Becoming a Pharmacist in Massachusetts – Doctor of Pharmacy Degrees

Several paths for obtaining gainful employment in Massachusetts exist, including becoming a pharmacist. However, before you become a pharmacist, you need to complete your PharmD degree. The Pharm D is a six-year program that grants graduates the Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Completing this program in Massachusetts gives you multiple financial and quality of life benefits, and you can use it to work as a pharmacist in any US state.

Career Paths for PharmD Graduates

One of the benefits of having a PharmD is that it allows you to work in multiple fields in your industry. A few examples include:

  • Clinical pharmacist
  • Community pharmacist
  • Consultant pharmacist
  • Veterinary pharmacist
  • Geriatric pharmacist

Your career path as a dentist can also reflect your personal preferences and interests, making it more enjoyable. If you have a passion for pets and animals, you can enter the veterinary field with this degree. And since the pharmacy field is continuously improving from research and innovation, you can use it to pursue stem cell research and other medical innovations by breaking into it as a consulting pharmacist.

Job Prospects for PharmD Graduates in Massachusetts

In 2021, Massachusetts employed 7,480 pharmacists. In total, the field employed 322,200 pharmacists in 2020. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that the number of jobs for licensed pharmacists throughout the United States will remain fairly even.

As veteran pharmacists retire, the new generation will fill open positions, continuing to make this a viable career path for those interested in medicine, pharmaceuticals, innovation, and research. Positions will also become available as the field experiences attrition.

Salary Outlook for Massachusetts Pharmacists

Entering an onsite or online PharmD program is an investment in your future. The amount of study that pharmacy students complete receives comparable compensation. In addition to obtaining a PharmD, professional pharmacists must obtain a license to practice in their state. This requires you to pass two tests.

The median hourly wage for pharmacists in Massachusetts hovers at $57.81 in 2021. The average hourly salary stands at $61.62. Overall, Massachusetts pharmacists have the potential to earn up to $120,240 annually.

On a national scale, licensed pharmacists earn a median hourly wage of $61.88. The hourly average equals a median annual salary of $128,710.

Typical duties for licensed pharmacists include:

  • Dispensing prescription medications
  • Consulting with patients on how to consume prescriptions

Licensed pharmacists work in:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Pharmacies
  • Drug stores
  • Grocery stores

Therefore, licensed Massachusetts pharmacists can work in an array of environments.

Massachusetts Requirements for Pharmacists

After obtaining your PharmD, the next step is to get your state license. The license makes you employable in Massachusetts. A Massachusetts pharmacist license has several requirements.

The requirements are:

  • Pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX)
  • Pass the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE)
  • Complete 1500 internship hours as a pharmacist
  • Show proof of your PharmD from an accredited College of Pharmacy
  • Have no criminal record
  • Have a good moral character
  • Be at least 18 years of age

In addition, you must pay the fees. For example, the fees to take the NAPLEX and MPJE will cost $421 total in 2022.

Renewing your Massachusetts pharmacist license takes place every two years by the 31st of December. To renew it, you must satisfy the requirements and pay the fees of $150.

Renewal requirements include:

  • At least 20 hours of continuing education annually
  • At least 40 hours of continuing education every two years

All pharmacist licensing applications, renewals, signing up for tests, and reinstatements go through the State’s Board of Registration in Pharmacy.

Top Massachusetts Schools for PharmD Programs

Most Massachusetts PharmD programs provide pathways for entering undergraduate first-year students, transfers, and graduate students. Depending on the path, the requirements for admission vary. For the most part, all hopefuls must have a:

  • High school diploma
  • Undergraduate degree
  • Grades of C or above in Math and Science courses

Let’s explore the top Massachusetts schools for PharmD.

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Massachusetts is home to the second-oldest university of pharmacy in the United States, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS). MCPHS has trained more pharmacists than any other institution in the world. After earning your PharmD at MCPHS, you have the option to continue your education and earn specialty certificates.

MCPHS provides the latest equipment and technologies to its students. You have access to product libraries, on-campus classrooms, and laboratories for a truly immersive experience and education. More importantly, the school provides students with practical knowledge to help them advance their careers.

