Residency After Pharmacy School

Pharmacy is a broad field. The best thing about pharmacy is you have different career options. The selection of your career option is based on your strengths, weaknesses, and interests. Among various career options after pharmacy school, the popular one is pharmacy residency. Pharmacy residency is a two-year postgraduation pharmacy program. The first year of residency pharmacy includes generalized training, and in the second year of residency, pharmacy consists of a specific area of interest. With pharmacy residency, you get the knowledge and experience that pharmacy practitioners need.

Pharmacy residencies can be taken place in a variety of settings. Some of them are community pharmacies, hospitals, home care, and long-term care facilities, ambulatory care settings, managed care settings, etc. In the PGY 2 (Second Post-graduation year) of the residency, you can choose the specialty as per your interest. It includes – Ambulatory Care, Critical care, Cardiology, Drug information, Geriatric, Informatics, Nuclear, Nutrition Support, Emergency Medicine, Pediatric, Pharmacotherapy, Psychiatric, and many others.

Students often get confused about whether they should pursue a pharmacy residency or not. Let’s have a look at is it worth doing pharmacy residency:

Pharmacy Residency Is It Worth It?

Whether you should do a pharmacy residency or not is solely based on your situation. It is also based on your interests and goals. Pharmacy residency is worth doing for those who want to get into more clinical work in the hospital setting, clinics, or specializing. Pharmacy residency helps you to implement the knowledge and skills you have learned from pharmacy school. The residency program expands your skillset and the experience significantly.

Doing the pharmacy residency not just helps you to improve your skillset and experience, but it also strengthens your resume. The pharmacy residency program is essential because it became challenging for students without residencies to get jobs outside of the community pharmacy. So, if your plan is not to get into community pharmacy, then pharmacy residency is worth doing.

Pharmacy residency is for you or not is also based on whether you are planning to work as a community pharmacist or hospital pharmacist. Here’s the detail about is it worth doing pharmacy residency for community pharmacy and for hospital pharmacy:

Is it worth doing a pharmacy residency for Community Pharmacy?

If you are planning to work as a community pharmacist, then you should not waste your time, money, and energy in doing pharmacy residency. It is not worth doing the residency program for the students who are planning to get into community pharmacy. Doing residency in such a case would be a big waste of time and money.

Community pharmacies (retail chains) do not consider whether you have completed a pharmacy residency or not. To get into community pharmacy, pharmacies require more than 60 hours a week for the entire year. Don’t think that you won’t be able to get a job without completing the residency program. Even if you complete your pharmacy residency program and get into the community pharmacy, you would be doing the same job that you will do in community pharmacy without the residency. However, it doesn’t mean the residency program is of no use. There are so many benefits of doing the pharmacy residency post-graduation program. Let’s take a look at is it worth doing a pharmacy residency for hospital pharmacy?

Is it worth doing a pharmacy residency for Hospital Pharmacy?

If you are planning to do more clinical work in hospital settings, clinics, or specializing, then hospital residency is for you. So, if you want to get into the hospital pharmacy, you must consider doing a pharmacy residency program.

Doing pharmacy residency for hospital pharmacy is important, but it doesn’t mean you would not be able to get a job in hospital settings without the residency. However, it is advisable to complete the residency for hospital pharmacy because there is a very low percentage of graduates who get a job without a residency in the hospital setting or specialized fields.

So, you must invest your time, money, and efforts in doing pharmacy residency in hospital settings or clinics. At present, employers are not even considering the candidates who do not have pharmacy residencies. Hence, it is worth doing a pharmacy residency for hospital pharmacy.

Pharmacy Residency Salary

Not having a pharmacy residency does not mean you will not get a job. Pharmacy residency is not always required, but having a residency degree will help you strengthen the resume. Employers are likely to choose the candidates who have completed the residency program over candidates who haven’t.

The common reason why students get into pharmacy residency is, they can’t afford the expenses of another degree. So, it is a good idea to go with a pharmacy residency when you are already in debt.  The best thing about doing residency is you generate income by learning. The salary for pharmacy residency is different for both the years.

During the first year (PGY 1), pharmacy residents earn around an annual salary of $43,000, and in the second year (PGY 2), pharmacy residents make around an annual salary of $45,000. Apart from this, residents also receive extra benefits such as vacation holidays, dental, medical, life plan insurance, major & minor holidays, sick time, and professional leave. The salary we have stated here is approximate and may vary from one program to another.

The best thing for students doing pharmacy residency is their benefits are not limited to the stipend or salary they receive; they also get additional benefits as we have seen above. Additional benefits also vary from program to program. Some universities offer dental and health insurance to their residents, while some offer vacation time and professional leave to their residents.

Things to Consider Before Pursuing Residency after Pharmacy School

Doing pharmacy residency might seem like a good choice, but there are some factors you need to consider before pursuing residency after the completion of pharmacy school. You might want to do a residency because your friends and peers are doing the same. The first thing you should know is there are around 14000 students graduate with the pharmacy degree, but there are only 4300 positions available for pharmacy residencies.

Sometimes students apply for residency without understanding its benefits and effects on their career. Here are certain things to consider before pursuing residency after pharmacy school:

1. Career goals and expectations

Before you pursue pharmacy residency, the first thing you need to keep in mind is your career goal and expectations from the pharmacy. You need to consider various factors such as different areas of pharmacy, their advantages, limitations, etc. Your plan could be of specializing in a specific area such as pediatrics, oncology, or psychiatry. If you are not sure about your goals after pharmacy school, you can do your research or talk to your teachers.

