How do I Choose the Best Pharmacy Program?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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The best pharmacy program for you can be found by researching the following five items: educational institute options, accreditation, industry partnerships, alumni graduation statistics, and faculty quality. Pharmacy training programs are available at both the university and community college level. University level training is required to become a licensed pharmacist. College programs provide the training necessary to become a pharmacy technician.

Selecting the best pharmacy program is a personal decision, based on your priorities and career aspirations. The best pharmacy program is one that you can complete successfully, within the standard time frame, and start your career. The university program is four years in length and is very intensive, with a heavy course load. The college program is two years in length, demanding, but has a more task-oriented focus.

While the career advancement opportunities for a pharmacy technician are somewhat limited, there is nothing to stop a technician from completing university courses part-time to become a pharmacist. This will require dedication, focus, and self-discipline, but can be done. It is important to remember that the average working life is 40 years long. There are many opportunities to upgrade your skills, if you decide that is what works best for you.


Accredited pharmacy programs have been evaluated by an independent agency, authorized by the government. This agency is responsible for reviewing the quality of academic programs and administrative policies to ensure that they meet a minimum standard. Pharmacists must complete their program at an accredited school to be eligible for the pharmacist licensing exam. Courses completed at an accredited school are transferable between post-secondary educational institutions.

Many pharmacy programs have close connections to both the pharmacy and pharmacology industries. These relationships often result in guest speakers and opportunities for work terms. Many schools have key members of industry on their board of directors. New course offerings and equipment purchases are reviewed with the board. While they may not have influence over the school administration, they can provide advice on what skills are relevant in the marketplace, both now and in the next five years.

Every post-secondary school maintains statistics on graduate employment rates. This information is collected at three-, six-, and 12-month intervals and provides insight into the impact of the education program. The level of detail varies, but typically includes current job title, starting salary, full time or part time, type of industry, and if the job is training related.

When selecting a pharmacy program, take the time to review the credentials of the faculty or teaching staff. It is important to ensure that the actual course instructors are experts in their respective fields and have relevant industry experience. At the university level, the instructors should all be published, with articles in scientific and pharmacy journals. Avoid any school that is unwilling to discuss the background and qualifications of its teaching staff.



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