Pharmacy is a career that requires a sound educational background in math and science as well as good communication and social skills. Pharmacy programs vary from college to college, but all pharmacy schools in the nation now only offer a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) degree. This type of program usually requires at least two years of pre-pharmacy undergraduate study and four years of professional education in the actual pharmacy program. Some pharmacy schools might require additional coursework prior to admission (examples listed on the next page), which make it necessary to do three or four years of pre-pharmacy coursework.
Most of the pharmacy schools in the Northwest U.S. (including the University of Montana) reported that the majority of their students admitted in 2008 had completed three years of coursework or received a bachelor's degree. Successful applicant profiles at most of the institutions are available on their web sites.
The web site for the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (www.aacp.org) is an excellent resource on educational and career opportunities in pharmacy, as well as links to the pharmacy web pages for each school.
Most students from Montana apply to the University of Montana. Those Carroll students who complete the pre-pharmacy requirements in two or three years typically transfer to a college of pharmacy and do not have to fulfill actual major requirements. Academic performance in the required courses is important, and students should have a minimum GPA of 3.2.
It is always a good idea to observe and visit with members of the professional community. Some schools require observing in a practicing pharmacy (UM – 60 hours). There are several pharmacies in the Helena area that are happy to host Carroll students at observers. Students may also observe in a hometown pharmacy during the summer. Evidence of leadership, motivation, and communication skills is also important.