Becoming a Pharmacist in Connecticut – THE PharmD Program

Pharmacy is a very diverse career, providing the opportunity to be an essential part of patient care, scientific research and innovation. With over 300 job openings every year in Connecticut, you are assured a variety of positions to choose from that best suit you.

Being a Pharmacist (PharmD) consists of many important roles, such as preparing and distributing medication, ensuring each medicine and dose is correct, making sure there are no unsafe drug interactions and giving counsel to patients on the safe uses of their prescriptions. A PharmD plays a pertinent role in the health and safety of every patient. In that regard, it is a desirable career and comes with the utmost stability.

Salary of a Pharmacist in Connecticut

Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the national medium Pharmacist salary is $128,570. Connecticut comes in above average at $131,027. Salary is based on several factors such as location, years of experience, education and additional skills. This promises many opportunities to work up the pay scale over the years.

Requirements to Become a Pharmacist in the State of Connecticut

A license is necessary to practice pharmacy in the state of Connecticut. Requirements to become licensed are:

  • Must pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX) with a score of 75% or higher
  • Must pass the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE) with a score of 75% or higher
  • 1500 internship hours
  • Obtain a degree from an accredited Pharmacy Program
  • No criminal record
  • At least 18 years of age
  • Application fee of $200
  • A passport-style photo

To maintain a pharmacist license in Connecticut, pharmacists need 15 Continuing Education credits every year. One credit needs to be on the topic of pharmacy law.

Accredited Online Pharmacy Programs

St John Fisher College is an institution that offers the same on-campus curriculum to students all over the United States. Not only do they provide the same higher education to their online students, but they also allow them to complete all of their clinical rotations in their own community versus traveling each year. St John Fisher College has ranked in the top 20% of pharmacy programs in the United States. Since opening its Wegman School of Pharmacy in 2006, St John Fisher College has accrued years of experience to offer every student a thorough and personalized learning experience.

Admission Requirements for St John Fisher College Pharmacy Program:

  • Complete and submit an application through Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS)
  • Official transcripts from all institutions you have attended
  • Two or more Letters of Recommendation
  • Complete an admissions interview. This can be done in-person or virtually
  • Complete 62 semester hours of prerequisite credits. All science lab-based courses must have all been completed in the past five years
  • Have a 2.75 GPA or higher in both science and cumulative courses. This is the minimum GPA. Most students admitted to the program are accepted with a much higher GPA.
  • Pass a background check

Scholarships and grants are available at St John Fisher College. All freshman applicants are automatically considered for a scholarship. Most scholarships range between $7,500 to $18,000 a year.

Pharmacy online students are billed per credit hour instead of an annual lump sum. Let’s review the tuition and fees needed to attend St John Fisher College:

  • Pharmacy fee per credit- $1,175
  • Comprehensive fee- $15
  • Online Pathway fee- $15

Another online option for a pharmacy program is Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM). Though this program is located in Pennsylvania, its online program can be taken in any state from the comfort of your own home. Something to consider with this online program is that you will be required to travel to Bradenton, Florida, each summer for up to three weeks at a time. During those visits to Florida, you will fulfill the presentation, laboratory and casework portions of your curriculum. This obligation may be more than some can commit to, so consider that when choosing your online school options.

Admission Requirements for LECOM:

  • Show proof of United State Citizenship, Permanent USA residency, or an F-1 Visa
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Complete 54 semester hours of prerequisite courses with an accredited institution. You will need to provide transcripts.
  • A GPA of 2.7 or higher.
  • Complete an interview
  • Write a short assessment to be handed in at your interview
  • Two Letters of Recommendation. One of those letters must be written by a Science Professor.
  • Fill out and complete the application by the appropriate date

LECOM offers scholarships every year to its students. Those scholarship funds vary every year depending on fundraising.

