Do You Need To Be Good At Math To Be A Pharmacist? (Math Problems)

A lot of people think that a pharmacists day consists of just counting pills, but in reality there is so much more including advising patients treatments, recommended medications, symptoms, and other medical advice that can be given among other things.

Depending on what kind of pharmacist they are they can give patients a wide array of shots and vaccines along with compounding. With this wide variety of tasks pharmacists do go through a lot of the same courses and training as other medical students in their curriculum. Some of these include physics, mathematics, biology, and chemistry among others.

So do you need to be good at math to be a pharmacist?

Becoming a pharmacist you do need to build your math skills before even applying for pharmacy school and those skills need to develop early in high school. You will be required to take advanced math course including but not limited to:

  • Calculus
  • Biostatistics
  • Pharmacokinetics

Just because you aren’t good at math before becoming a pharmacist doesn’t mean you shouldn’t even give pharmacy school a try. If becoming a pharmacist is really what you want to do and know you have a passion for it go for it. Don’t let the thought of not being good at math deter you from your dream career.

Now having said that let’s take a look at what kind of math you are going to get into in pharmacy to prepare you for pharmacist life.

What Type Of Math Do Pharmacists Use?

Everything can be learned math does come easier to some people and others have to work at it. You need both math and science as a pharmacist and what you learn will be vital to your success.

Measurements, multiplications, division among other skills will be used for things such as a prescription being called in that needs a 1/4 cup of water along with 45 ml of amoxicillin. The pharmacist needs to be able to measure different dosages and also divide and multiply in certain circumstances like with toddlers.

Calculus – most people just think calculus is a hard math course, but have no idea what it really entails. Most everyone takes algebra in high school and if you were reasonably good at it then chances are you will be reasonably good at calculus.

If you have your doubts you can always take pre-calc to prepare you for calculus class. Calculus is usually required as a prerequisite for pharmacy school and will help you pass your PCAT.

Biostatistics – this is a very tough subject that you need to make simple as possible. It can be very confusing at first but knowing the basics will help you greatly on your NAPLEX.

Biostatistics – is the branch of statistics that deals with data relating to living organisms. By using this skill of biostatistics it helps predict the symptoms of an illness even the time of year of an illness among other things.

Pharmacokinetics – is usually described as what a persons body does to a drug and how it moves throughout it. Learning and obtaining the knowledge of pharmakinetics helps pharmacists with dosage accuracy greatly and doing so in a rapid manor.

Pharmacy Math Problems

Use Of Mathematics In Pharmacy

Pharmaceutical Calculations and Formulas – Math comes into play in all aspects of a pharmacists day including being used for dispensing prescriptions and calculating dosage levels.

Business Math and Statistics – also with being a pharmacist you will need business math skills. Some of the foundational principles you will learn is basic accounting, economics, computer applications, marketing and merchandising. Computer applications is bigger then you would think since most all business use different applications to run their pharmacy networks.

How To Prepare For Pharmacy Math In H.S.

If you take the right steps you can be much better prepared for the math you are going to face in pharmacy school. That preparation should and can start in High School.

In High School you can start with the basic algebra, geometry and trigonometry to fill that foundation of math that will help ease the learning curve in pharmacy school. Algebra comes into play to get your basic arithmetic skills and the ability to adapt abstract thinking. Trigonometry and geometry get you involved with logic and proof. This will open the door for concepts in biology and chemistry that involve process of working inside the human body.

However, you can take it one step further and get started on your college career before you even officially enroll in college. After all why wait when you can get started on those required classes a year or two in advance which means you can start pharmacy school that much easier.

Do Pharmacist Use Calculus?

Yes Pharmacist do use calculus and you will need to pass this class in order to get into pharmacy school and also succeed in your pharmacist career. You do have a few different options to get this done so select the best pathway for yourself to do so.

Calculus – you can take college level calculus in high school if you are ready. There are other numerous benefits to taking a college course like calculus in high school. You get exposure early on to make sure you will make it in college and pass.

Advanced Placement courses do double duty meaning they count for your high school credit and for college. The difference is you have to pay for it but it is usually cheaper then when you are actually in college. Another thing is most high schools have weighted GPA’s meaning AP classes are weighted and can raise your GPA much higher then a normal course.

Related Questions

Do You Need Statistics For Pharmacy?

Yes you need to have taken and passes both statistics and calculus in order to get into pharmacy school. Take these as early as possible. You also look to take statistics as an AP course in high school that also counts as college credit which is a win-win.

Is There A Lot Of Math In Pharmacy?

There a lots of different kinds of math you will deal with in Pharmacy School and in your day to day pharmacist life. In school you will need to take statistics and calculus to even be considered for pharmacy school. The higher the grade the better as well since math and science are looked at the closest.

You will also need to focus on simple pharmacy practice calculations including converting units, concentration percentages, does, BP recipes among others.

What Kind Of Math Do Pharmacy Technicians Use?

Although you don’t need years of medical school to become a pharmacy technician you do need certain math skills or else you will struggle greatly to do the basics of your job. Some of the math functions you will need to learn are percentages, algebra, ratios, and fractions. This will become a necessity for filling prescriptions, performing inventory and measuring out medications.


Now that you have your answer to your question you have a few choices you can make today. If you aren’t good at math that doesn’t mean you can’t ever be. Take the time to get up to speed or ahead depending on where you are when it comes to statistics and calculus.

If you are in high school and struggling with basic math get a tutor that can help you learn. It isn’t always about the ability to learn something it is more about a different way to learn it. That takes getting out of your comfort zone to do that at times like asking for help.

Take any college classes ahead of time if you can. Not only are they cheaper then normal they can be easier because your college classes more then likely will be huge where these classes can be much smaller so you can get more one on one help and training.

Getting your math and science down before applying to pharmacy school you will put you at an advantage that will help you not only help you graduate but will help you exceed. The higher your GPA throughout pharmacy school the more options you will have with your career.


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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