Applicants have three PharmD options at MCPHS:

  • Direct Entry in Boston
  • Accelerated in Manchester and Worcester
  • Postbaccalaureate Pathway, online

Each program has a set of requirements.

Essential Facts:

  • Estimated tuition hovers at $158,000 total and $39,500 annually 
  • The estimated class size is 301 students
  • The acceptance rate stands at 19%
  • Private institution

Hopefuls should prepare for an interview and provide at least one letter of recommendation.

Northeastern University Bouve College of Health Sciences School of Pharmacy

The Northeastern University Bouve College of Health Sciences School of Pharmacy PharmD program boasts several accolades.

It receives funding from the National Institutes of Health for research and works with over 120 affiliates in the medical field, including hospitals, clinics, and private companies. An estimated 98% of its graduates pass the NAPLEX. Moreover, an estimated 98% of its students obtain employment or continue their education within one year of graduation.

The School of Pharmacy at Northeastern takes a different approach to pharmacy student learning. It uses experiential learning in a cooperative educational environment. Students participate in up to 48 weeks of practical experience that helps satisfy requirements set down by the Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience and Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.

With its rigorous program, this school seeks individuals with a specific set of characteristics, such as:

  • Intellectual abilities
  • Superior communication skills
  • Outstanding behavioral and social capabilities
  • Exceptional motor skills

High school students can obtain an early start in the pharmacist field through the School of Pharmacy at Northeastern. Designed for entering undergraduate freshmen, the Early Assurance Pathway is a six-year program with three co-ops.

In addition, Northeastern provides educational pathways for transfer and graduate students too.

Essential Facts:

  • Estimated tuition hovers at $209,000 total and $52,420 annually 
  • Estimated class size is 116 students
  • Accepted rate stands at 11%
  • Private institution

The admissions process includes an interview and requires at least two letters of recommendation.

Western New England University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Students who complete the PharmD program at Western New England University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences will enter the field prepared for what the future holds. It focuses on ensuring students work with technology in lab settings and pharmacy settings. Students also become members of the off-campus community by providing services that double as training sessions.

The College Pharmacy and Health Sciences of Western New England University prepares students to pass the NAPLEX and MPJE exams on the first try. The program has found that 91.5% and 86.6% of their graduates pass each respectively on the first try. Both statistics remain above the national averages.

Like other programs in Massachusetts, Western New England University allows students dual degree opportunities.

As of 2022, the New England University continues developing its online distance pathway PharmD program. Once it receives accreditation, students will have the flexibility to learn on their schedules.

Essential Facts:

  • Estimated tuition hovers at $171,600 total and $42,900 annually 
  • Estimated class size is 59 students
  • Accepted rate stands at 23%
  • Private institution

The school conducts an interview and requires at least two letters of recommendation.

Wegmans School of Pharmacy at St. John Fisher College

For a flexible online option that allows you to participate remotely, you can choose the Wegmans School of Pharmacy at St. John Fisher College for a PharmD program.

The year 2020 changed people’s perceptions of online learning. Despite the initial challenges of COVID, more people realized that remote study and employment were the better options. If this sounds right for you, Wegmans School of Pharmacy is an excellent choice due to its positive track record and students’ experiences that last well after graduation.

Wegmans School of Pharmacy announced that 100% of its PharmD 2020 graduates obtained employment after graduation. Plus, 87% of its graduates passed the NAPLEX and MPJE on the first try.

Although a good portion of the program takes place online, at least 30% of the curriculum is experiential learning. The staff promotes excellence, the program remains student-centered, and the expert faculty gives students valuable insights.

Essential Facts:

  • Estimated tuition hovers at $165,864 total and $41,446 annually 
  • The estimated class size is 83 students
  • The acceptance rate stands at 25%
  • Private institution

Hopefuls must prepare for an interview and submit at least two letters of recommendation.

Starting Your Pharmacy Career in Massachusetts

Successful pharmacists have common traits such as a good memory, detail-oriented, patient, and achiever. If you have these traits, among others, and a passion for public health and the pharmaceutical field, you have put yourself on your way to gainful employment. The next step is to obtain your PharmD at one of the above pharmacy schools in Massachusetts or online.