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How Long is Pharmacy School?

Pharmacy schools accept around 83% of applicants, and the average pharmacist salary now exceeds $128,000 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. High acceptance rates and excellent salary potential make pharmacy attractive for recent or future undergraduates interested in a pharmaceuticals career. But if time is also a factor, a Doctorate of Pharmacy may be a top consideration for individuals with a Bachelor’s degree in life sciences. You can earn a Doctorate of Pharmacy (PharmD) in just four years and enter the workforce immediately afterward, depending on your pharmacy career goals.

How Many Years is Pharmacy School?

Pharmacy school consists of a four-year Doctor of Pharmacy degree program, followed by an optional one- or two-year residency program. As such, pharmacy school will take most graduates four to six years to complete.

There may be some exceptions for degree completion times. For example, some pharmacy school attendees may take longer to earn a PharmD due to extenuating circumstances. Others may be able to accelerate through the program and finish in under four years. Either situation is dependent upon what program administrators will allow.

Some PharmD programs also confer additional concentrations via certificates upon completion of the four-year degree. These certificates are earned by taking coursework in certain fields within pharmacy, and taking requisite coursework during the pharmacy degree program.

At KGI, PharmD graduates earn their Doctor of Pharmacy, as well as a certificate in one of the following concentrations:

  • Medication Therapy Outcomes (MTO)
  • Healthcare Management (HM)
  • Pharmacy Informatics (PI)
  • Medical and Clinical Affairs (MCA)

PharmD+ certificates at KGI do not add to the number of years, semesters, or courses program participants must take to earn a pharmacy doctorate. These courses are integrated into the body of study as a direct coursework pathway for PharmD students.

How Long is a Pharmacy Residency Program?

Pharmacist residency programs are typically one or two years in length. Compared to medical school and physician training, residency programs are not an absolute requirement for employment as a pharmacist. Whether or not a residency is required depends on whether you desire to work in retail versus clinical pharmacy.

Most retail pharmacy jobs have no residency requirement. You can apply for and begin working in most retail pharmacy locations immediately after earning your Doctorate of Pharmacy. However, pharmacy graduates who have a desire to work for clinical pharmacy employers (such as hospitals) may need to complete an accredited residency program.

The acceptance (match) rates for pharmacy residency programs hover just around 60-65%. You’ll need to ensure you have strong academics, excellent recommendation letters, and a well-written application to secure a spot in a residency program essential for clinical pharmacy work.

Pharmacy School Coursework

A four-year Doctor of Pharmacy degree program consists of coursework illuminating the breadth of issues within the pharmaceutical industry, including bioethics, biology, existing and emerging technologies, data analytics, and more.

KGI’s PharmD program offers coursework with an experiential focus taught by pharmacy and other medical professionals whose expertise spans the entire industry. Take courses that cover critical learning areas, such as:

  • Fundamentals of Drug Action and Drug Metabolism
  • Health Care Delivery
  • Pharmacy Law and Ethics
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Neuropharmacology and Medicinal Chemistry
  • Patient Communication in Senior Chronic Care
  • Endocrinology and Urology
  • Pulmonology and Ophthalmology
  • Infectious Disease

Complete your coursework with Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPE) in areas such as ambulatory care, acute care, or health-system practice. Each degree program also requires a unique pharmacy capstone project.

How to Apply to Pharmacy School

Most pharmacy schools and programs, including KGI’s PharmD, have set application deadlines, requirements, and coursework prerequisites. We recommend you check the prerequisite and deadline information early to ensure you have enough time to complete the application.

You may want to continue your research by learning more about how to get into pharmacy school. Once you’re ready, apply to your desired pharmacy school programs through the centralized PharmCAS system.