If you are planning to pursue a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, one of the essential things you would be concerned about is the cost. Becoming a pharmacist has its own set of pros and cons. The pharmacy field can bring different opportunities for you. After completing the pharmacy education and passing the licensure examination, you can chase a well-paying job, but the problem is pharmacy education’s huge cost.
So, how much do pharmacy school costs?
Pharmacy school costs on average $65,000 to $200,000. There are ways to get your PharmD cheaper which include scholarships, grants, company repayments, and non-profit organizations. Even at 200k total costs the ROI of a Pharmacist is still well worth the investment.
Although it will take so much money to get a pharmacy education, the good thing is vast career opportunities after becoming a pharmacist. Depending on your skills and interests, you can become a retail pharmacist, hospital pharmacist, ambulatory care pharmacist, academic pharmacist, etc. We will also look at cheaper schools and ways to save on tuition below.
Is pharmacy school worth the cost?
When it comes to becoming a pharmacist, finance becomes the primary concern for applicants. If you are one of those students who want to become a pharmacist but don’t have enough money for education, it is good to know whether taking debt would worth it.
If we compare pharmacy education cost with the earnings of average pharmacists, yes, pharmacy school worth the price. If you don’t have money to complete your pharmacy education, you can take a loan.
The thing is, after completing the pharmacy school and getting the job, you will be spending a huge amount of money on paying off your loans.
What is the cheapest pharmacy school?
Anyway, if you are eager to pursue pharmacy as a career, but don’t have enough money to bear the cost, it can be a good idea to look for cheap pharmacy schools. By getting into the cheapest pharmacy school, you will not have to worry about taking education loans.
There are some pharmacy schools where you can complete your education at a low cost. Here are some least expensive pharmacy schools:
1. Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
- Annual in-state tuition: $5,161
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $18,693
- Mandatory fees: $30
2. Skaggs School of Pharmacy, University of Montana
- Annual in-state tuition: $5,182
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $23,062
- Mandatory fees: $6,501
3. Texas A&M University Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy
- Annual in-state tuition: $7,632
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $47,592
- Mandatory fees: $5,798
4. University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy
- Annual in-state tuition: $11,998
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $34,066
- Mandatory fees: $2,882
5. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Pharmacy
- Annual in-state tuition: $13,455
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $24,765
- Mandatory fees: $2,484
6. University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy
- Annual in-state tuition: $15,198
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $32,164
- Mandatory fees: $759
7. The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy
- Annual in-state tuition: $16,794
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $43,412
- Mandatory fees: $0
8. Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Rutgers University
- Annual in-state tuition: $13,741
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $33,117
- Mandatory fees: $3,383
9. Texas Southern University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
- Annual in-state tuition: $15,467
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $26,619
- Mandatory fees: $1,736
10. University of Toledo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
- Annual in-state tuition: $8,052
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $17,390
- Mandatory fees: $9,312
How can I go to pharmacy school for free?
With so many career opportunities after pharmacy education, more and more students want to pursue this career option. The major problem for almost all students is cost. As we have seen, pharmacy schools are very costly. The cost of attending a pharmacy school could range from $3,000 to $82,000 per year.
In this situation, is there any way you can go to pharmacy school for free? You may or may not be able to complete the pharmacy school for free. You can apply for available help to cover the expenses of your pharmacy school and other costs. Some options are available, and you need to combine them with other options to get free pharmacy education.
You can apply for financial aid, apply for a pharmacy scholarship, find an internship, and get a job. By applying for financial aid, the maximum amount a graduate is awarded per year is $25,500. You can take pharmacy scholarships such as the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Student Scholarships and the Rite Aid Competitive Pharmacy Scholarships.
Doing internships can also help you make some money. Various organizations like Rite Aid and the American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists offer internship programs to pharmacy students. It will not just help you make extra money, but also gain experience and broaden your knowledge. Or, you can even find and do a job. Companies like CVS Health and Walgreens Pharmacy reimburse students’ pharmacy education through the tuition reimbursement program.