For those that are not eligible to get scholarships, here are tuition and fees to consider:

  • Tuition cost for year one- $29,315
  • Tuition cost for year two- $29,315
  • Tuition cost for year three- $28,885
  • Tuition cost for year four- $28,605
  • Curriculum fee- $350
  • Technology fee- $1,300
  • Graduation fee- $300
  • Book fee- $100
  • Late tuition fees- $50 per week
  • Transcript fee- $10
  • Student Government fee- $50
  • Student Health Insurance fee- varies

Accredited Campus Pharmacy Programs

University of Connecticut (Uconn) has been offering a Pharmacy Program since 1925 and can be found in Storrs, Connecticut. Uconn prides itself in offering unique co-curricular tracks and independent study opportunities. The university has formed close relationships with community hospitals, federally-qualified health centers and community pharmacies across Connecticut. This allows students to truly prepare themselves and get the hands-on experience needed for a future in the pharmacy field.

Admission requirements for first-year students:

  • Submit an application
  • Official transcripts from high school
  • Complete college preparation classes: four years of English, three years of math (Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry), two years of Social Studies, two years of Foreign Language, two years of Laboratory Science and three years of Electives
  • GPA: there is no set requirement. Higher GPAs are looked more favorably upon
  • A personal essay is required. It must be 250-650 words
  • Two Letters of Recommendation or not required, buy highly looked upon

Admission requirements for UConn’s Pharmacy Program:

  • Submit an application along with the application fee
  • Official transcripts from all institutions you have studied at
  • Proof of Residency
  • Complete prerequisites General Chemistry 1 and 2 (with labs), Foundations of Biology, Physics, College Writing and Calculus
  • Submit a personal statement articulating your educational and professional pharmacy goals. This statement is limited to one page (4500 words)
  • Two Letters of Recommendation. One of these letters must be written by an academic professor
  • Official scores from the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) must be submitted
  • GPA: there is no minimum GPA required though higher GPAs are looked highly upon
  • Complete an interview
  • Pass a background check

Tuition and fees to consider for the Pharmacy Program:

  • Tuition- $24,054
  • General University fee- $1,914
  • Infrastructure Maintenance fee- $468
  • Student Government fee- $96
  • Student Union fee- $46
  • Transit fee- $120
  • Technology fee- $150

University of Saint Joseph School of Pharmacy is a private university in Hartford, CT. It was founded in 1932 and offers students undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs. The Doctor of Pharmacy courses offered at most universities follow a four-year curriculum. The University of Saint Joseph offers the same PharmD degree in as little as three years. The University of Saint Joseph’s Doctor of Pharmacy program takes an experiential education approach. During the program, you can dive right into clinical practice in a community or institutional pharmacy to obtain hands-on experience.

Admission requirements for first-year students:

  • Submit an application
  • Official high school transcripts
  • Official SAT or ACT scores
  • Submit an essay of 250 words or more
  • A Letter of Recommendation from a high school teacher
  • An interview with a staff member is highly suggested, though not required

Admission requirements for the Pharmacy Program:

  • Submit an application through Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS)
  • Personal statement that describes your reasons and goals for pursuing a career in pharmacy
  • Official transcripts from all institutions you have attended
  • Optional test scores from MCAT, DAT, PCAT or GRE
  • Letters of Recommendations. One letter must be from a science professor
  • If you are selected for an interview, you will need to provide official college transcripts

Tuition and fees will vary per year. Let us take a look at the undergraduate term fees and graduate pharmacy program fees.

Undergraduate Fees:

  • Tuition- $21,025
  • Comprehensive fee- $1,008
  • Student Activity fee- $150

Graduate Fees:

  • Tuition first and second year- $18,459
  • Tuition third year- $27,689
  • Comprehensive fee- $524

Job Prospects

Besides traditional drugstores or community pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens, you can enter the field of pharmacy with such career options as a pediatric pharmacist, veterinary pharmacist, poison control pharmacist, and medical science liaison in various settings:

  • Hospitals
  • Emergency departments and trauma centers
  • State government agencies
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturers
  • Academy

Job opportunities are endless for someone with a PharmD degree. After you decide what work you specifically want to do with your degree, you can focus on a company that works best for your lifestyle, along with the idea of possibly starting your own pharmaceutical practice.