Pharmacists dispense medications prescribed by health practitioners and monitor patient health. They advise physicians and other health practitioners on the selection, dosages, interactions, and side effects of medications. Pharmacists must understand the use, clinical effects, and composition of drugs, including their chemical, biological, and physical properties. The goal of pharmacy care is to maximize positive health care outcomes and improve patients' quality of life with minimum risk. Pharmacists may work in healthcare settings (hospital, nursing home, clinic, etc.) or in retail settings.
Pharmacists typically do the following:
Fill prescriptions, verifying instructions from physicians on the proper amounts of medication to give to patients
Check whether prescriptions will interact negatively with other drugs that a patient is taking or any medical conditions the patient has
Instruct patients on how and when to take a prescribed medicine and inform them about potential side effects they may experience from taking the medicine
Give flu shots and, in most states, other vaccinations
Advise patients about general health topics, such as diet, exercise, and managing stress, and on other issues, such as what equipment or supplies would be best to treat a health problem
Complete insurance forms and work with insurance companies to ensure that patients get the medicines they need
Oversee the work of pharmacy technicians and pharmacists in training (interns)
Keep records and do other administrative tasks
Teach other healthcare practitioners about proper medication therapies for patients
Analytical skills: Pharmacists must provide safe medications efficiently. To do this, they must be able to evaluate a patient’s needs and the prescriber’s orders, and have extensive knowledge of the effects and appropriate circumstances for giving out a specific medication.
Communication skills: Pharmacists frequently offer advice to patients. They might need to explain how to take a medicine, for example, and what its side effects are. They also need to offer clear direction to pharmacy technicians and interns.
Computer skills: Pharmacists need computer skills to use any electronic health record (EHR) systems that their organization has adopted.
Detail oriented: Pharmacists are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the prescriptions they fill. They must be able to find the information that they need to make decisions about what medications are appropriate for each patient, because improper use of medication can pose serious health risks.
Managerial skills: Pharmacists—particularly those who run a retail pharmacy—must have good managerial skills, including the ability to manage inventory and oversee a staff.
Learn more about Pharmacy:
The chart below is a list of common pre-pharmacy requirements and the Emory course equivalents. Requirements vary widely by school. This list does not include all courses that may be required by pharmacy schools. Additionally, schools have differing policies for accepting AP/IB credits to fulfill prerequisites. Students are responsible for verifying the prerequisite coursework and policies of the schools to which they plan to apply.
*If you use AP credit for Biol 141, you must still take the Biol 141 Lab.
+ Human Anatomy and Physiology:
- The traditional Human Anatomy and Physiology with lab course sequence is not offered in the College. Students may be permitted to take this sequence in the Emory School of Nursing (NRSG 201 and 202 with labs), with permission from the SON (availability is not guaranteed).
- Biol 205 (Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy with lab) and Biol 336 (Human Physiology, no lab) are offered in the College, although these courses may not meet the requirements of all pharmacy schools.
- Visit the AACP program directory to view individual school websites to determine the exact requirements for your chosen schools.
**If one of the prerequisite courses you need to take is not offered in the College, you may be eligible to take the course(s) through the ARCHE program: http://registrar.emory.edu/registration/cross-registration/emory-students.html.
Please contact your pre-health advisor if:
You began Chemistry coursework at Emory prior to Fall 2017 and have questions about how to proceed
You transferred to Emory and have questions about coursework taken at a previous institution
You have questions about the ARCHE program
Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)
Students should read through all information on the PCAT website prior to submitting an application to test. Not all pharmacy schools require the PCAT.
Length: 4 hours
Sections: There are five sections - Writing, Biological Processes, Chemical Processes, Critical Reading, and Quantitative Reasoning
Cost: The registration fee is $210 which includes the exam and scores sent to the three recepients you verify during registration (PharmCAS counts as 1 recepient). Sending scores to additional non-PharmCAS schools after registration will cost $20 for each recepient.
Scores: Scores range from 200-600.
PCAT Prep Resources: There are a variety of PCAT prep resources, each differing in both cost and teaching style. The PHMO does not endorse any specific test prep resource, but we encourage you to explore each of the different options to determine which will best fit your needs.
Number of schools: Students typically apply to between 5-8 pharmacy schools.
