Choosing A Pharmacy School: Things to Look For

student choosing pharmacy school


If you are planning to pursue pharmacy as a career, you must be exploring various career options you have available once you complete your pharmacy school. It is good to decide in advance what you want to be after pharmacy school. But, before thinking about different career options out there, you need to make a decision regarding the pharmacy school you want to enroll in.

As there are so many schools out there for pharmacy studies, it can be a bit confusing to decide about which one is best for you. In this post, we will discuss everything you need to look for while choosing a pharmacy school.

What to Look for When Choosing A Pharmacy School?

At present, the number of pharmacy schools is slightly increased than before. Among so many pharmacy schools out there, it became really difficult for students to decide which school is best for them. Here are certain things you should look for when choosing a pharmacy school:

1. Consider your goals

The important thing that most of the students miss out is they don’t know what their goals for doing pharmacy school are. So, before choosing a pharmacy school, you need to be clear about your goals. You need to know where you want to be at the end of your college. Your goal will be based on your interests and skillset. It depends on you whether you are interested in working in a clinic or a hospital.

2. How much you can pay?

Pharmacy schools are really expensive. Students take huge loans to get into pharmacy school. Now, the question is, how much do you want to pay for pharmacy school studies? You need to choose the pharmacy school that matches your budget.

3. Research the faculty

The important factor you should never miss out is properly researching the faculty of your selected pharmacy school. The huge growth of the pharmacy field created an increase in the need for faculty members. You will find that many pharmacy schools have started hiring their own students to fulfill the shortage. It results in a lack of experience in the school. Hence, you need to research the faculty members.

4. Campus environment

Another crucial thing you need to consider is the pharmacy school’s campus environment. Here you need to consider factors such as class sizes, what student organizations are there on each campus, are students competitive, and so on. Considering such factors will give you an idea about the campus environment of the pharmacy school.

5. Do you want a post-graduate degree?

The pharmacy school selection will also vary depending upon whether you want any post-graduate degree or not. You may be interested in doing health economics, pharmacy law, internal medicine, or any other. If you are interested, many pharmacy schools offer dual degree programs where you can get your PharmD plus Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree or Doctorate of Jurisprudence (JD) degree.

6. Location

You will find great pharmacy schools across the US. You may have found the right pharmacy school, but it may be possible that the school is far away from your hometown. Doing proper research may help you to find the right pharmacy school near your hometown.

Does It Matter What Pharmacy School Should I Go To?

As we can see, there are so many things you need to consider before enrolling in a particular pharmacy school. Some students may not always be able to go to their dream pharmacy school. If you are one of those pharmacy students who weren’t able to go to the right pharmacy school due to some reasons, then this is for you.

The answer is nobody cares where you have done your pharmacy school. The main things that matter are what you have learned and what connections you have built. Basically, the pharmacy school you are currently enrolled in is not the major factor if we talk about opportunities, residencies, etc. in the field. The important thing in the four-year pharmacy school curriculum is the network you have built. Networking is one of the crucial things you need to build in your pharmacy school. You may not know a single network may bring huge opportunities your way.

When you leave your school after the completion of the program, the best thing you will have with you is the network you have built. Building a strong network will make sure that you will never run out of opportunities. The alumni network is something that helps you when you leave school and start looking for different opportunities in the market. Hence, while choosing the pharmacy school, you need to select the one that you are passionate about attending.

Which Pharmacy School Should I Go To?

With the increase in the number of pharmacy schools, it became a bit difficult to decide which pharmacy school you should go to. To select the right school, we have explained some factors you should look for before choosing a pharmacy school. Here are the best pharmacy schools in the United States:

1. USC (University of Southern California) School of Pharmacy 

The USC School of Pharmacy established as the nation’s first PharmD program in 1950. The college provides different dual degree program like PharmD/MBA, PharmD/JD, PharmD/Ph.D., PharmD/MPH, PharmD/MS Gerontology, and many others. It is the top-ranking school in the United States. To earn the Doctor of Pharmacy degree from USC School of Pharmacy, you need to complete the four-year pharmacy course along with a minimum of 1740 hours of clinical experience.

2. The University of Wisconsin – Madison

Another top-ranking pharmacy school in our list is The University of Wisconsin. The university is located in Madison, Wisconsin. The Doctor of Pharmacy degree length is 4 years. It is the oldest public university located in Wisconsin. When you get into the University of Wisconsin’s pharmacy program, you get guidance from expert faculties in the field of pharmaceutical education.

3. South Dakota State University

South Dakota State University is located in Brookings, South Dakota. If we talk about the program length, this university has a program length of 6 years (2 years for pre-pharmacy & 4 years professional). With SDSU’s pharmacy program, you get world-class teaching, simulations, experiential learning, and extensive laboratory.

4. University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky offers 4 years of Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program. The university is located in Lexington, Kentucky. It is another popular pharmacy college in the United States. At the UK College of Pharmacy, you will be educated with a curriculum to make you ready for the pharmaceutical world.

How Are Pharmacy Schools Ranked?

Selecting the right pharmacy school has become a bit difficult nowadays due to an increase in the number of pharmacy schools. To choose the best pharmacy school for getting admission for the PharmD program, you consider the rankings of all the top pharmacy schools. Now, the main question is, “How are pharmacy schools ranked?” Before answering this question, we would like to answer, “Do pharmacy school rankings matter?”

The simple answer is NO. It doesn’t matter from where you have completed your Doctor of Pharmacy degree because your success isn’t determined by the school where you have completed a four-year pharmacy program. You should focus more on your knowledge, experience, competence, and soft skills instead of pharmacy school rankings.

