The decision to go to a professional school like pharmacy school is a very important one and requires a good deal of thought and research on the student’s part. Going to a professional school is neither easy nor cheap, so students should take their preparation very seriously. TJC offers students the necessary coursework they need and can prepare them for the admission process.
Becoming a Pharmacist
The role of the pharmacist has evolved from one who simply fills prescriptions to that of an active member of the primary health care team. Not only are pharmacists often the first health professional consulted by patients, they are also likely to be the final health care team member with whom the patient consults before taking a prescription drug. Since the pharmacist interacts with patients at such critical times, they play a vital role in patient education and must be able to communicate effectively with individuals from all social and economic backgrounds. Pharmacists work not only in retail stores, but in hospitals, medical care facilities, and other health-related businesses.
Although you can be accepted to a pharmacy school with only two or three years of college coursework, many individuals complete a four-year bachelor's degree beforehand. The deans of the pharmacy schools in Texas believe that students tend to perform better when they are taking courses that satisfy degree requirements. Students are therefore encouraged to choose a program of study leading to the baccalaureate degree and to strive for grades of "B" or better. Prospective pharmacy students may major in any subject area as long as they successfully complete the required courses. All Texas schools require that students take the Pharmacy College Application Test (PCAT) as part of the application process. This test covers biology, chemistry, math, reading comprehension, verbal ability, and writing. Most students take the test in the summer or fall of the year before they would begin pharmacy school, and applications are submitted during this same timeframe. Since admission is highly competitive, with more applicants than there are class positions, interested students should have high grade point averages and high PCAT scores. The average GPA is 3.4 and competitive applicants have PCAT scores above the 75% percentile.
If an applicant is granted an interview, the pharmacy schools will be looking for students who demonstrate intelligence, a strong record of academic achievement, good communication skills, compassion, motivation, maturity, and a high degree of personal integrity. Good grades and participation in school organizations and volunteer work demonstrate the ability to manage time and set priorities, traits schools look for in applicants. Even more important is evidence that an applicant understands the work of a pharmacist. Working or volunteering in a pharmacy environment (retail or otherwise) is a good experience for students to have and it demonstrates an interest in the profession. Many students work as a pharmacy technician while they are completing the prerequisite courses. Students can also contact a pharmacist and get permission to shadow.
The primary degree awarded by pharmacy schools today is a doctor of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree because this is the entry level degree required by the profession. Earning this degree requires four years of professional education beyond the undergraduate work. In the state of Texas, successful graduates of a school of pharmacy are eligible to apply to the Texas State Board of Pharmacy to take the state licensure examinations immediately after graduation. No postgraduate internship experience is currently required.
According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the average annual salary of pharmacists is $116,000.
Though specific science and mathematics requirements for each pharmacy school vary slightly, completion of the courses below are requirements for most Texas pharmacy schools. All science courses should be courses which will satisfy the requirements for a major in one of the basic sciences. Except for a microbiology course for science majors, all of these may be taken at TJC.
- BIOL 1406/1407 - Majors Biology I and II
- 4 semester hours of Microbiology
- CHEM 1411/1412 General Chemistry I and II
- CHEM 2423/2425 Organic Chemistry I and II
- MATH 1342 Statistics
- MATH 2413 Calculus
- PHYS 1401 College Physics I OR PHYS 2425 University Physics I
- ENGL 1301/1302 Composition I and II
Most pharmacy schools require a course in some of these subjects, all of which are available at TJC. They are also core requirements to earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
- 3 semester hours of speech
- 3 semester hours of English literature
- Courses in social sciences (e.g., economics, psychology, sociology)
- Courses in American history and government
Additional sciences that are sometimes required, and certainly helpful, are:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Genetics (BIOL 2416 at TJC)
- 3 semester hours in an upper-level course related to human biology (e.g., biochemistry, virology, molecular biology)
Please use the Texas pharmacy school links at the bottom of the page to obtain the most current information. It is the student's responsibility to make certain they meet the particular prerequisites for the program to which they wish to apply. These prerequisites can change at the discretion of the program.
Links to Texas Pharmacy Schools
- UT Tyler Ben and Maytee Fisch College of Pharmacy
- Texas Tech University School of Pharmacy
- University of Houston College of Pharmacy
- University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy
- Texas A&M University Kingsville School of Pharmacy
- Texas Southern University College of Pharmacy
- University of the Incarnate-Word Feik School of Pharmacy
- University of North Texas System College of Pharmacy