Pharmacy Expert Answers - Student Doctor Network Wiki

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Below are some frequently asked questions that have been answered by SDN Pharmacy experts.

If you have a question that is not answered here, please visit the SDN Confidential Consult forum to ask your question of our expert panel.

Best way to pay for pharmacy school? Should I do it?


I refer you to the AACP website on financial aid and scholarships: .

Low grade explanation when applying to pharmacy school

I am applying to pharmacy school but i failed some undergraduate courses due to working . Recently, i got sick and wasnt able to complete a course which resulted in an f. But im currently retaking it. What should i say to explain my failing grades.


I would pretty much advise you to provide more details about the circumstances of your situation for working while going to school and the nature of your illness.

cheap pharmacy schools in the US


I'm a current second year pre-pharmacy at Drake University. I'm hoping to transfer over the fall of 2019 to a cheaper pharmacy school for my PharmD program. Does anyone have an idea of cheap pharmacy schools across the US?

Nonetheless, I noticed Drake prerequisites for the PharmD is quite different from other pharmacy school. Drake doesn't need you to do courses like physics, anatomy &physiology, economics, english etc. Please what do you advise me to do. Should I complete my pre-pharm at drake and take extra summer classes? so i can meet up other pharmacy schools requirements and also take the PCAT?

thanks :)


I am not exactly sure what you mean by 'cheap', but let me assume you mean low tuition/cost of living costs. You can research that thru multiple sites, best known of which is US News and World Report. As with US-based colleges, however, the listed tuition is not necessarily what you pay, many schools offer grants/tuition reimbursements, scholarships and opportunities to moonlight and make a bit of money on the side. As hinted to above, you also should not forget about cost of living, San Francisco or New York are going to be much more expensive for 4 years versus Midwest. Lastly, if you are interested in research, particularly hot areas such as pharmacogenomics, you can enroll in a PhD/PharmD dual program -- several come to mind, including University of Michigan and UCSF. Many of those programs come with tuition reimbursement and/or student living stipend. Consider it, if that's your interest (though time to complete can be much longer than a straight PharmD).

Nuclear Pharmacy preparation


I am currently a PY1 student who has been looking into the field of nuclear pharmacy since my undergraduate years, before getting into pharmacy school. But when I actually got into the school, I realized that since nuclear pharmacy field is very specific, I do not know as to how I should prepare for this career.

A lot of school organization that my school offers is towards retail/clinical/managed care and I do not know where to start to build up my resume/experience that will be beneficial for nuclear pharmacy position in the long run.

Currently, I am working in the retail pharmacy as an intern but is it possible to work in the nuclear pharmacy or is that something that is not allowed for PY1 to do it yet? Should I try to get into a research position that I have interest in?

Since nuclear pharmacy is specialized, I am assuming that the competition is high when landing on a job with nuclear pharmacy and I want to be prepared with the best of my abilities.. but I really do not know who to turn to in terms of asking these questions.

Thank you in an advance!


It is possible to work in a nuclear pharmacy as an intern, but it is going to be tough due to the hours of operation. Nuclear pharmacy as a field has shrank drastically in the last few years due to the emergence of PET and other technologies that make it obsolete. Truthfully I do not think you will be able to break into the field at all.

If you are totally committed to trying the best thing you could do is apply to any nuclear pharmacy within driving distance and try to get face time with the PIC or director and offer to volunteer or ask if you can shadow them. Try to parlay that experience into an internship and then just hope there is an opening after you graduate.

Good Luck!

Can a pharmacy technician own discount cards? i work for walgreens and havent gotten a straight answer

So I'm a pharmacy technician and have came across a program where I could own my own discount card and receive compensation for each claim. I'm currently at walgreens and haven't gotten a straight answer whether its ok to do so. I don't want to get into trouble but I do want to help my patients save as much as they can.


It's a conflict of interest, however many people do this and get away with it. You need to balance the potential risk of getting caught against the potential reward of the payments. It depends on your risk tolerance if you should do it or not.

Florida MPJE study guide

I am a pharmacist in SC and I'm trying to get licensed in Florida. Can anyone recommend a good study guide for Florida law or would someone mind sending me their class notes? Thanks!


Nope, I suggest just studying from the FL BOP law website. Good luck!

BCACP Exam help

Does anyone have materials for the BCACP exam for sale? I registered to take the exam this spring but the materials are soo expensive.


To find people selling exam materials, we encourage you to check out our Classifieds Forum community here: You can also list what you're looking for in the Wanted Forum.

Thank you, SDN Staff

Air force Pharmacy School

I am looking at a career change. I will be graduating in May with a Mathematics degree, but now want to attend Pharmacy school. Is it possible to go to pharmacy school in the air force with a commitment of however many year they require you to work for them?


Generally you'll need to get into a civilian pharmacy school first, then apply for an Air Force or other military branch scholarship.

The Air Force does not have its own pharmacy school.

Do clinical research pharmacists make more or less, compared with retail or hospital pharmacists, and by what percentage approximately?