You may go to top-ranked pharmacy school, spend huge amounts on fees, but what if your skillset and knowledge is zero? The main reason why we ask students not to focus on school rankings is that there’s no such absolute best school. The one which is the best school for you will probably be a poor school for someone else.

Now, let’s come down to the main question, “How are pharmacy schools ranked?” Basically, pharmacy schools are ranked depending upon who is compiling the list. The most popular pharmacy schools list has been compiled by the U.S. News agency. The rankings are based on extremely subjective rankings from people who work at the institution.

The system for ranking the pharmacy schools is totally biased. It is taken based on the survey responses from the school’s faculty. Survey takers are also asked to rate the school’s academic quality in specific areas. At last, the ratings are being averaged, and different pharmacy schools rank depending on this method.

Rather than focusing on how are different pharmacy schools are ranked and choosing top ones, you should consider different factors before enrolling in a particular school’s pharmacy program. You should consider factors like your goals, campus environment of the school, budget, etc. In short, your pharmacy success is mainly based on your skills, your experience, your knowledge, and the networks you have built.

Most Affordable Pharmacy Schools in the US

Before you enroll in any pharmacy school, the important thing you consider is the cost of the pharmacy program. If your budget does not allow you to complete the pharmacy school from top-ranking universities, here are some most affordable pharmacy schools in the US:

1. Purdue University

Purdue University is located in West Lafayette, Indiana. If you are finding the most affordable, cheapest, and best pharmacy university, then this is the university’s pharmacy program is ideal for you. If we talk about the annual tuition for enrolling in the Doctor of Pharmacy program at Purdue University, it is $9208. And, the annual tuition fees for the out-of-state residents are $27,468. The best thing about this university is it has one of the lowest students to teacher ration i.e., 8 to 1.

2. Butler University

Another best and one of the cheapest universities for the college of pharmacy and health services is Butler University. The university is located in Indianapolis-Indiana, and this is the college that ranked among the country’s top 50 pharmacy colleges. No matter whether you are an in-state or out-of-state resident, you will need to pay only $17,500 a year for the Doctor of Pharmacy degree. The school is also popular for its students to teacher ratio i.e., 9 to 1.

3. Florida A&M University

Florida A&M University is another most affordable university for pharmacy. Its tuition fee for in-state residents is $19,544 per year. On the other hand, the fee for out-of-state residents is $31,486 per year. After the completion of PharmD from this university, you would be capable of getting a good job nationally, & internationally. This is what makes it the most popular pharmacy college in the country and around the world.

4. South Dakota University

The South Dakota University’s College of Pharmacy is located in Brookings, South Dakota. If we talk about the tuition fees of the university, it is pretty affordable. The fees are $17,065 for in-state residents and $23,382 for out-of-state residents. The university is focused on providing a conducive environment so that students can get high-quality learning.

5. Auburn University

Auburn University’s Harrison School of Pharmacy was founded in the year 1856, which makes it the country’s one of the oldest pharmacy schools. The tuition fees for the Doctor of Pharmacy program at Auburn University are $25,650 for both in-state residents and out-of-state residents. The students who have completed their studies from this university, they have very high chances of chasing lucrative jobs.

6. Appalachian College of Pharmacy

The Appalachian College of Pharmacy’s university is located in Oakwood, Virginia. The university is fully accredited by the ACPE (Accredited Council for Pharmacy Education). If we talk about fees for both in-state residents and out-of-state residents, it is $27,000 per year. The main motive of the institution is to bring students into a conducive environment for pharmacy practices.

Can You Do Pharmacy School Online?

If you can’t do a pharmacy program full-time, you do have the option to complete it online. Technology has changed everything. With the advancement of technology, we can find changes in so many sectors like business, banking, education, etc. The technology made it possible for students to complete the degree without going to school. If you want to do a pharmacy degree, but it is not possible to enroll due to the job or any other reasons, then online education can be a good way to complete pharmacy school.

Doing the pharmacy program online allows allocating your time in different activities apart from study. In the United States, there are some famous universities that can help you to complete the pharmacy program online. With an online pharmacy program, you do not have to worry about traveling to the school daily, as you would be able to attend live lectures provided by your selected school.

However, attending the live lectures won’t be enough; you will also need to focus on assignments and projects you receive. The main difference you will find in an online pharmacy school is lab visits. The students on campus conduct lab sessions weekly, while distance students visit the campus for two weeks during the summer.

Top Online Schools for PharmD Program

If you are interested in doing the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program online, you need to go with top online schools. Here are the best schools for doing Doctor of Pharmacy online:

1. Creighton University

Creighton University’s PharmD program is a popular online program, and it is considered as the best online PharmD program. The university allows students to focus on the directions that interest the students. The university is accredited to the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The campus location of Creighton University is at Omaha, NE.

2. University of Colorado Denver

Another online education pharmacy school in our list is the University of Colorado Denver. The university is accredited to the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and Accreditation Council of Pharmacy Education. The campus location of the university is in Aurora, CO. The online program by the University of Colorado Denver is designed to improve clinical care and the medical therapy management skills of students.

3. Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

It is another top pharmacy college for online education. The pharmacy program by Lake Eire College of Osteopathic Medicine provides great opportunities for students to enter the field of pharmacy. The campus location of Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine is at Erie, PA. The university is accredited to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right pharmacy school can be a bit confusing when you have no one to guide. As a newbie, you may have so many doubts regarding pharmacy schools regarding getting the admission into a pharmacy college. To help you choose the right pharmacy school, here we have discussed everything you need to know about it.

There are so many factors you need to keep in mind while getting admission, like the cost of education, location of the college, your goals, the reputation of the college, campus environment, etc. In this post, we have discussed what to look for when choosing a pharmacy school, does it matter what pharmacy school you go to, can you do pharmacy school online, and top online schools for PharmD.


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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