Why Pharmacy Students Can’t Get Paid During Rotations -Or Do They Pay

So you have either reached fourth year or maybe you are looking ahead and see you have pharmacy rotations coming up and you are excited about the experience. It is really a great experience that you can do anything you want to do for the most part in any location even places like Alaska and Hawaii.

Then you look a little more into the detail so you are going to be working, paying to work, but not getting paid for you time.

So why don’t pharmacy students get paid during their rotations? 

Pharmacy students don’t get paid because of the accreditation document explicitly says no to this. It is forbidden in all pharmacy educational handbooks as well. There is no real reasoning behind this besides the fact this has always been the case. The main saying you will hear is that it is a rotation not a residency. 

Besides the below information there really isn’t much out there on why you pay for the honor to work during rotations. Below you will also find information on saving and earning money while on rotations.

How Do Pharmacy Rotations Work

Pharmacy rotations are an amazing way to get that hands on experience you have been wanting to get into ever since applying for pharmacy school. That is why you will want to make the most of this experience everything from where you go, what you do, and make sure they a reputable company.

If you are looking to go into a specialized area like a Warfarin Clinic then make sure you have a rotation at one of these facilities and if possible the one you would want to have a career at in the future. Guess what happens when you go to a place and wow them you can get a recommendation from that same company making it easier to get accepted into the role you desire.

You will be on the job doing the tasks just as you would as a pharmacist at most locations. There is an entire syllabus your school will provide with the exact tasks you will be completing throughout your rotation.

How To Save or Make Money During Rotations

  • Location Location Location – with rotations really sky is the limit as long as it is available at the time you are going. If you are going somewhere far away you will more then likely have to pay for room and board unless you know somebody you can stay with. If not going closer to home or college may be the best option.
  • Interning – by 4th you should be making pretty good money as an intern so make sure you are getting as many hours in before you go so you can save money. You can also look at getting a second paid pharmacist intern job.
  • Scholarships/Grants – make sure you have exhausted all options with grants and scholarships. Get help from your financial aid office and explore online options on your own. Most people have no clue about the vast variety of options out there.
  • Potential Job – if you go on a rotation where you may be wanting to work. You need really excel and go above and beyond while you are there. The better the impression you make the more likely you will be hired. Not only hired but you make be able to negotiate your contract and even vacation if they value you as a future employee. This is the best time to ask for those things after they offer you the job. Guess who they will be asking questions to when you ask for more money? That would be the preceptor for the rotation you wen to.

Pharmacy Rotation Housing

Your rotations are going to be anywhere between 4, 5 and 6 weeks long. Student Pharmacists already pay a premium for their Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (Rotations) so trying to keep the living arrangements down while attending can be a great thing.

The way around this is choosing a place close to your college or home or even somebody you know so you can save on housing and even food costs. However you don’t always get your preference to where you want to go as preceptors can only accept so many students so there will be time where you have to leave your intern job and go to a rotation that is far away.

At those places that are far form your centralized location you may have to pay a premium for renting a place. So you have to way the options between driving 1-2 hours each way a day or trying to find a place on a budget.

Your school will help you find housing since they have been through these over there years. One of the best things going these days are Airbnb’s where you can rent just a room or even an entire house. So if you have 2-4+ students going together renting a house will be your best bet for most locations.

Airbnb’s usually prefer long term guests over short term and they will give you a better deal as well.

Related Questions

Do Pharmacy Students Get Paid?

Pharmacist student get paid as interns. So if you have a retail pharmacy around your college apply to go work there as an intern. Over the years of pharmacy school your pay will increase as well. If you go home on the weekends apply also to one at home most retail pharmacies are pretty lenient around your schedules. And trust me they all can use the extra help for the most part.

Do Pharmacy Students Get Paid During Rotations?

Pharmacy students do not get paid during their rotations as this is how it is stated by the accreditation committee and how it has been worked out with the employers and preceptors.

Do Pharmacy Interns Get Paid?

Yes as a pharmacy intern you will get paid for your services. Not only will you make money to help you get through pharmacy school and pay for anything additional you need you will also get the experience you need for your future career. Try to get into a couple different locations so you get a good all around experience.

How Long Are Pharmacy Rotations?

Rotations can range from 3-6 weeks each depending on what you pick for your preference. Some examples of specific area rotations are inpatient/acute medicine rotation, advanced community rotation, advanced hospital/institutional rotation, Ambulatory and elective rotations.


Rotations are meant to give you a great experience that will help you get into and excel at your career as a pharmacist. Don’t take any of them lightly. Some students take the easy way out by going to an easy rotation where they don’t really do to much outside their comfort zone and the preceptor lets them out early everyday.

You are paying top dollar for these rotations so make them once in a life time experiences when you can and also make sure you try to get at least one at a potential employer.

So choose carefully and make sure you will be challenged but enjoy the experience at the same time. You want to perform well and behave also. However if you are going to make anyone of them a bit easier make sure it is the last rotation so you can get a head start on studying for your NAPLEX. Look at that RxPrep book even if it is like 30 minutes to an hour a day.

I would take at least one distance rotation if your wallet allows plan ahead for this by working extra when you can at the other rotations. Just by picking up an extra shift a week or weekend day will make a big difference.

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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