When you're interested in completing a Doctor of Pharmacy degree or pursuing a career in pharmaceutical sciences, you'll need to enroll in an educational and training program at an accredited pharmacy school or pharmacy college. Almost all pharmacy schools in the United States now only offer doctorate programs because the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy mandates that all pharmacists have a doctoral degree. If you decide not to attend a pharmacy school for a doctorate degree, you can complete training to become a pharmacy technician instead.
Degree Programs at Pharmacy Schools
Students interested in becoming pharmacists or studying in the field of pharmaceutical sciences for research purposes must complete a doctorate degree program at an accredited pharmacy schools. Many pharmacy colleges in the United States give students the option to declare a major as a Doctor of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences, or in Pharmacology and Toxicology. Students study a variety of subjects, and may learn how to provide patient services, dispense medicine, and gain skills in disease management and counseling.
The comprehensive curriculum available at pharmacy colleges and schools includes intensive courses in biology, physics, mathematical sciences, liberal arts and chemistry. After completing general education requirements and pharmacy orientation, students can take more in-depth and specialized courses such as microbiology, organic chemistry, principles of medical chemistry, applied pharmacoeconomics and nonprescription therapeutics.
Preparing for Pharmacy College
Since the educational track at a pharmacy college is so intensive and usually demands research projects, lab work and clinicals, it’s important for students who are interested in a pharmacy career to make sure they are very strong in core subjects such as biology, mathematics, chemistry and physics. Taking summer courses and getting help from a tutor before applying to a pharmacy college may be needed in order to prepare for the rigorous educational program. Students who excel in these areas will be able to perform better throughout their educational careers at pharmacy colleges and universities, and may be able to take on a more challenging work load.
Students who are already attending a pharmacy college or university can find a wealth of educational resources on the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy website. This organization provides direct access to background papers, classroom resources and competencies on several issues and topics in the pharmacy and health profession.
Top Ranking Pharmacy Schools in the United States
The following pharmacy schools and pharmacy colleges rank in the top ten colleges and universities offering pharmacy degree programs:
- University of California - San Francisco
- University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
- University of Minnesota
- University of Texas - Austin
- Ohio State University
- University of Kentucky
- University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
- University of Washington
- Purdue University
- University of Arizona
Other Training Programs at Pharmacist Colleges
In addition to the doctorate degree program, some pharmacist colleges offer certification programs for those interested in becoming a pharmacy technician or assistant. These educational programs may be offered online and offline, and are designed to prepare students only for entry-level positions in their field. In addition to completing a training program at pharmacist colleges, students can enroll in a training program at military training facilities, technical colleges, vocational schools and hospitals.