Becoming a Pharmacist in Arkansas with an online pharmd program

Becoming a pharmacist takes time and effort, but it can be a great option if you want to get your doctorate and are interested in the medical field. Getting your PharmD allows you to become a practicing pharmacist, which can be a gratifying and rewarding career.

Not only will you get to help people stay healthy and feel better, but the monetary benefits are excellent as well. In Arkansas, there are currently 2,990 professionally employed in this position. 

Average Pharmacist Salary in Arkansas

In general, pharmacists enjoy high wages and robust quality of life. The average mean salary for pharmacists in Arkansas is $121,970. In comparison, the national mean salary sits at $128,570. Although Arkansas is a bit behind when we compare it to the national average, it evens itself out, considering the lower cost of living compared to other states. 

Arkansas Requirements for Pharmacists 

According to the Pharmacy Board of Arkansas, there are two different ways you can get your license to practice pharmacy in the state. The first is going through the required steps to get your initial license, and the other allows you to transfer it from another state. 

Becoming a New Pharmacist 

If you are new to the field, keep in mind that you’ll have to meet specific requirements to start practicing officially and legally. You’re in a position of public trust, and receiving formal training is necessary.

To become a pharmacist in Arkansas, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Provide proof of a satisfactory scholastic record
  • Graduate from a board-approved school
  • Pass a background check
  • Pass the NAPLEX and the Arkansas Jurisprudence exams
  • Complete 2,000 approved internship hours

You also need to fill out an application for your initial license and pay the required fees before receiving license approval. 

Transferring Your License from Another State 

If you’re a licensed pharmacist in another state, you can transfer it to practice in Arkansas after meeting these requirements:

  • Complete an application for licensure and pay the associated fees
  • Complete the NABP preliminary application for license transfer
  • Successfully pass a background check
  • Receive a passing score on the Arkansas Jurisprudence exam
  • Appear before the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy 

Schools that Offer PharmD in Arkansas  

If you want to go to school in Arkansas to attain your PharmD (Doctorate of Pharmacy), you are in luck. There are two accredited PharmD programs in Arkansas: Harding University and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. These universities are located in Searcy and Little Rock, respectively. 

Harding University 

Harding University offers a 3.5 year long condensed hybrid pharmacy program. During the fall and spring semesters, students will complete classes in-person at the campus in Searcy, Arkansas. In the summer, students will complete courses virtually to accelerate their learning.

Because students are cutting out a whole semester of education, being able to enter the workforce earlier may help them repay their student debt faster.  

Dual degrees are offered within the Harding University pharmacy program. Students may choose a dual degree in conjunction with a Master’s of Business Administration or a Master’s of Science Information Systems.

The secondary program may be completed simultaneously with the pharmacy program or after completion, based on the student’s preference. Students may apply to the program after completing 30 hours of undergrad work, although financial aid will not kick in until they have finished 72 credit hours. 

Harding University boasted a 92% passing score for all alumni first-time NEPLEX takers in 2020. This is a high pass rate and should be appealing to prospective applicants to the program. 

Tuition costs at Harding University vary depending on what year you are in the program. The first and fourth years’ tuition cost is $22,800. The second and third years’ fee is $19,000.

Costs vary due to summer courses that are offered during the first and fourth years. The four years of tuition will cost you $83,600. On top of tuition, keep into consideration that there are other costs, such as:

  • Program fees ($1,000 per fall and spring semesters)
  • Books (an average of $800 per semester)
  • Travel to clinicals ($200 per first three years and $500 for the final year)
  • Technology fee ($250 per semester)
  • A one-time graduation fee ($315)

With the added fees, this program will cost you approximately $100,000 before considering additional living costs such as room and board or even a laptop for school. 

If you are interested in Harding University, you may apply here. Prerequisites include courses in chemistry, math, biology, statistics, speech, English, economics, sociology, and other elective courses.

Prospective students will need a minimum GPA of 2.5 and 72 credit hours before starting the program. Three letters of reference are required during the application process, in addition to a background check and personal interview. 

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences 

The University of Arkansas PharmD program recently received a “Best of the Best” award for being one of the top pharmacy schools. In 2021, the program was ranked 31 out of 134 programs. The program curriculum will take four years to complete and is all on campus in Little Rock. In addition to being a high-ranking program, a few options can be added to the doctorate. 

Two dual degree options in conjunction with the PharmD are a Master’s in Business Administration or a Master’s of Public Health. Students can complete these programs either in person in the evenings or online. Students can determine when they take the courses throughout the program, but they must complete them within six years of beginning their PharmD curriculum. The program is also one of only ten pharmacy programs that offer a specialization in Nuclear Pharmacy. 

U of A has staggered tuition for their pharmacy program depending on where the student resides. In-state students pay $9,640 per semester, students residing in bordering states pay $12,050 per semester, and out-of-state students pay $19,280 per semester.

Other fees and expenses include:

  • $150 patient fee per semester
  • $18 insurance fee per semester
  • $55 pre-NAPLEX fee
  • $100 sterile dispensing fee per semester for the first two years
  • $65 NAPLEX course prep per semester
  • $262 educational experience fee
  • $100 student application fee
  • $125 immunization training
  • $25 professional development fee per semester
  • $15 simulated electronic medical record fee per semester. 

All of these fees add up to a total of $3126. In-state students can expect to pay upwards of $80,246, bordering states will pay $99,526, and out-of-state residents will pay $157,366 for the PharmD degree.

While this is a rough estimate of what you would expect to pay, tuition and fees may increase. This total also does not include living expenses, other general university fees, books, room and board. Financial aid may be available to you to help offset these costs. 

Before being admitted to the program, prospective students are required to have completed 61 credit hours of coursework with a minimum of a 2.5 GPA. Courses are from the following areas: math, chemistry, biology, English, economics, psychology, humanities, and other electives. The PCAT is required for students who have a GPA between 2.5 and 3.3.

Applicants must receive a 30 or higher on this test to qualify for admission to the program. Three reference letters need to be included in the application. Before being admitted, students will participate in a personal interview. No background check is required. 

Online Option – St. John Fisher College 

If you would like an online option to receive your PharmD in Arkansas, St. John Fisher College might be for you. St. John Fisher College is a school in New York that offers an entirely online PharmD program, as opposed to some hybrid options. The 151 credit hour program takes place over four years and includes 2,000 hours of clinical rotations to gain hands-on experience. There is currently no option for a dual degree. 

Tuition is $1,130 per credit hour; the total cost for the program is $181,337. This total does not include the cost of living, such as room and board, other fees, travel to clinicals, or books. Financial aid options are also available to qualifying students. 

Before admission, prospective students need to have completed 62 hours of coursework. Courses from the following areas are required: English, speech, economics, humanities, math, chemistry, physics, and biology. Students must have a GPA of 2.75 or above and two letters of reference. Applicants will complete an interview and may do so online. A criminal background check is also required. If you want more information or would like to apply, follow this link.

Starting Your Pharmacy Career

We’ve covered three schools that allow you to get your PharmD in Arkansas. Keep in mind that these institutions have similar admission requirements, and coursework is similar as well.

For Arkansas students, U of A is the cheaper option. Out-of-state students will pay similar costs for both U of A and Harding University. As for St. John Fisher, it is the more convenient option due to offering online programs, which even out the costs.

Regardless of your choice, becoming a pharmacist in Arkansas is a lucrative opportunity with potential for career growth.