Cost of pharmacy school vs medical school
No matter whether it’s pharmacy or medical school, the cost of both will slightly differ depending on the individual school and the location. It may vary depending on whether it’s a private or public school, school popularity, in-state or out-of-state, etc. If we compare the education cost of both schools, pharmacy schools cost more than the medical schools.
The average cost involved in completing the pharmacy school program can range from $65,000 to up to $200,000. Talking about medical school, the average cost involved in completing the medical school is $34,592 for in-state students and $58,668 for out-of-state students.
Is Pharmacy School Worth It: Opinions Of Real Pharmacists
So we didn’t want you guys to take our word for it on getting a PharmD it is a big decision. So we have gone out to forums to get the opinions of others and lets just say that some do differ from ours and that is not a bad thing. So continue doing your research before going forward with your final decision.
We curated this information so only spelling and grammar has been corrected where needed.
1. Type B PharmD “Yes worth it” –
I think so. I’m about to graduate and have had the time of my life in pharmacy school, and the job market has been good to me as well. I think if you really see yourself as a pharmacist and really enjoy working in a pharmacy, go for it.
I am about to start my dream job for my dream employer, making more money than I dreamed possible in college. I do have ~320k of loan debt, but looking back, I would do It all over again in a heartbeat.
If you go for it, do so with open eyes. Get an angle on a job before P1 and stick carefully to your desired career track/goals. Have backup plans, work hard. It isn’t all gravy, as you can see on these forums. Jobs are hard to get and you won’t likely be able to begin your career in a city.
Long story short: pharmacy is still viable as an amazing career, but definitely think twice about whether it is a good fit for you. The days of headhunters and sign on bonuses are over.
2. BeLikeBueller “Probably Not” – As a student soon to come face-to-face with the current job market, my answer would be “probably not.”
If you try to be a good student, you will work your butt off in pharmacy school, thinking you’re going to get out and change the world. Then, when you start getting close to graduation, you begin to realize that rather than hoping to change the world, you’re just hoping to land a job so that you can pay your loans off. The example I give everyone… In a major hospital near my school, one staff pharmacy position had (I think) 150 + applications. So imagine competing for a job in a market where there are 150 applicants for one position. Now of course it isn’t this bad everywhere, but from what I’ve heard, if you’re looking at any major market, getting a job is a long shot. But I’m still a student, so I will ultimately defer to the practicing pharmacists on the job market.
If you are really truly interested in health care, go nursing, PA, or MD. Nursing and PA will likely be able to write their tickets with the coming changes in healthcare though, so keep that in mind.
You have to keep in mind that almost all jobs have crappy prospects right now, it’s just that with pharmacy, you’re tacking on a lot of additional loans. So as someone above said, it’s definitely a risk vs. benefit thing…
3. NervousHabits “Yes worth it” – I owe $260k.
It was worth it to me because it’s what I’ve always wanted to do and with my specialty, I’d end up in a nonprofit sector (IE: loan forgiveness). If you’re not in love with the idea of being a pharmacist and could see yourself in another profession, don’t do pharmacy. If you absolutely want to be a pharmacist regardless, then absolutely – do it.
4. Sakigt “Can be worth it” –
I did what you did. It was totally worth it, but!
1. I borrowed $2k total for undergrad
2. I did my prereqs for free with tuition reimburesement at CC
3. I went to a cheap Pharmacy school, still ended up with $142k in debt (6.8% while in school sucks!)
4. I did all this starting 7 years ago
5. I got lucky/made connections and got my current job without a residency
You have to wait anyway to do prereqs so if you REALLY want to do this you:
Finish up prereqs at a local CC, work like CRAZY at a CVS and Uber and save as much as you can (since your previious debt isnt at 6.8%?) to borrow less.
Youre still going to be screwed afterwards but if youre willing to hustle for 5 years while in school then 10 years afterwards youll be a Pharmacist in 15 years without student loan debt. Is that what you want
But be warned!
The job market is crap. I did two years of residency and I got REAL LUCKY to find a spot. I know in all 3 cities that I’ve lived in, the availability of ANY pharmacist position is very slim – including CVS, Walgreens, and other chains. It’s getting tougher and tougher every year. Good luck finding a job in NY – all of my students have struggled to find jobs here and most weren’t able to find anything until right before or after graduation. The smartest move would be to move out of state after graduation.