I have been searching for the answer for two years but no luck. I have been told clinical research pharmacists make significantly less than retail pharmacists but one recruiter once told me that they actually make more than retail pharmacists make; however, I'm not sure how well the recruiter knew about clinical research pharmacist positions which are not very common positions. Please help shed some light on this. I'd really appreciate it.


Every position is different of course but in general retail pharmacists make more than clinical pharmacists, except possibly in California where that trend is reversed. You can look at BLS statistics for confirmation.

PharmCas Science GPA

Does PharmCas calculate separate science GPAs or 1 cumulative science GPA. I've taken science classes at university as well as college level and want to know how to gauge this..


Reference: . There are many GPA's calculated by PharmCAS.


Every school has their own formula for determining which classes are considered in the GPA that matters to that school (some look at everything, some at math and science, etc.). Some practice grade forgiveness, others do not. Look at the admissions policy for each school you are interested in and don't be distracted by what PharmCAS reports, each school will look at your transcript and determine your GPA for themselves.

Am i too old to start pharmacy degree?

My husband has a car sales business but he wants a career change and wants to do a 4 year degree in pharmacy. He is 35 years old and is thinking if it is a good idea to start the degree. Is it too late? Is it worth doing it now? Would pharmacists be still in demand after 5 years? And would he be able to get student loan. Its only a week left to actually apply for admission. Please give us your advice.


There is no 4 year pharmacy degree, unless he already has done the necessary prereqs. The shortest programs are 3 years, but again acceptance is only possible if all the prereqs have been completed first.

35 is not necessarily too old but when you consider the expense involved plus the opportunity cost of going to pharmacy school it probably will not work out in his favor. 

My advice is to look for something else. Or at least be a pharmacy tech first to see if the field is even a good match for him before committing to pharmacy school.

Null under score transfer for NAPLEX

I just took my naplex a few days ago. My primary state is CA, under score transfer it says "null". Is the rumor about null=fail true?


No way to know. Good Luck!

Naplex score

Got a 73 on Naplex, need 75 to pass. It is possible to have score reviewed for accuracy as I only missed by 2 points? If so, do you know what the process is? Thank you.


You could contact NABP and request it, the worst they can say is no. I am not familiar with any formal process for restoring a NAPLEX exam but I am sure they get the request frequently enough to have a process in place. It is a computerized test though so I don't see how the score can change.

Good luck!

Pcat prelim scores

My pcat score preliminary score is Bio- 56 Chem-92 Reading-59 Quant-29

Composite 64

I want to go to University of Florida but this is a low score however I do have 4.0 GPA, anyone know how likely it will be to get in ?


With that GPA I think you will be able to get in, no problem! You can also visit the What Are My Chances thread in the PrePharmacy forum to get a good idea of what people think of your chances.

Good Luck!

What is the average statics (GPA and extracurriculars) for a student to be accepted into UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy?

I'm wondering what is considered a successful and competitive applicant to be accepted at UCSD school of pharmacy? What is the most important feature that they look for in future student? I understand that GPA is important so i guess my main question what is the cutoff GPA for acceptance?


Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, none of our SDN Experts work for this specific school and are unable to give you a specific answer on what their admissions team would be looking for. Please feel free to check our forum areas for any additional information on this school as well as the school ranking page.

Sincerely, SDN Experts Manager

Pre-Pharmacy or Biochemistry?

Hi! I am about to start my first year of college, after graduating high school. I want to go into Pharmacy. I am currently registered to start off in the Pre-Pharmacy program, later finding out that I could actually start off with Biochemistry. I am tied between which I should choose to start off with. Pre-Pharmacy or Biochemistry? Also. How long would it take if I did Pre-Pharmacy into Pharmacy? VS. How long would it take if I did Biochemistry into Pharmacy?


The answer, perhaps unhelpfully, is "it depends". You can check the AACP website here to get an idea of which programs require what courses:

Personally I recommend the biochemistry major just because it gives you options if you decide that maybe pharmacy isn't for you after all. In terms of how long it takes all that matters is how long it takes you to complete the prerequisites. At the very least two years will be required, 4 year degrees prior to pharmacy school are not uncommon though.

Undecided on pharmacy program - help!

Good news, my son was accepted into 6 colleges, he wants to study pharmacy in the pharmd program. Not sure , of these, the best choice. I believe the only 2 that r direct entry are phili and MCPHS, where the others require the pcat. We have done research but Your views would be helpful in making a decision.

University at Buffalo St. John Fisher Duquesne university Albany college of pharmacy Phili School of pharmacy MCPHS

Thank you!!!


For deciding on a particular school I would most strongly weigh two factors: Candidacy status and Cost of Attendance. Pharmacy is not like law where you must go to a top rated school in order to land the best job out of school. The school should be fully accredited by ACPE (all the schools on your list are fully accredited so you are good there - I would personally not go to a school that doesn't have full accreditation). This can be checked at

Next I would look at COA and pick whichever is cheapest. The only possible reason I can imagine to not picking the cheapest option would be if one school had a specific partnership or experience that your son needs for a specific goal, such as a history of placing students in FDA rotations if your son wants to work in the regulatory sector. Most schools have a large enough network that any specific career goal can be filled by going to any COP.

