What Comes After High School?

Get a pre-pharmacy education

Complete two to four years of pre-pharmacy undergraduate classes. You should take at least two years of science courses, including biology, chemistry, physics and organic chemistry. For some schools, you may have to take more science and math courses. Check with the pharmacy schools you might be interested in to make sure you are taking the courses they require.

Take the PCAT

Most pharmaceutical schools require that you take the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT). This test includes the following sections: verbal, biology, reading comprehension, quantitative ability (which is a measure of math skills), chemistry and an essay.

Earn a PharmD degree

To earn a PharmD degree, you must complete a professional pharmacy program (typically four years) that is approved by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. The professional curriculum will include classroom work as well as educational experiences in various pharmacy practice settings.

Complete a residency program and/or fellowship

Some areas of pharmacy practice may require that you complete a one- to two-year residency program and/or fellowship after graduating. Both are customized to help you prepare for the area of pharmacy you’d like to work in. These programs may require a final research project.

Earn a pharmacist license


To earn a pharmacist license, you must have a PharmD degree, spend a specified number of hours in a practice setting, and pass the appropriate exams. All states require the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX), which tests pharmacy skills and knowledge. You must also take a test on pharmacy law (44 states require the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam [MPJE] and the others offer individualized pharmacy law exams).

For more resources, visit: www.aacp.org/pharmacycareers