Do You Get Drug Tested For Pharmacy School? The Answer

drug tests pharmacy school

This is an information based website, but if you are into doing illicit or illegal drugs you probably need to look for another profession. Drug abuse has no place in a Pharmacy Career. A lot of the below information will depend on what school you pick to go to so contact them directly or search their website for specific information.

So do you get drug tested for pharmacy school?

The short answer is yes you do get drug tested in pharmacy school. You will get tested multiple times for most all internships, rotations and when you accept an employment offer. So as the saying goes say no to drugs.

Drug Testing In Pharmacy School

The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy does recommend U.S. pharmacy schools perform a drug after your acceptance to a particular school.

Their reasoning behind this is based on a number of different common sense issues of which include but are not limited to the following:

  • Patients First – performing drug tests help increase the safety and well being of patients. This also helps increase the public’s trust in the pharmacy profession.
  • Liability – with being a pharmacist there is a lot of liability on the company as well as for the institution you attend. You need to not only be held to a legal standard but to a higher legal standard then others outside of healthcare professions.
  • Ability – accepted applicants need to be able to stay on the short and narrow road to graduation and eventually becoming a licensed pharmacist this is one of those steps in order to do so.

AACP Drug Screening

AACP also known as the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy is a nationwide organization that represents the rights and interest of pharmacy schools and other educations. There goal is to lead and advance pharmacy education, research, publications, and improve social health.

AACP has started a PharmCAS sponsored drug screening service that is run by Certiphi Screening. The main reasoning behind this is that you as a potential student will not pay additional fees for applying to more then one school. You take one test that all school have access to.

Certiphi is a national company that does background screenings, student screening, fingerprinting/remote services, and occupational health screenings. They have been in business for over 30 years and have over 5,000 clients.

How Long Does Certiphi Drug Test Take?

Certiphi has a very efficient system in place better then the old days where it would take a long time. You schedule an appointment, urine sample is collected, specimen goes to the lab, results delivered electronically to

Takes days compared to weeks most of the time.

Pharmacy School Drug Testing And Prescribed Drugs

On top of the standard urine test for illegal drugs you will also be tested for other prescription drugs. This is a direct statement from PharmCAS:

“Upon testing by the laboratory, if the specimen is found to be positive for one or more of the drugs tested, you will receive a telephone call from Medical Review Officer (MRO) at Certiphi Screening, Inc. The MRO will consult with you and your physician to obtain proof as to why the drug/medication was in your specimen.”

If you are taking prescription meds legally you may just need to provide proof directly from your physician with a note to prove so. There shouldn’t be any big deals just always tell the truth.

Can You Get Into Pharmacy School With A Misdemeanor?

The short answer is yes most of the time you can still get into pharmacy school with a misdemeanor depending on what happened.. You will be doing a background check so any felonies or misdemeanors will show up so you are best off by bringing up any possible issues upfront.

If you lie they can just dismiss you so when they ask the question about felonies or misdemeanors just be truthful.

Straight from AACP:

“Pharmacy schools may ask applicants to disclose any previous felony or misdemeanor convictions as part of the application process. A criminal record will not necessarily prevent you from enrolling in a pharmacy school; however, failure to disclose any past or pending charges may be grounds for dismissal. Many pharmacy schools require criminal background checks and/or drug tests in order to verify and individual’s suitability to participate in experiential education rotations, to confirm a student’s eligibility for pharmacy licensure and to ensure patient safety. Contact your designated pharmacy schools directly for specific policies.”

A great idea would to be to make sure you have your story straight before you apply for pharmacy school. if you can get any written recommendations from teachers, community members, law enforcement, etc. of where this incident happened or to increase your character traits in the admissions eyes.

Failed Drug Test Pharmacy School

Usually with a failed drug test you will be expelled and sent on your way no matter what it is. So yes even marijuana which at the time of this writing is approved in many states but at a federal level it is still against the law which overrides states with almost all employers.

This is where nationally testing of PharmCAS and Certiphi can work against you. Since it is a national database used by thousands of schools.

One option is to find a school that doesn’t use that 3rd party testing. Your only option may be going to a school in another country which has its pros and cons.

The main pro being you can have a clean slate and the tuition may actually even be cheaper. The downside is it will be harder to get a job back in the states as you will have to explain why you went abroad in the first place.

Canada is also a nice alternative if you cannot get in somewhere else in the United States. You will still have to pass the same tests as far as the NAPLEX and boards. Along with needing so many intern hours in the U.S. for most employers.

Related Questions

Do Pharmacists Get Drug Tested?

Pharmacists get drug tests after conditionally accepting a job offer. Depending on the company you can get random drug test done as well.

What Test Do Pharmacists Have To Take?

On top of a drug test you may have to take a PPD/Tuberculosis test. This is mostly for if you are going to be a resident. Similar to what you will take for your rotations.


Again yes you do get tested for pharmacy school and will be tested throughout your career as a pharmacist. You may not be tested after you get the job, but why risk it after putting in 6+ years and more if you become a resident.

As of this writing marijuana is still illegal federally so it makes it against the law in pharmacy school and as a pharmacist even for medicinal purposes.

You can always contact the schools directly that you are looking to apply to to get more information. As the process can still vary from school to school.

On top of the drug tests you will have a background check so make sure if you have any misdemeanors or anything else that would show up to bring this up before the background check. Same goes for prescription drugs.



American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). Drug Screenings.

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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