Pharmacist Schooling: Length of Time for Becoming a Pharmacist

How long does it take to become a pharmacist? When people ask this question, they are usually wondering how many years of school and internship is required in order to practice pharmacy. This blog post will answer that question and give you all the details on what you need to do in order to become a licensed pharmacist with an accredited degree from an ACPE-accredited institution.

How Long Does It Take To Earn A PharmD Degree?

The Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree program includes at least two years of specialized undergraduate study and four academic years (or three calendar years) of professional pharmacy training. Most students in a pharmacy program have completed three or more years of college education before beginning their studies.

There are also year-round schools that are distance learning or accelerated programs you can look into that will cut that time down quite a bit. You just have to be careful as you need to be 100% committed to doing the program and sticking with that school until the end since your credits will unlikely transfer anywhere.

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What Are The Accelerated Doctorate of Pharmacy Degree Programs Like?

Institutions that grant a three-year PharmD degree to students who have completed all college-level prerequisites for admittance are listed in Table 1 of the Pharmacy School Admissions Requirements (PSAR). The program length is given as 2-3 years, with an Enrollment Option of Year-Round. Please contact the schools directly for additional information as the programs have changed and adapted over the years.

This will be quite the undertaking so make sure you can put your undivided attention into this 2-3 year span. It will be well worth it, but you may also need to relocate to a new area to attend the best school for this environment.

Accelerated pharmacy schools enable students to complete their education in less time than a four-year PharmD program. These programs have the benefit of allowing students to enter the pharmacist profession early, but they also come with the typical burden of greater course loads and minimal rest periods. The accelerated route is not for everyone, and prospective applicants should thoroughly evaluate their goals and ambitions including commitment level.

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Here Are The Current Schools That Offer Accelerated Programs:

Appalachian College of Pharmacy

Chapman University School of Pharmacy

Duquesne University School of Pharmacy

Ferris State University College of Pharmacy

Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Pharmacy

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences – Manchester

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences – Worcester

Midwestern University College of Pharmacy-Glendale

Pacific University School of Pharmacy

University of the Pacific Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Roseman University of Health Sciences College of Pharmacy

University of Saint Joseph School of Pharmacy

South College School of Pharmacy

South University School of Pharmacy

Sullivan University College of Pharmacy

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Would If I Already Have Credits Can I Finish Even Faster?

Already have a degree in healthcare (or some credits) – Unfortunately most of the time a degree in a healthcare field or similar will not transfer over to a PharmD program. This isn’t 100% and it never hurts to ask the actual school. I have heard of people getting some of their credits transferred of course.

You may be eligible for specific waivers however the 3-4 years of professional training usually happens in chronological order. This will of course come into account with making that decision. If you have student loans for a past degree you will definitely not want those loans to account for nothing. This may also go into account for the specific Pharmacist scope you want to study. Where you may want to lean toward the non-profit sector so your student loans can be forgiven in 15-20 years.

Already a current Pharmacist with my B.S. Degree – Some pharmacy schools and colleges provide nontraditional educational programs that grant a PharmD degree to students who complete them. Other options allow practitioners to take specific academic classes or education programs that are designed to impart a particular set of practice skills to practitioner/students. Because recipients of these certificate programs get certificates of completion, they are also known as “certifications”. The following schools have nontraditional PharmD programs and MIGHT give certificate or certain courses to pharmacists.

  • University Of Nebraska
  • University Of Colorado
  • University Of Arizona
  • Shenandoah University
  • Nova Southeastern University
  • MCPHS – Boston
  • Howard University

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There are many more pharmacy schools out there, but you will want to narrow it down to what fits you best. I would only as a last resort go for being a retail Pharmacist that used to be the way to go because great money and can work for any retail chain. You still have lots of job opportunities out there however we have noticed it is much different when it comes to staffing and workflow making it much more stressful on the Pharmacist.

So looking carefully at the list below and do some research on these niche-based Pharmacist careers. The more niched down you can go the less people working in that position and usually the more demand there will be. Meaning you will hold the cards to making the job and career your own which will come with much more fulfilling enjoyment.

  • Community Pharmacist
  • Hospital Pharmacist
  • Ambulatory Care Pharmacist
  • Informatics Pharmacist
  • Long-Term Care Pharmacist
  • Specialty Drugs Pharmacist
  • Oncology Pharmacist
  • Home Health And Infusion Pharmacist
  • Industry Pharmacist
  • Managed Care Pharmacist
  • Poison Control Pharmacist
  • Compounding Pharmacist
  • Nuclear Pharmacist

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Final Thoughts

We hope this article has provided you with a better understanding of how long it takes to become a pharmacist. The process is lengthy, but the benefits are worth it! We also hope that through these insights into what’s involved in becoming a doctor of pharmacy, you feel more confident about your decision and can make an informed choice for yourself or someone else.

The best time is now to consider a career in pharmacy. Due to the rapid expansion of the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, particularly among the growing elderly population, there is now a greater demand for trained pharmacists. As pharmacists become more actively engaged in drug therapy management for patients of all ages, the number of pharmacists in healthcare settings is expected to increase.

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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