of my classmates but that wasn’t a problem. Most of the people at my school come from out of state so they were looking for friends too. I did have to uproot my family to come here and we moved from a house to a cheap apartment. Moving backwards financially at my age is definitely not a fun thing to do but we are getting used to it. Balancing school and family life is a bit tricky. I don’t get to spend as much time as I’d like with my family but I’d probably feel the same way if I worked full time. So far I’m pretty happy with my choice and my husband and daughter are really proud of me.

If you want to do this, go for it. Unless your school really does prefer the youngsters, there will be older students in school with you. Don’t let your age hold you back.

Final Thoughts

So a lot to take in from other peoples opinions as well. An option may be to also go talk to a financial adviser see their thoughts if this is a smart option. Don’t let anyone talk you out of it per say just make sure you are making the best choice for what you want to do and end up where you want to end up in your life.

You don’t want to go broke and throw away your retirement just to be a pharmacist. If medicine is where you want to work there are other ways to get into it like becoming a Pharmacy Technician or volunteering your time at a nursing home. Other jobs in the hospital.

Overall age is not really a factor when it comes to becoming a factor there are just a lot of variables as too how long it will take and how much it will cost to get their. Write everything down as far as a pros and cons keep a list. Do more research talk to some schools explore your options.

Next Steps: 

  • Get your transcripts together (request from school)
  • Talk to at least two pharmacy schools maybe one physical one you can attend and a distance learning one (online).
  • Gather up financial docs and look at your debt to income ration currently. Can you afford to work part time?
  • Talk to a financial adviser and also family and friends. Let them know about your passion to become a Pharmacist.
  • After this you should know what you need to do. If not get one some of the forums and interact with current and future pharmacist to help with your decision.



Danielle Winner

Hello my name is Danielle Winner. Welcome to my site on Pharmacy School and tips and tricks to hopefully help you get in. It's not easy but hopefully you can learn to not make mistakes that students (myself included) make. Good luck on your journey. I graduated from Albany School of Pharmacy in May 2010 and have had a few different jobs across the east coast of the U.S.

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