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11 Best Undergraduate Pharmacy Schools in The US

If you want to become a pharmacist, but have a hard time deciding where to begin your journey, take a look at our list of the best undergraduate pharmacy schools in the US. We hope it will make your decision a bit easier.

If you are interested in pharmacy, there are two ways to go. One is to become a pharmacy technician and the other one is to become a certified pharmacist. Of course, becoming a pharmacy technician is the easier way to go in terms of getting the required qualifications, but you’ll make a lot less money. Pharmacy technicians basically help pharmacists with their work dispensing medications. They usually work at the drug and grocery stores, but some opt for work in hospitals. There are lots of pharmacy technicians that work part time. In order to become one, you would have to obtain a high school diploma or equivalent. Depending on the state’s law, pharmacy technicians can learn through on-the-job training or obtain a formal education. Most of the states require pharmacy technicians to complete a training program and pass the exam. If you become one, the odds of getting an employment look rather positive. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that there will be a 9% increase in employment within the occupation from 2014 to 2024 resulting in 34,700 new jobs. When it comes to money, pharmacy technicians earned $30,920 per year or $14.86 per hour median wage in 2016. In case you are interested in other aspects of medicine, check out our list of the Easiest Medical Schools to Get Into.

11 Best Undergraduate Pharmacy Schools in The US

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For those of you that have higher aspirations and want to become pharmacists, the road ahead of you isn’t an easy one. First, you will need to obtain an undergraduate degree. Although there are plenty of undergraduate programs you can complete, most people choose to obtain a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy, biology or chemistry. This way you will be better prepared for pharmacy schools that offer graduate programs and enable you to earn your Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Most pharmacy programs take 4 years to finish, but there are some programs that take 3 years. There are also schools that offer 6-year programs and admit high school graduates. For those of you looking an easy way to become a pharmacist, check out our list of the Least Competitive Pharmacy Schools in America.

If you are having second thoughts about this occupation, know that you can expect median annual wages of $122,230 or $58.77 per hour. For comparison, median annual wages average for all occupations was around $37,000 in 2016. Unfortunately, the job outlook isn’t that much great. It is projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that there will be just a 3% growth in employment within the occupation from 2014 to 2024, resulting in 9,100 new jobs. Alaska, California and New Hampshire are the states that offer the biggest average wages for the occupation. California is also the state that employs the largest number of pharmacists (29,100) and where the most jobs (900) will be available in the future. Texas, New York, and Florida are the states that will see an increased demand for this occupation as well.

In order to get our list of best undergraduate pharmacy schools in the US, we decided to combine the US News scores for best pharmacy schools in the United States (based on the survey of academics) with NAPLEX (North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination) pass rates into our own IM Score. Although these rankings do not directly reflect undergraduate schools, the majority of these universities offer undergraduate pre-pharmacy programs that offer guidance to students and give them a good foundation for pharmacy school. If a school’s graduate program is good, its undergraduate program should be great as well. Of course, universities that don’t offer distinctive undergraduate pharmacy and pre-pharmacy programs didn’t enter our list. Let’s take a look at it.

11. University of Illinois – Chicago

IM Score: 17

US News Score: 4.2

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 86.67%

School’s Website

The first entry on our list also has the worst NAPLEX pass rate compared to other entries.  If your native state is Illinois and you want to be a physician, pharmacist or dentist this is the university you want to be at. Its College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers a pre-pharmacy program (minimum two years study) that will prepare you for the College of Pharmacy’s Doctor of Pharmacy program. The official website states that the majority of students take 3 years to complete this program. It is important to also note that the University of Illinois at Chicago is where the biggest medical school in the country is located.

11 Best Undergraduate Pharmacy Schools in The US

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10. University of Purdue

IM Score: 17

US News Score: 4.1

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 88.89%

School’s Website

The University of Purdue offers undergraduate students over 200 majors to choose from alongside 70+ programs for obtaining a doctorate and master’s degree. The Purdue College of Pharmacy, the number 10 on our list of best undergraduate pharmacy schools in the US has 2 undergraduate programs that will give students a solid foundation and preparation if they seek to obtain a graduate degree in pharmacy. Pre-Doctor of Pharmacy is a non-degree program that takes 2 years and is required for entering a 4-year program that results in Doctor of Pharmacy degree. For those willing to explore other options related to pharmacy, there is also a 4-year undergraduate Pharmaceutical Sciences program which leads to a bachelor’s degree.