5. PrincePharmD “Yes if you have a plan” – I think the more intelligent question is, are YOU worth 220k of debt. Whether it is pharmacy, medicine, business, or the arts, what you do needs to be something you plan to be successful at. Most people are scared of debt because they are not good at planning how to take care of it. I have seen people who make 80k/year complain about their 20k in student loans. Do some soul searching to decide if you really want to do pharmacy, apply yourself in school, and things will work themselves out in the end.
6. Lord999 “Yes if you have a good reason to become a Pharmacist” – This malaise/ fear is not just pharmacy though, this is every health profession (even physicians) who is having a gut check right now about their continued existence. Right now, I’m reading a proposed service line merger in VA Central Office between Radiology and Pathology (it’s really weird, but there’s quite a bit of politics that the Clinical Pathologists and Radiologists more or less should be combined into a Diagnostic Services department. While I think AP is always going to be the same sorts of work, CP and Radiology can be thought of as a continuum. And remember, even if you work for the private industry, if you use insurance of any sort, the government is more or less financing it directly or through tax treatment. The payment structures are still based off CMS rules, even if the insurance companies are not CMS. Whether there is going to be a continued willingness to pay even through these indirect mechanisms, probably not.
No other system in the world, even the Japanese, pays their clinicians in the same relative scales that we do. Relative to the general worker salary, an IM primary care physician is paid 3X-5X than that in the US, while at most in almost every other country, this is at most 3X. Pharmacists making 3X-4X the general worker’s salary is a new thing, the salary disparity was never that high throughout history until now.
And that’s presupposing you’ll work a full career in the business. The 10 year and 20 year drop out rates for medical professions are extremely high and disproportionate to the general US working population (and the nurse marriage impact now is always adjusted out). There are very few pharmacists that I know in the civil service who have worked a complete career as a pharmacist and the K-M statistics bear it out. The current OPM statistics have standard retirement rates at less that 15% for those with career tenure in civil service and less than 8% for more than 20 years of service as an 0660 pharmacist, although that percentage is supposedly going to be higher in a decade due to no one leaving over job-lock issues). What I am worried about is that more pharmacists will be involuntarily separated when they are 50. Ageism happens too in the hospital, it’s just a lot harder than to fire someone in retail for nonperformance.
If you want to work as a pharmacist, I still would recommend it with the qualifications that earning a living means that you have to work at it, it isn’t going to be given to you like it was to me. But whether it turns out to be a good deal or not really depends on what timespan you want to devote to being employed as a pharmacist as while I think members on this board may quibble about how difficult it is to work retail or hospital (I really don’t find it difficult to be a 30 year retail worker if you really appreciate the work environment and the pay), we do work for a living.
But yes, knowing what I do now, I would take the $220k hit and repeat the experience with 15 years less time to practice if I applied as of today for next year’s class. However, I have some niche interests that are quite marketable. If I were not in informatics and management, I would happily return to FTE practice as an BCNP mixing radiopharmaceuticals. My main regret with my current job is that I don’t get enough time in the hood to retain as much of the muscle memory as I wish for efficiency reasons.
If you don’t have a good reason for becoming a pharmacist, then look for something that you do have a good reason as existential reasons have to be understood to avoid burnout.
Out of all the research we did 59% of current or past Pharmacists said yes they would go through it all again to become a Pharmacists. While 41% said they would not and that the job outlook looks terrible. So this is definitely a grim outlook to what it was in the past when I went to school to be a Pharmacists. It is true that the bubble seems to be over and there are more Pharmacy Schools graduating more and more Pharmacy students. I don’t see the jobs disapearing its just their aren’t enough Pharmacist Jobs being created to keep up with the graduating classes. So you have to be willing to graduate at the top of that class and still also possibly move locations to get a better job.
The cost, hard work, and time of completing the pharmacy coursework are high. If you are passionate about learning about medications and want to become a pharmacist, there are various ways you can reduce the cost. As we have seen, you can apply for financial aid, apply for scholarships, do internships, and do a job.