According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for a pharmacist looks positive, and it is expected to grow at 14% between the years 2012-2022.
Pursuing a career in pharmacy can be highly rewarding, albeit challenging. There are many reputed undergraduate and graduate pharmacy schools in America, and several job opportunities for promising pharmacists. It is not strictly necessary to hold a bachelor's degree to study pharmacy, although it would certainly boost your chances of becoming one. However, a two years pre-pharmacy course is essential. The degree granted on the completion of four years of professional pharmacy program is the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD). You can also pursue a Master's degree or a PhD. Some colleges also offer dual courses, which are more beneficial for aspirants of a career in pharmacy.
In order to gain entry into a good and reputed pharmacy college, you need to pass an entrance exam known as the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT). The Pharmacy College Admission Test is endorsed by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) for admissions to some of the best colleges of pharmacy. Most of the top pharmacy colleges require clearing the PCAT. The AACP also offers a centralized application service (PharmCAS) for applying to several pharmacy colleges at once.
Top 10 Pharmacy Schools in the United States
Here is a list of some of the top rated pharmacy schools. The following data and ranking has been sourced from education-portal
* Click on the university names to know more about them.
Ohio State University (Columbus)
217 Lloyd M. Parks Hall, 500 West, 12th Ave., Columbus, OH 43210
The College of Pharmacy at Ohio State University is ranked among the top 10 pharmacy colleges in the United States with regards to funding, scientific publications, and overall ranking. Along with pre-pharmacy requirements, GRE and TOEFL is required for admission.
Purdue University (West Lafayette)
575 Stadium Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907
The College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Health Sciences, Purdue University has been rated as one of the best universities to offer graduate programs in pharmacy. Students are not only taught about health care, but are also given ample opportunities to develop leadership skills in the field of medicine. A bachelor's degree and a good GRE score are essential for admission; international students must also present their TOEFL or IELTS scores.
University of Arizona (Tuscon)
1295 N. Martin, PO Box 210202, Tucson, AZ 85721
The College of Pharmacy, University of Arizona is one of the best pharmacy institutes in U.S. In order to qualify for pursuing the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program, you will have to complete pre-pharmacy coursework, and also need a competitive GPA score. The college also offers graduate programs with research tracks in drug discovery and development, pharmaceutics/pharmacokinetics, pharmacology/toxicology, and pharmaceutical economics policy and outcomes. This college also offers Master's and PhD programs.
University of California (San Francisco)
500 Parnassus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94143
The UCSF School of Pharmacy is one of the top-ranked pharmacy schools in the U.S. The programs offered by this school include Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Pharmacy and Master of Public Health, Doctor of Pharmacy and Master of Science in clinical research, and similar doctoral and post-doctoral courses.
University of Illinois (Chicago)
833 S Wood St, Chicago, IL 60612
The College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois established in 1859, is one of the biggest and best research facilities in the U.S. Apart from the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program, the university also offers Master of Science degree in forensic science and forensic toxicology. You can also pursue a PhD program in subjects like pharmacy, medicinal chemistry, pharmacognosy and biopharmaceutical science. One of the specialties of this university is that you will get hands-on experience in inpatient, outpatient, and satellite pharmacies through various community health centers. High school students must seek admission through the Guaranteed Professional Program Admissions (GPPA). Also, though it is not mandatory, it is highly advisable to get a bachelor's degree, before your Doctor of Pharmacy program. There are separate requirements for PhD programs.
University of Iowa (Iowa City)
115 S. Grand Av., Suite 118, Iowa City, IA 52242
The College of Pharmacy, University of Iowa is the fourth oldest college in a university supported by the state. It is one of the best undergraduate and graduate pharmacy schools which offers pre-pharmacy and graduate programs in pharmacy. It also has a PharmD/MPH Dual Degree which will help those who want to develop expertise in public health. The college also offers various PhD specializations and an M.S. in pharmaceutics.
University of Kentucky (Lexington)
800 Rose St, Lexington, KY, United States
The College of Pharmacy, University of Kentucky is one of the most prestigious pharmacy colleges in the country. Completion of the undergraduate course, and Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) is essential for admission to the Master's degree. International students are required to submit their TOEFL scores.
University of Michigan (Ann Arbor)
428 Church St., Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
Apart from the regular pharmacy courses, he College of Pharmacy, University of Michigan also allows you to pursue a dual doctorate―Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in pharmaceutical sciences. There is also on offer a degree of B.S. in pharmaceutical sciences, and a Master of Engineering in pharmaceutics degree for those who are interested in both science and technology. Apart from this, several research experiences and residency programs are also available.
University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill)
CB#7355, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7355
The University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy offers one of the most well-recognized programs in the U.S.―the PhD program in pharmaceutical sciences. Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT), GRE scores, and TOEFL scores (in case of international students) are essential for admission.
University of Southern California (California)
1985 Zonal Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90089-9121
The University of Southern California School of Pharmacy provides a variety of degrees and certificate courses apart from the Doctor of Pharmacy program with different specializations. It also offers pre-pharmacy courses, Master's, and Doctoral programs. Not only this, but it also has a large variety of dual and joint degrees that are sure to help you advance in your career.
Other notable schools for pharmacy include University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati), University of Oklahoma (Oklahoma City), University of Tennessee (Knoxville), Ferris State University (Big Rapids), etc. Detailed information about the course structure and admission procedure can be obtained from the official websites of these universities. If you want to pursue a career in pharmacy, it would be a wise to enroll into one of the top ten pharmacy schools in the United States of America. For that, though, you will need a good score in Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT). Ensure that you send in your application early as tough competition exists for admissions. The demand for trained pharmacists is always high, since medical care is an ever increasing need throughout the world.