11 Best Undergraduate Pharmacy Schools in The US

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9. University of Iowa

IM Score: 17.2

US News Score: 3.9

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 94.29%

School’s Website

The oldest university in the state and second largest in Iowa has eleven colleges and offers you an opportunity to engage in 200 areas of study. Students who are interested in pharmacy will enroll in the College of Arts and Science that offers pre-pharmacy study. After 2 years, you are expected to take 4 years study at the University’s College of Pharmacy.

11 Best Undergraduate Pharmacy Schools in The US

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8. University of Pittsburgh

IM Score: 17.3

US News Score: 4.1

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 91.59%

School’s Website

The interesting thing about the University of Pittsburgh, is that in 2014 and 2015 all the graduates from School of Pharmacy, one of the best undergraduate pharmacy schools in the US, managed to pass NAPLEX test. As you can see, 2016 generation didn’t repeat the same success. Students who have pharmacy as their main goal begin their studies in the School of Arts and Sciences where they take prerequisite courses. At a junior year level, they are then transferred to School of Pharmacy.

11 Best Undergraduate Pharmacy Schools in The US

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7. University of Florida

IM Score: 17.6

US News Score: 4.1

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 94.30%

School’s Website

This is a great university to attend if you want to check those rumors that life in Florida can be really good. The University of Florida offers you an opportunity to take pre-professional pharmacy curriculum which will prepare you for all the challenges that pharmacy school has.

11 Best Undergraduate Pharmacy Schools in The US

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6. University of Wisconsin – Madison

IM Score: 17.6

US News Score: 4.1

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 94.62%

School’s Website

This entry on our list of best undergraduate pharmacy schools in the US doesn’t offer a pre-pharmacy program, but has a nice substitute. At the University of Wisconsin at Madison you can enroll in the Pharmacology/Toxicology Program that will give you both the foundation for graduate study and also provide an opportunity to seek employment.

11 Best Undergraduate Pharmacy Schools in The US

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5. University of Southern California

IM Score: 17.8

US News Score: 4.1

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 96.45%

School’s Website

School of Pharmacy located at the University of Southern California is one of the best undergraduate pharmacy schools in the US because it offers both freshman and undergraduate students to take part in the Trojan Admission Pre-Pharmacy Program and have priority admission to the four-year Doctor of Pharmacy studies at School of Pharmacy. Students can also choose Science and Management of Biomedical Therapeutic as their minor and gain an even better foundation for their pharmacy studies.

11 Best Undergraduate Pharmacy Schools in The US

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4. Ohio State University

IM Score: 17.8

US News Score: 4.2

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 94.83%

School’s Website

Ohio State University is the nation’s 3rd largest university campus by enrollment in 2016-2017 academic year with 59,482 enrolled students. Like the majority of other universities on the list, Ohio State University also offers a pre-pharmacy program. Pre-pharmacy isn’t considered as a major in the Ohio State University according to official information, but it is recognized as an area of interest.

11 Best Undergraduate Pharmacy Schools in The US

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3. University of Kentucky

IM Score: 17.9

US News Score: 4.2

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 95.20%

School’s Website

This entry on our list of best undergraduate pharmacy schools in the US is also Kentucky’s largest university. It offers a range of programs, including 93 undergraduate and 99 master programs. For those planning to attend the University’s School of Pharmacy, there is a pre-pharmacy program as an area of interests. You will still have to complete your core requirements and major curriculum.

11 Best Undergraduate Pharmacy Schools in The US

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2. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

IM Score: 17.9

US News Score: 4.4

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 91.89%

School’s Website

College of Pharmacy at the University of Michigan offers two programs for undergraduate students. One is a Pharmaceutical Sciences program that allows you to get a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences and also provides a foundation for those willing to pursue a graduate degree in Pharmacy. The second is a Research Experiences for Undergraduates program that offers research experience in various areas to undergraduate students.

11 Best Undergraduate Pharmacy Schools in The US

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1. University of Texas – Austin

IM Score:

US News Score: 4.4

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 96.52%

School’s Website

The University of Texas has the best NAPLEX pass rate on our list of the best undergraduate pharmacy schools in the US, so it isn’t surprising that it finished at the top. For those of you looking to easily obtain their license, this is the school you should go to. The University of Texas offers a special pre-pharmacy program to aspiring pharmacists at its College of Natural Sciences. After you complete your major, you can apply to College of Pharmacy, which will offer you (according to US News) the third best pharmacy education in the entire nation.

11 Best Undergraduate Pharmacy Schools in The US

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