BecomE a Pharmacist in Alabama with an Online PharmD program

The pharmaceutical profession remains one of the most reputable career paths available. The field has come a long way since 2100 BC when the Mesopotamians wrote the first pharmaceutical texts. Over time, and especially after King Frederick II created the notable distinction between general medicine and pharmacy, the profession has grown in leaps and bounds to help treat infections and diseases among the general populace.

Like all other states in the US, Alabama is in constant need of new experts to join the pharmaceutical field. Alabama expects to employ over 220 pharmacists annually in the next 6-8 years, including new and replacement jobs for pharmacists about to retire.

Although studying pharmacy can be a long and arduous process, the benefits are enviable. As of May 2021, the average yearly pay of pharmacists in Alabama ranked at around $126,950. The best part? Due to the technological advancements in our 21st-century world, you can quickly get a pharmaceutical degree online in Alabama. PharmD schools in Alabama offer specialized pharmacy courses for students looking for a hands-on approach to kickstart their pharmaceutical careers.

State Requirements for Pharmacists In Alabama

The Alabama State Board Of Pharmacists (ALBOP) is responsible for overseeing pharmacists statewide. The body governs through the ALBOP Statutes and Rules, which outline their administrative and practical responsibilities.

Licensing Requirements for New Pharmacists

Before you can practice pharmacy in Alabama, you’ll need to get licensed by ALBOP. The first consideration is that you must have completed your Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree at a university approved by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). The application process for new graduates who are intending pharmacists also differs based on whether you have completed your PharmD degree within the state or at an out-of-state university.

To know if you qualify for your PharmD license in Alabama, follow the application process for licensure on the ALBOP website. You’ll need to pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX) and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE). Here’s a list of what you’ll need to qualify:

  • Download the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) Candidate Registration Bulletin for information on how to register for the NAPLEX and MPJE
  • After registering for both tests, return to the ALBOP website to continue your licensure application
  • If you got your PharmD degree at an out-of-state university, you might not need to register for NAPLEX. The only exception to this is if you want the state of Alabama to be your primary license
  • Once you complete the application process on the ALBOP website, NABP will send you an Authorization To Test (ATT) number with which you’ll write your exams
  • Depending on whether you studied in-state or out-of-state, ALBOP will also schedule a time for your interview with board members after you have passed your exams.
  • If you studied out of state, you need to visit the Board Office for your interview. However, if you’ve studied in-state, Board members will visit your school to interview your class as a whole.

Reciprocity

For pharmacists who already have their license in another state but want to work in Alabama, you’ll also need to follow a similar application process as the one above. Here’s what you’ll need to do to get a license to practice pharmacy in Alabama:

  • Visit the NABP website and complete the Electronic Licensure Transfer Program (e-LTP) application form. Also, apply to take the Alabama MPJE
  • Complete the ALBOP online pharmacist application and select ‘Reciprocity’ when filling out the form.
  •  Once your eligibility to take the exam is confirmed, you’ll be sent an ATT with which you can take your exam
  • The Board will send you an interview date after you have passed the AL MPJE and mail your license to you after the interview

Continuing Education

Continuing Education (CE) is another requirement for licensure and renewals in Alabama. Per ALBOP rules, “pharmacists must obtain 30 hours of CE each renewal cycle.”

Since pharmacist license renewals take place every two years, you need to complete 15 hours of CE each year to meet the requirement. The Board also stipulates that 6 out of these 30 hours must be ‘live,’ meaning they must not be pre-recorded. Continuing Education hours must also be ALBOP or ACPE-approved.

Career Paths for PharmD Graduates

Pharmacy has evolved to mean more than just a job involving dispensing medicines to patients. Over the last three decades, pharmacists have made groundbreaking innovations in discovering new treatment strategies for those suffering from infections.

Whether behind the drug counter or in a laboratory, a pharmacist offers a unique approach to improving patient welfare. Some career options open to pharmacists include the following:

  • Research scientist
  • Hospital pharmacist
  • Pharmacologist
  • Clinical pharmacist
  • Drug safety officer
  • Pharmaceutical education pharmacist

Salary Outlook for Pharmacists in Alabama

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, the 2020 median pay for pharmacists stands at $128,710. This figure rises based on the skill and experience of the pharmacist. In Alabama, pharmacists can earn between $126,048 to $142,492 annually. The benchmark for most pharmacists in the state rests at $133,778. See our complete Doctor of Pharmacy salary guide.

