Catawba students can get some of the best clinical experience by shadowing a pharmacist or working as a pharmacy technician in a pharmacy or health-related setting such as a hospital or nursing home. We recommend students seek out these opportunities as early and often as possible, keeping an accurate and detailed journal of your experiences including dates, locations, contact information, and if it was paid or volunteer-based. The number of hours and type of work involved should also be recorded. If you are unable to gain clinical or volunteer experience directly related to pharmacy, contact the admissions office of the pharmacy school to which you plan to apply for a list of experiences they would accept which adequately demonstrate your knowledge of the profession.
Advising to Meet Pharmacy School Requirements
PREPARE TO help people live healthier lives with a career as a pharmacist.
There are no “Pre-Pharmacy” majors at colleges and universities. Most pharmacy schools do not require that you major in science-related field, but do require that you complete the prerequisite coursework. Because much of the required coursework is in the sciences, most Pre-Pharmacy students select Biology, Biochemistry, or Chemistry as their majors. As long as the required prerequisite courses are taken, any major can be pursued. Be sure to check each of your prospective Pharmacy program’s prerequisite course requirements, as they can vary from institution to institution.
You should let your academic advisor know as soon as possible that admission to pharmacy school is your post-graduation goal. Your advisor will work with you to ensure that you take the required prerequisite coursework, complete the required hours of clinical experience if necessary, and mentor you towards research experiences that will broaden your training and make your application stand out.
If you are interested in helping people live healthier lives, then a diverse and rewarding career in Pharmacy might just what the doctor ordered. As a pharmacist, you can help improve the quality of life for patients on a daily basis and be involved in patient care, research, and innovation.
Catawba College students interested in pursuing a career a pharmacist can branch out into many different areas such as community practice, pharmaceutical research and development, hospital pharmacy, nuclear pharmacy, consultant pharmacy, long-term and health care pharmacy, and government pharmacy. While the responsibilities vary among these areas of pharmacy practice, the common underlying thread is that pharmacists help patients get well.
SETTING GOALS FOR ADMISSION TO PHARMACY SCHOOL
It usually takes at least two years of specific undergraduate study to earn the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree, followed by four academic years of professional pharmacy study. Most students enter a pharmacy degree program after completion of three or more years of college.
The average GPA of the admitted class at most pharmacy schools is 3.5 and the average score on the PCAT is 400 (50th percentile). To be considered competitive, Catawba Pre-Pharmacy students should aim to score in the 70th percentile or better. Generally, out-of-state students should be expected to need higher scores, as preference is often given to in-state applicants.
We highly recommend that students planning to attend pharmacy school call the admissions offices at the institutions at which they wish to apply and ask for the average GPA and PCAT scores for their most recent admitted class. Those scores should be the goal!
EXPERIENCES THAT WILL HELP YOU GET INTO PHARMACY SCHOOL
While it is important to have good GPA and PCAT scores, pharmacy schools want to know that they are admitting well-rounded individuals that demonstrate good judgment, dependability, and attention to detail. Pharmacy schools also want to know that as a Pharmacist, you will have high ethical standards, communicate well with others, be organized with medical records, and stay current on your knowledge about medications to ensure each patient has optimal results. There are many experiences that you can have while at Catawba College to demonstrate your commitment to these qualities:
Students at Catawba College have the option of doing an Independent Study with a faculty member. Look into summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) through the National Science Foundation (NSF) and internships at the North Carolina Research Campus.
Network and make connections with professionals that can write good letters of recommendation. Most programs require 1-4 letters of evaluation or recommendations, several of which should be from a practicing pharmacist and professor or academic advisor. Select individuals who know you well and can speak to your maturity, dependability, dedication, compassion, communication skills, leadership and any hands-on experience in the field.
Get experience working well with others by becoming an active participant in one or more of the many clubs and organizations at Catawba College.