Rapidly growing health care and pharmaceutical industries in the United States have led to an increase in the number of prescriptions filled each day. This had led to an increasing demand for trained pharmacy professionals, especially those who can take a more active role in patient care. This increase in prescriptions is the effect of health needs of an aging population, the availability of new drugs, and the steady increase of copay insurance programs. Pharmacy is the third largest health care profession (after nursing and medicine). Pharmacists are part of the health care team and are responsible for such things as drug therapy management, administration if drugs and vaccinations, and helping patients manage their chronic diseases. Pharmacists also play an active role in educating consumers, patients, and health care professionals on the use of prescription and over-the-counter medications, and provide expertise about the composition and properties of drugs. Good communication skills and advanced scientific knowledge are essential for pharmacists. In addition, business and management and as well as leadership skills help make for a successful pharmacist. Pharmacists work in a variety of settings such as community pharmacies, hospitals, managed care organizations, long-term care facilities, pharmaceutical companies and local, state, and federal government facilities.
Pharmacy programs offered by colleges and universities consist of five-six yearsof study. All schools and colleges of pharmacy operate under one of two plans: (1) a 1-2 years of pre-professional education preceding admission to the professional curriculum or (2) an integrated curriculum with all years of study in the profession college. Pre-professional education required for admission may be taken at an approved junior college or university. There are no longer any B.S. of Pharmacy programs in the U.S. (the last of these students graduated in 2004). Currently the doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D.) degree is the only professional degree in pharmacy offered in the U.S. The Pharm. D. degree program requires at least 2 years of specific pre-professional (undergraduate) coursework followed by 4-academic years (or 3 calendar years) of professional pharmacy study. The majority of students enter a pharmacy program with 3 or more years of college experience. These programs provide students with the requirements to take the licensure examination of a state board of pharmacy in order to practice pharmacy.
A centralized service has now been implemented for students to apply to pharmacy schools in the U.S. This service, called The Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS) is designed to facilitate application to U.S. schools of pharmacy. Applicants complete a single application and need one set of official transcripts to apply to multiple Pharm. D. programs. Note that there are still many schools of pharmacy that don’t participate in PharmCAS. To learn more about PharmCAS and find out which school participate in the service, go to their website (http://www.pharmcas.org), e-mail them at email@example.com, or call 617-612-2050.
The website for the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, (http://www.aacp.org/), provides information about different professional degree
programs in pharmacy, different careers in pharmacy, useful applicant links, and an exhaustive list of colleges and schools of pharmacy.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in pharmacy, take into account the following deadlines/requirements as you prepare a ‘tentative academic schedule’ for your remaining years at Binghamton:
- Deadlines for required admissions tests (PCAT - Pharmacy College Admissions Test)*
- Required undergraduate (pre-professional) courses
- Application deadlines for various programs
- Internships and field observation recommended, program specific
* Different admissions tests are required for entry to different programs. More than half, but not all U.S. pharmacy schools require the PCAT. It is important that you contact individual programs and inquire about specific test scores and other admission requirements before you apply. Information about the PCAT is available at this URL (http://www.pcatweb.info/).
Admission requirements vary by pharmacy institution. Below is a list of some common college course prerequisites required to enter a U.S. school of pharmacy. However, students should review the requirements for each institution before applying since there is no set standard for required courses needed to gain acceptance to pharmacy school. School-specific information can be found in the AACP publication, “Pharmacy School Admission Requirements” (PSAR).
Common Pharmacy School Curriculum Requirements:
|Subject||Course Rubric and Number|
|Biology (1 Year)||BIOL 117 & BIOL 118|
|Chemistry (1 Year)||CHEM 107 & CHEM 108
CHEM 111 & CHEM 221 or 280 or 341 or 351
You MUST choose one sequence. You may NOT switch between sequences. Also, CHEM 107 MUST be taken in the fall semester and CHEM 108 in the spring semester.
|Organic Chemistry (1 Year & lab)||CHEM 231, CHEM 332 & CHEM 335 (lab)|
|Physics (1 Year)||PHYS 121 & PHYS 122 (or PHYS 131 & PHYS 132)|
|Microbiology (1 Semester & lab)||BIOL 314 & BIOL 326 (lab)|
|Human Anatomy & Physiology (1 Year)||BIOL 251 & either BIOL 251 or BIOL 347|
|Biochemistry (1 Semester)||BIOL 302|
|Calculus (1 Year)||MATH 221 & MATH 222|
|Economics (1 Semester)||ECON 160 or ECON 162|
|English/Composition/Literature (at least 1 Semester)||Any course in English (ENG), Rhetoric (RHET), Writing (WRIT), Creative Writing (CW) or Comparative Literature (COLI) departments.|
|Public Speaking (1 Semester)||RHET 246 or any course that states "public speaking" in the course title.|
|Social Science/Humanities (at least 1 Semester)||
Social science: any course in the Anthropology (ANTH), Geography (GEOG), History (HIST), Political Science (PLSC) or Sociology (SOC) departments.
Humanities: any course in the English (ENG), Comparative Literature (COLI) or Philosophy (PHIL) departments.
|Subject||Course Rubric and Number|
|Analytical Chemistry (1 Semester)||CHEM 221|
|Cell Biology (1 Semester)||BIOL 311|
|Genetics (1 Semester)||BIOL 301 or BIOL 435|
|Immunology (1 Semester)||BIOL 402|
|Medical Ethics (1 Semester)||PHIL 148|
*Disclaimer: All of the above information is current as of 7/11/12; as with most information, it is subject to change at anytime.
For more information about Pharmacy Programs, contact:
American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
1727 King Street
Alexandria VA 22314
Phone: (703) 739-2330
Fax: (703) 836-8982
Last updated: 7/11/12 SY