Since 2003, the United States requires a doctor of pharmacy degree to become a licensed pharmacist. The doctor of pharmacy degree requires completion of four years at an accredited college of pharmacy (most students applying for admission into a college of pharmacy already have an undergraduate degree). A list of pharmacy schools can be found on the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy website.
The pharmacy curriculum includes courses in medicinal chemistry, physiology, pharmacology, and toxicology. Additionally, pharmacy education includes a practicum.
A bachelors degree from UNC Asheville will prepare you for the rigors of pharmacy school. As an undergraduate, you should focus on excelling at academics and preparing to take the PCAT.
What is the PCAT?
The PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test) is a the test for pharmacy schools. It consists of four parts: a writing prompt, 2) the Biological Processes and Chemical Processes multiple choice test, 3) the Critical Reading multiple choice test, and 4) the Quantitative Reasoning multiple choice test.
How important is my grade point average?
Your grade point average is an important criterion for evaluation. You must demonstrate that you are able to achieve good grades under a challenging course load. It is critical that you do well from the onset, and that you learn to develop good study skills during your freshman year. Your advisor can provide helpful suggestions on developing good study habitats beyond the obvious of attending every lecture and taking copious notes.
How important is pharmacy-related experience prior to applying?
It is strongly recommended that you have relevant experience prior to applying. If possible, volunteer or seek paid positions at clinics or pharmacies. There is probably no better way to decide whether you wish to pursue being a pharmacist than through hands-on experience.