Academic Preparation for Admission into Texas Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) Programs
Pharmacists are a vital part of a complete health care system. The increasing numbers of middle-aged and elderly people, who use more prescription drugs than younger people, will continue to spur demand for pharmacists in all employment settings and the pharmacist workforce will continue to see stability and expansion. In addition, new developments in genome research and medication distribution systems will increase the number of drug products available. As a result, the ever increasingly sophisticated health care consumer will attempt to seek out more and more resources for drug information, to determine the best prescription drug coverage plans for them, and investigate the new Medicare drug coverage program. All of this will contribute to the growth and stability within the pharmacy profession.
The work environment for pharmacy continues to transform with the increasing needs within health care. Pharmacy settings are diverse: chain stores, independent, consulting, government agencies such as National Institutes of Health (NIH), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), academia, industry, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, home care settings, research centers, poison control centers, mail order, drug wholesalers, and pharmacy governing bodies. One national compensation survey conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting reported the average salary of a staff pharmacist at $92,000.
There are 104 Colleges and Schools of Pharmacy in the United States. The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) website, www.aacp.org, lists 91 Schools of Pharmacy that are AACP Regular Institutional Members, five Associate Institutional Members, and eight Affiliate Institutional Members. The American Council on Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE), www.acpe.org, accredits U.S. colleges of pharmacy. There are six colleges of pharmacy located within Texas: Texas A & M University-Kingsville, Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas Tech at Amarillo, University of Houston, University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio, and University of Texas at Austin.
A pre-pharmacy student possesses a conscientious mindset, strong verbal and written communication skills, an ability to pay attention to detail, and sound decision-making ability. Most students are in a pre-pharmacy or pre-medical science program prior to applying to pharmacy school and have a strong background (major and minor) in the natural sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics). A student can be any major as long as all pre-pharmacy requirements are met for the specific Pharmacy Program(s) the student is applying for entry. Most students take an average of 2½ to 3 years to complete course prerequisites for any of the pharmacy colleges and possess an overall 3.4 GPA or better. Although a prior degree is not required, it is highly recommended.
All Texas Pharmacy Programs require the PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test) for admission consideration. The PCAT requires comprehension in the areas of chemistry, biology, quantitative analysis, verbal ability, reading writing. The student should take the PCAT the summer or fall prior to the year they plan to apply. Scores of 70% in all sections of the PCAT are considered competitive scores for most colleges. A student may take the PCAT exam more than once.
Pharmacy experience is helpful and encouraged. The community service and pharmacy experience should be evident in the interview process revealing the student’s passion and sensitivity toward others and the profession. The pharmacy technician certification is not a requirement for admission.
All Texas colleges admit students only in the fall semester and are not a part of PharmCAS, a centralized application service. The student desiring to apply to other states should visit the website, www.pharmcas.org, and determine which of those colleges require the centralized process.
Serious students seeking Pharmacy career opportunities should seek advisement from the Office of Medical & Allied Health Programs. The specialized sequence of coursework meets basic prerequisite needs of the Texas Pharm. D programs within the scope of a generalized natural science major and minor. This approach provides the greatest flexibility for alternative strategies should they be necessary.
The pre-pharmacy curriculum listed here serves as a guide for the biology major / chemistry minor. Other academic majors and minors can be used, but may require more coursework than the usual 120-hour baccalaureate.
For further information on pharmacy programs in Texas contact:
Texas Southern University
College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
3100 Cleburne Street
Houston, Texas 77004
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
School of Pharmacy
1300 S. Coulter St
Amarillo, TX 79106
University of Houston
College of Pharmacy
141 Science & Research II Bldg
Houston, Texas 77204
American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
American Society of Healthcare
– System Pharmacists
National Association of Chain Drug Stores
American Pharmaceutical Association (APhA)
American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)