How to become a pharmacist

Here you will find a step-by-step list of the steps to take toward your doctor of pharmacy degree and some tips on a successful application to pharmacy school. 

  1. Learn more about the profession and various pharmacy career pathways by visiting
  2. Identify two to three pharmacy schools of interest using the PharmCAS School Directory.
  3. Visit your selected pharmacy schools’ admissions websites to learn more about their doctor of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program and application requirements. Information on VCU School of Pharmacy’s Pharm.D. program can be found here.
  4. Create a list of application requirements including prerequisite coursework requirements.
  5. Schedule an appointment with your selected pharmacy schools to meet their admissions representative, learn more about their Pharm.D. program, and confirm the application requirements.
  6. Register for prerequisite coursework at an accredited two- or four-year institution needed to apply for pharmacy school. VCU School of Pharmacy requires 52 credits; this will likely take about two years to complete if you take summer courses as well.
  7. Sign up for an Open House to meet students and faculty at the schools you’re interested in. This will help you learn more about the culture and curriculum.
  8. While completing prerequisites, learn more about the profession. Some options include volunteering with a pharmacy, “shadowing” a professional pharmacist, or working as a licensed pharmacy technician. VCU School of Pharmacy does not require pharmacy-related experience; however, community engagement is incredibly important. Some students take advantage of pathway programs to enhance their applications.
  9. After completing 50% of prerequisite courses, schedule another appointment with your selected pharmacy schools to discuss your progress and receive advice on completing your application.
  10. Visit the PharmCAS website to learn more about the online application process used by all schools of pharmacy.
  11. After completing 75% of prerequisite courses and confirming your standing with your selected pharmacy schools, begin your pharmacy school application on the PharmCAS site and submit all supplemental materials.
  12. The preliminary pharmacy school application review begins after you have submitted a completed application and it has been verified by PharmCAS. If you are considered a qualified applicant, you will be invited to complete a pharmacy school interview. All qualified applicants must complete an interview to gain admissions to pharmacy school. After the interview is completed, an admissions decision is made.
  13. Once admitted to the Pharm.D. program, you will complete your training within three or four years depending on your school’s curriculum. VCU School of Pharmacy’s Pharm.D. program is a four-year program.
  14. After completing all necessary coursework for your pharmacy degree, all Pharm.D. students are required to complete the pharmacist licensure exam and state board requirements.
  15. Once you’ve passed the licensure exam and have met the state board requirements, you are able to legally practice pharmacy. Congratulations!