Finally, congratulations to your son and I hope he enjoys the field as much as I do!

Personally I recommend the biochemistry major just because it gives you options if you decide that maybe pharmacy isn't for you after all. In terms of how long it takes all that matters is how long it takes you to complete the prerequisites. At the very least two years will be required, 4 year degrees prior to pharmacy school are not uncommon though.

PharmD licensure

Post PharmD graduation I went on a non-traditional route in industry-sponsored clinical research on pharmaceuticals but have yet to become licensed.

I have a question (now with the expert panel bio in mind):

May I ask what was your experience in preparing for the NAPLEX and MPJE? Would you find it advisable to take the MPJE before it changes on April 13, 2016 or is it better to focus on the NAPLEX first?

Thank you for your feedback!


For the NAPLEX I suggest the APhA review book and studying calculations extensively. SDN has a number of helpful resources in our pharmacy board review forum as well besides just emotional and social support.

There is a break down of the topics on the NAPLEX on the companies website so definitely check that out to get an idea of where to spend the most time on what topics.

As for the law exam I would just go through your state's laws online and make outlines which you can use to study for the law exam.

I don't think it matters which order you take them in as long as you focus on studying for one at a time before moving on to the next one. I would suggest taking them sooner rather than later just because the current review materials will be tailored for the current version of the exam and I wouldn't want to be in the first batch of people to take the new version personally.

Good Luck!

Medical Physiology (University of New England)

Hi, I registered for an online medical physiology course at University of New England and I have never taken an online course before. Did anybody take this online class? any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance


I haven't taken this particular online class, but I have taken online classes. I suggest having a strict schedule of watching lectures and studying. Because you don't have to be there in person it can be very tempting to procrastinate - Don't do it! Treat it like any other class and don't let yourself fall behind.

I would also ask for advice on the main SDN forums - lots of users have taken online classes and can offer great advice. Good luck!

Not mathematically inclined but still wants to go to med school!

Hi! Throughout my career as a student in high school (I am currently a senior) I managed to figure out that math is not my strong point. Algebra 1 and geometry I managed fairly well mostly A's (a few B's) in a slower paced class. algebra 2, I was in the honors class with a high of B- and low of a D with the help of a tutor. I am aware that to pursue a career in the medical field there are many math courses that a med student must take. I was interested in pharmacy for of all the science courses I took (biology, earth science, physics, chemistry etc) I excelled most at chemistry with an A-/B+ average. What would you recommend? Totally forget the idea of becoming a pharmacist? What I am really asking (I apologize for inundating you with so much extra info) is what is a pharmacists actual job? How much math is needed to obtain the job and in the actual hospital/pharmacy? Thank you for your time and patience (!).


Very little math is actually needed to do most pharmacist's jobs. Also you can use a calculator for the really tricky stuff ;)

I recommend working in a pharmacy to get a better feel for if it is for you. But I wouldn't let a fear of math classes stop you from perusing medicine or pharmacy. Besides your grades in those classes aren't bad!

What can I do as a pharmacist besides work at a CVS?


Lots of things! The Pfizer career guide is a handy survey of the topic:

Retail is by far the most common (and probably most stable) career path for pharmacists though and if the thought of working at CVS is unbearable you may be better off looking for other careers. Hospital is the next most common but keep in mind that residencies are becoming more and more common for that path; no small consideration when deciding on your future. Corporate, academia, specialty, PBMs, really the list goes on and on but opportunities for these jobs may be fierce.

How does pharmacy compare to other health care professions?

Are you really involved in patient care or are you just counting pills?


The level of patient care varies widely by the practice setting. Chain retail will have the highest amount of "counting pills", institutional (clinical) pharmacy will have the least. Even in chain retail there is lots of opportunity for patient care, such as giving OTC consultations and immunizations. While there are lots of different practice settings the majority of jobs are in retail so if the thought of counting pills is unbearable it is probably a good idea to explore other career options.

The actual act of counting pills is mostly done by technicians anyway.

Are there pharmacist jobs available?

I'm looking at applying to pharmacy school. Will there be any jobs available when I graduate? Or will I have a bunch of debt and no way to pay it off?


No one knows what the future holds. Jobs are becoming more scarce compared to a few years ago, but it is by no means hopeless. You probably won't get the job you want in the place you want, but you can probably get the job you want somewhere or a job in the place you want to work. People who think pharmacy is saturated have probably never worked in a saturated field. Keep in mind the variety of settings in which a pharmacist can work. Be flexible and you will get a job. I recently sent out some applications and got several replies back, so jobs are at out there.

As for the debt, keep in mind programs like PAYE will keep you from going hungry. The salary of a pharmacist is high enough that you shouldn't have to be concerned about the debt at all.