*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Pharmacists, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacists.htm (visited March 24, 2022).
You should expect to spend at least four years going to school full-time to earn your Pharmacy Bachelor's Degree. Though, some universities have specialized programs that allow their students to accelerate their final two years of their degree program. These students are able to complete the final two years of their Pharmacy degree in 17 months. If you choose to attend school part-time for any reason, it could take you 6 years or more to complete your degree.
No matter how you choose to attend, you'll have to complete around 120 credit hours to graduate with a bachelor in Pharmacy degree. These credit hours include your general education (mathematics, history, humanities, and communications), along with your required major classes for your field.
Before choosing a major there are some important facts you should know about.
Before you enroll in a college, make sure that they have the major you are considering. For Pharmacy, many universities have whole departments devoted to the subject. If that is the case, then make sure they have the specific branch of Pharmacy that interests you. If you are starting out at a community college, they may not have a specific degree for Pharmacy, but they may offer the right math and science courses you will need as prerequisites. Investigate how well your community college work will synch with your later work in a university before registering.
This is a very important question to ask yourself. Your major should play a big part in the schools you are considering. Not every college may offer the major of your choice, so doing your homework is the first step of the selection process.
Courses required to obtain a bachelor's degree in Pharmacy consist of general core courses that Freshman and Sophomores take and Junior and Senior level courses focus more on the major concentration classes. Associate degrees, on the other hand, normally prepare grads for entry-level with the basic skills and expertise required in a field. Affiliate's levels can likewise allow students to finish general education and learning demands with a two-year program, then later transfer right into a four-year program. There are two major titles of bachelor's levels: BA (Bachelor of Arts) and BS (Bachelor of Science). There are bachelor's degree programs in a wide range of majors, consisting of STEM subjects, social sciences, arts, and all kinds of specific subjects. You can find some sample major concentration courses that you may be required to take below:
If you're concerned about the specific graduation rate at each school you're most interested in, the Office of Institutional Research at each university should have that information. Nationwide, only 41% of university students finish within the four year timetable. The remaining 59% tend to stay in school for five years or more.
This can get very expensive. Students have to pay for additional terms of tuition. Universities and colleges may also penalize students who are taking too long to graduate. So, you need to have a plan that enables you to graduate within four to six years. See an advisor for your major every semester. Take the classes that they tell you are required. Try to take more than just the 12 minimum full-time credits per semester—instead, take 15; if you don't have to work more than 10 to 15 hours a week, try to take 18 credits. Take summer classes to get ahead (or catch up if you fail a class).
Don't change majors too often. If you're not sure of your major, take just your general education credits and try a few majors you're interested in—take an introductory class for each major and find the one that fits you best.
The college or university itself should be accredited. Look for a regionally accredited school based on that school's location. The six regional accreditation agencies are The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, The North Central Association of Schools and Colleges, The Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges, The Southern Association of Schools and Colleges, and The Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Online-only schools should have accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, the Distance Education and Training Council, or the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges but they should also hold regional accreditation.
Accreditation is an important part of the selection process. It adds value to a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree by offering wider acceptance than degrees from non-accredited schools receive. Accreditation ensures employers and other reviewers of your educational background that you have a quality education in Pharmacy. It informs potential employers that the graduate has the expected level of education and knowledge to perform work in today's high-paced, technology-driven environments.
The Department of Education designates regional and national accreditation agencies. It is also through this department that educational loans and grants are provided to college students. The federal policy is to limit student loans to schools and colleges with acceptable accreditation. Which means that, if your school isn't accredited, you will likely not be eligible to receive any financial aid. For many students, accreditation is key to getting funds to pay for the substantial costs of a degree in Pharmacy.
Colleges and universities generally charge per credit hour for Pharmacy courses. Multiply the cost by the number of credits you're taking for your total semester's financial commitment. Program fees may not be included in the stated tuition rate. If a university charges $331 per credit hour, multiply this by 12 or 15 (the number of credits you're taking per semester). For 12 credit hours, this is $3,972; for 15 credit hours, it's $4,965.
The College Board's Trends in Higher Education Series reported that the average cost of a four-year public Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy program was $9,970 if taken in-state. It was as much as $35,260 if taken at a private university or college. And be aware that, even if you are comfortable with the per credit hour cost of the program you are looking at, there will be other costs for fees, textbooks, and room and board if you live on campus.
Schools can provide valuable assistance for Pharmacy graduates that seek employment after graduation. The programs can be formal, such as job banks and employment centers that present graduating students and graduate credentials to prospective employers and host interviews.
Depending on the college, they may have resources that can enhance employment and career opportunities for their Pharmacy graduates. Most schools have an extended community of alumni, donors, and corporate and business support. Alumni groups offer opportunities for networking as well as for sharing information and experiences. The corporate and business community support may include opportunities for internships or other hands-on learning experiences.