Factors to consider:
Admission requirements: The prerequisite coursework and clinical experience requirements vary widely between each Pharm.D. program. Determine where you're eligible to apply based on the coursework/clinical work you've completed or will complete before matriculation.
Location II: Urban vs. rural setting, proximity to family, recreational opportunities, cost of living, etc.
Mission Statements: You should look for schools with mission statements that fit with your own goals.
Curriculum: Seek out information about the curriculum and consider how it fits with your learning style.
Cost: Consider tuition and type of financial aid available
Resources for school selection:
Applications for PharmCAS are reviewed on a rolling basis. We recommend applying as early in the cycle as possible. For additional information on Centralized Application Services and Personal Statements, see the "Apply" section of the PHMO website.
Centralized Application Service: PharmCAS - Pharmacy College Application Service
Number of Participating Schools: Approximately 125 pharmacy schools participate in PharmCAS.
Cost: $175 which includes one pharmacy school designation. Each additional school is $55.
Fee Assistance? A limited number fee waivers are available through the PharmCAS Fee Assistance Program, which covers the PharmCAS fees and 1 school. Waivers are granted on a first-come, first-serve basis so it's best to apply early.
Personal Statement Prompt: "Your Personal Essay should address why you selected pharmacy as a career and how the Doctor of Pharmacy degree relates to your immediate and long-term professional goals. Describe how your personal, educational, and professional background will help you achieve your goals." - 4,500 character limit
Application Timing: Students will apply in the summer of the year preceding their planned matriculation. The PharmCAS application cycle opens in July.
The PharmCAS web application is only one step in the pharmacy admissions process. Pharm.D. programs may also require you to submit a secondary application or supplemental information. Required information may include a high school transcript, photo, fee, additional essays, and possibly other information. Some schools may send secondaries to applicants after reviewing their primary application, while others post secondary materials on their website for all applicants to submit. Review the individual school requirements on the PharmCAS School Directory to determine which programs require secondary materials and how they want the materials to be submitted. If a pharmacy school sends a you a secondary after review of your primary application, the PHMO recommends a 2-week turnaround on submitting the secondary application.
Pharmacy schools typically require between 3-4 recommendation letters. The PHMO recommends at least one of your letters be from a science faculty member and one be from a PI or research supervisor (if you participated in research). Some programs may require a letter from a pharmacist. The other letters should be made up of professional references who can write compellingly about your personal qualities that will contribute to a successful career in pharmacy. Students should check each school's requirements to ensure you have the required letters. PharmCAS will accept up to 4 recommendation letters.
The interview is one of the most important elements in the healthcare professions application process. When a school invites you to an interview, they are indicating an interest in selecting you for their school based on your application. The interview gives both of you the opportunity to exchange information to determine if you are a good “fit” for each other.
Pharmacy schools require personal interviews with applicants to assess qualities such as self-confidence, interpersonal skills, and ability to overcome challenges. Be prepared to discuss why you wish to pursue a career in pharmacy and the experiences that have motivated you.
What to Expect at a Pharmacy School Interview:
Pharmacy school interviews are typically conducted on campus, which means you should be prepared to travel during interview season. Part of your preparation for the application process should be saving money for flights and hotel stays. Interviews may involve a tour of the school, information sessions, lunch with a current student, and the interview itself. Some pharmacy schools require a writing sample as part of the interview.
How to Prepare:
Your interview prep should be different basd on the type of interview the school employs. To review the different types of interviews, see the Interviews page of the PHMO website. In general, you should always:
- Review your application materials (including activites, personal statement, and additional essays) and be prepared to discuss them in detail.
- Brush up on current events in healthcare and in your profession specifically.
- Research the school. Do an in-depth review of the school's website and any additional materials you have. Remember, the interview is your chance to show them why you are a good fit for that particular program.
- Utilize the PHMO Interview Services.
- Pharmacy School HQ Blog: 175 Pharmacy School Interview Questions*
- Pharmacy Times - 8 Questions to ask during your Pharmacy School Interview*
- Review individual school websites - most programs provide details on their interview process
*Not affiliated with AACP or PharmCAS. Always double check any information with AACP, PharmCAS, or with individual programs.