Universities Offering Online PharmD Degrees in Alabama

There are only two schools of pharmacy in Alabama–Samford University and Auburn University. The ACPE accredits both schools to offer PharmD degrees, and they rank in the top percentile of best pharmacy schools in the US.

McWhorter School of Pharmacy, Samford University

The McWhorter School of Pharmacy runs the pharmacy program at Samford University. Currently ranked as the #2 best private school of pharmacy in the country, admission into the PharmD program is highly competitive and based solely on merit. Students will be expected to apply through the Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS) in their sophomore year as students of Samford.

High school students will also be considered for the PharmD program through the Early Assurance program. Here, high school seniors who have distinguished themselves will be accepted into the PharmD program pending the completion of their pre-pharmacy curriculum.

The tuition fee for the PharmD program at Samford University for pharmaceutical students annually is currently $39,490. There are also some extra expenses to consider alongside the full tuition amount. Financial aid and scholarship opportunities are also available for exemplary students throughout the program.

Harrison School of Pharmacy, Auburn University

The Harrison School of Pharmacy (HSOP), Auburn University, is the second university in Alabama that offers a PharmD program. HSOP ranks in the top 25 percentile of pharmacy schools in the United States. For the past 135 years and counting, the university has successfully trained professionals in the pharmaceutical profession. Many of these pharmaceutical experts have gone on to make lasting impacts in healthcare worldwide.

Enrolment in the PharmD program at HSOP is similar to that of the McWhorter School of Pharmacy, Samford University. Students will also need to apply through the PharmCAS system after completing the pre-pharmacy program either at Auburn University or another accredited institution. Special consideration will also be given to exemplary high school and undergraduate students who have demonstrated their academic prowess through admission into HSOP’s Early Assurance program.

It should be noted that Auburn University accepts and prioritizes admission applications on a rolling basis. Admission into the program is also highly competitive, based on the university’s resources at the time. Those who meet the university’s initial screening criteria will expect to be called in for an interview to determine whether or not they’ll be admitted into the PharmD program.

Successful applicants will be notified of their admission into either the primary or mobile campus. Auburn University uses the Practice Ready Curriculum (PRC) to train its students per the dynamic and ever-changing characteristics of the pharmaceutical profession. According to the university, the PRC is HSOP’s bold vision for Pharmacy Education.

The tuition fees at HSOP vary for residents and out-of-state students. The university also provides financial aid for students who need the funds to complete their PharmD degree program. The rate of financial aid allocated is usually dependent on financial need, and there are also scholarship opportunities for deserving students throughout the PharmD program.

Wegmans School of Pharmacy, St. John Fisher College

The world is changing, and in light of technological advancements in every sector, this change is geared towards the digitalization of our world. This change is very much welcome, even when it comes to earning a degree. The Wegmans School of Pharmacy at St. John Fisher College is at the top of this movement, offering a first-class approach to obtaining a pharmacy degree online.

Although hybrid in its approach, this ACPE-certified online school of pharmacy program is as intense as conventional on-campus programs. Students applying to the program will have to meet the same standards—application through PharmCAS, minimum GPA requirements, virtual/in-person interviews, and those running an on-campus pharmacy program.

St. John Fisher College is located in New York City, and its goal is to provide students with a clinically-oriented pathway for world-class education, albeit online. The student-learning experience explores key online learning strategies through group projects for coursework, experiential learning, and clinical rotations to give students the hands-on experience they need as future pharmacists.

Tuition fees are around $181,337, not including housing fees or funds for textbooks and other materials. Scholarship opportunities are available on the college’s Student Financial Services website, and the school also prioritizes financial aid for those who need the funds to complete their degree. Applying for financial aid is seamless and free.

Kickstarting Your Pharmaceutical Career in Alabama

Fees for both schools mentioned above are pretty affordable, but the cheaper option is for you to attend the Harrison School of Pharmacy, Auburn University. However, the more convenient option depending on your lifestyle, is the remote option offered by St. John Fisher College. Regardless of your choice, both schools place you on the right track to becoming a successful pharmacist in Alabama.