Finding the right pharmacy school for you can feel like a big task, and choosing a school is certainly an important decision. As you research pharmacy schools, think about these factors to narrow your focus to your top pharmacy programs.
1. Get clear on your professional and academic goals.
What do you want to do after earning your PharmD? If you know what type of pharmacy career you want to pursue (or you’re weighing a few options), look for a school that will support your goals. See if your top school has a history of students and alumni working in the types of organizations that interest you. Do faculty members have first-hand knowledge or experience in those types of careers?
Depending on your goals, you might want to look for a dual-degree program. For example, some students hope to open their own pharmacy. If you want to run a pharmacy business in the future, you may want a pharmacy school that offers an option to pursue a PharmD and MBA.
2. Decide how long you want to be in school.
A traditional Doctor of Pharmacy program is 4 years, with 3 years of classes and labs followed by 1 year of pharmacy rotations. Alternatively, some accelerated PharmD programs can be completed in 3 years. The 3-year accelerated PharmD curriculum can allow you to start your residency or professional career a full year earlier than a 4-year program. However, 3-year PharmD programs require dedicated, hard-working students, as these programs move at a fast pace and have shorter breaks. If you’re unsure what format is right for you, talk with an admissions representative about your learning style, career goals, and any questions you have about the curriculum.
3. Find out who you’ll be learning from – and what to expect from that learning experience.
Your pharmacy school should have faculty members with strong and diverse pharmacy knowledge and experience. To learn about a school’s faculty, check the program’s website for faculty credentials, published work, and any additional faculty information offered. Additionally, some schools have faculty teaching in-person, while other schools rely heavily on distance learning via onscreen instruction. Beyond researching program format, faculty, and class sizes, look for details about program accreditation and student learning outcomes. Finally, don’t forget to ask about support outside the classroom. If you need tutoring help, advice on a paper, or have a question about your course schedule, will there be someone you can ask?
4. Research school tuition and scholarships.
Before choosing a PharmD program, do your research to see what earning a degree will cost and what income you might reasonably expect to earn during your career. Earning a PharmD degree will be an investment in yourself, and, naturally, you want to make a smart and informed choice. Scholarships and financial aid can help qualified students to reduce overall expenses, so talk with the financial aid team at your top pharmacy schools about possible financial aid options and payment plans.
5. Consider the school’s location and campus environment.
Wherever you attend pharmacy school, you won’t be spending all of your time studying. The campus culture and surrounding area are important! What size of town or city do you prefer? What activities and attractions will that area offer you? Is the cost of living lower or higher than the average US city?
For the school, try to get a sense of the campus community. Are there organizations and activities for students to join? Do alumni stay in touch with the college and support current students? Are students friendly and working together or is it more of a competitive environment? (Bonds formed with peers in pharmacy school can provide valuable connections later in your career.) Usually, the best way to learn about these aspects of a school is to visit or schedule a virtual tour!
Learn about the South College School of Pharmacy
At South College, our Doctor of Pharmacy program is a 3-year accelerated program offered in Knoxville, TN. With a current student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1, our School of Pharmacy is known for small classes, personalized attention, and accomplished faculty. Our program also features:
- State-of-the-art classrooms and lab facilities for active hands-on learning
- A friendly and diverse student body currently representing 28 countries and 32 states (current classes)
- Clinical rotation opportunities at 236 sites in 19 states, with 247 approved preceptors (2019)
- A strong network of supportive and accomplished alumni from around the country
To learn more and schedule your in-person or virtual visit, contact our Doctor of Pharmacy Office of Admissions today!