Pharmacists earn a doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree, which most commonly involves a four-year program. Graduates must then pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) to obtain their Registered Pharmacist (RPh) license. At that point, they may choose to apply for a residency program for additional general clinical training during the first year and training in a specific area during the second year.

Pre-pharmacy students need a solid background in math and science, which can be accomplished by majoring in Biochemistry. Other science majors as well as non-science majors are suitable, provided that the necessary pre-requisite courses are completed. Because coursework requirements vary from school to school, it is essential for students to become familiar with the specific prerequisites of the pharmacy schools to which they intend to apply. Effective communication is essential for pharmacists, so required and recommended courses often include Communications, English, and other humanities courses.

Applicants must score well on the Pharmacy College Admission Test. Some schools accept students who apply in the summer following their third year, but the most competitive candidates apply after their fourth year or later, when they have a college degree and some clinical experience.