2. Will residency help you achieve your career goals?

After you have decided what career goals and expectations you have, the next crucial thing is to know about will residency helps you to achieve your career goals? If you do residency without considering this question, it means you are not sure about your career goals. To know what you want to achieve with residency, first, you must be aware of the benefits and limitations of doing pharmacy residency. It is not always essential to do a pharmacy residency to get into clinical stuff. Though it may be a bit harder to get a clinical position without residency, it is possible.

3. Type of Residency

Another crucial thing you need to consider is the best type of residency for you. If you want to get into a specific area of pharmacy, PGY 2 residencies include so many specialties like critical care, cardiology, geriatrics, infectious disease, oncology, and psychiatry. Many residents find a clinical position after completing the PGY 1 residency. You need to be aware of your career goals and the type of residency you want to choose after completing pharmacy school.

Pharmacy Residency Timeline

Pharmacy residency is the program in which students apply the knowledge they have gained from the classroom to the real patients. Pharmacy residency helps students to gain practical skills and improve their knowledge. Below given is the timeline for the application of pharmacy residency. It means you have to follow the given timeline during the fourth year (last year) of your Pharmacy school. Here are the details about the residency application timeline.


In July, you need to start updating your CV and make a list of potential letter of recommendation writers.


During the August month, you need to prepare a list of potential residency sites you are interested in and check out whether the sites have scheduled open houses to learn more about their program.


Register for any conferences to attend at ACCP, ASHP, or any of your local state conferences.


Once you list out some sites your interest most, you need to prioritize those sites and attend open houses.


This is the month you need to follow up with the Letter of Recommendation writers to make sure that they are on the same page to complete the deadline.


This is the month in which you need to finalize the list of residencies you want to apply to, finalize applications and submit the applications before reaching the deadline.


Start preparing for interview questions with practice questions and sessions.


February is the month in which you need to give interviews.


During March, you need to submit the rank order list, and you will receive the results of the first phase.


Once everything becomes finalized, you will need to sign contracts as requested by pharmacy residency programs. Also, you may apply for the licensure exam this month, depending upon your state.


Most of the residencies will start either at the end of June month or during the start of July month.

Why Should I Do Pharmacy Residency?

Whether you should consider pharmacy residency or not depends mainly on your career goals and expectations from the pharmacy. However, doing a pharmacy residency allows you to apply the knowledge you have gained from classes to real patients. During your residency, you gain so much practical knowledge and skills.

What are the Advantages of Doing a Residency?

Doing a pharmacy residency is the best way to gain some hands-on experience and strengthen the resume. Here are some reasons explaining the positive sides of pharmacy residency:

  • The common reason why students do pharmacy residency is that they can’t afford to pursue another degree. Pursuing a new degree, not just costs money, but it also costs your time.
  • You also don’t want to increase the debt that you already have by pursuing a new degree. Residency provides you some hands-on experience and stipend.
  • Another reason for doing residency can be – you want to get into the clinical focus program.
  • You should consider doing a pharmacy residency also because you want to gain some hands-on experience and apply your knowledge & skills you have learned during your school.

Other Advantages of Doing Pharmacy Residency

Here are some other advantages of doing a residency program:

1. A competitive advantage

Pharmacy residents have a great competitive advantage in the market as compared to those who haven’t done it. Earlier, the scenario used to be different, but at present, more and more employers prefer candidates who have completed the residency. Employers now understand the importance of getting into pharmacy residency training. Hence, the applicant who has completed his/her residency will have a competitive advantage in the job market as compared to the applicants who haven’t.

2. Career Planning

If you are not sure about what you want to do, during your residency, you get an idea of what type of practice is perfect for you. Your residency preceptors can also guide you about defining your career goals.

3. Networking

Networking is essential for everyone, whether you are a businessman, student, job seeker, etc. Your residency program is the best way to gain more opportunities and to expand your network.

How to Select A Residency Program?

Selecting the right residency program is very important because you will be spending your two years in the selected program. Selecting the right residency program might seem a tedious process, but you must select the residency program with the consideration of your goals and capabilities. Here’s how you can select a residency program:


The first thing you need to know before applying for a residency program is to check whether it is accredited or non-accredited residency. The residencies that have accredited status are conducted in partnership with AMCP, ACCP, APhA, or any other pharmacy association. Hence, you need to first decide whether you want to go with an accredited or non-accredited residency.

Patient Populations and Services

Another important thing you need to keep in mind before selecting a residency program is to check out the patient populations and pharmaceutical services. You need to check out whether the program has appropriate patient populations and will the program match your career goals.


You need to determine what the teaching commitments of your selected program are. Before selecting a particular program, you need to make sure that you are satisfied with the amount of teaching.

Program Quality

You will also need to evaluate the program quality. You can evaluate the program quality by checking whether it meets your career goals and expectations or not. You can know about the program quality by evaluating factors such as the program’s reputation, the institution’s services, and reviews by previous residents.

Work Environment

While interviewing or visiting the program, you also need to evaluate the work environment by observing the general atmosphere at the site. You need to choose the program which has a supportive and professional working environment.


How competitive is a particular program? You can get an idea about a particular program by checking out the competition for getting into the program. While analyzing different residency programs, you will find that some programs are more competitive than others. With proper research and perfect evaluation, you would be able to find the program that suits your goals.

These are some factors you need to keep in mind before selecting a residency program. In short, you need to focus on the residency program that meets your career goals and expectations.

Final Thoughts

Pharmacy residency helps students get hands-on experience and apply the skills & knowledge that they have gained in the class to real patients. Mostly, students get confused about whether they should pursue residency or not. The answer to this question is based on the career goals and expectations of the students.

Pharmacy residency also strengthens the resume. At present, more and more employers prefer candidates who have completed the residency. Employers consider it because residency improves the skills and knowledge of applicants. However, it doesn’t mean you must do residency program to get a job. Depending on your career goals, skills, interests and expectations, the decision may vary.


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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