Get Your PharmD in New Jersey 

If you’re thinking about a degree in pharmacy, now is a great time to invest in your education. Pharmacists are needed nationwide as more people need comprehensive healthcare and new, changing medications. These professionals no longer simply dispense medication and give patients advice regarding adverse reactions. A pharmacist’s job has become much more complex and challenging over the years but ultimately more rewarding for aspiring students as well.

The role of the pharmacist is starting to change as well, so the school you choose needs to be ahead of those changes. With new healthcare reform legislation, pharmacists will be providing roles as scientists, communicators concerning public health, experts in medication safety as well as patient advocates in the healthcare community.  

Pharmacist Job Outlook in Coming Years

While employment opportunities in healthcare overall are expected to rise by 16% (according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics), retail pharmacist jobs across the nation are growing at a much slower rate. That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of jobs out there. In New Jersey alone, it’s estimated that over 400 new pharmacist jobs will open up every year until 2028. Although this is a lower percentage than the national average, it still gives hope to hopefuls. 

There are also different career paths in pharmacy you could take instead of becoming a retail pharmacist. After getting your Doctor of Pharmacy degree, you could pursue a career as a consultant pharmacist, get into veterinary or geriatric pharmacy, become a public health advisor, or pursue legal pathways and become a pharmaceutical law and regulations professional. You don’t have to work behind the counter dispensing medications if that doesn’t appeal to you.

Average Salary for Pharmacists in New Jersey 

The average annual salary for pharmacists in New Jersey is approximately $122,810, though starting out pharmacists who have less than five years of experience will typically make about $99,000 per year.

Specializations such as dietetic, geriatric and primary care pharmacists can make from 47% to 69% more per year compared to community pharmacists who typically work in the retail market such as Walgreens, CVS, or other local pharmacies. 

The annual salary of pharmacists in New Jersey could also be impacted by where they live or what company they are employed within. Large corporations, for example, have higher pay rates. The highest paying cities in New Jersey include Jersey City, Newark and Trenton. The best-paying companies in the state, along with their average hourly rates, are the following:

  • Dignity Health—$75.93/hr
  • UCLA Health—$75.67/hr
  • Meijer—$74.40/hr
  • Oregon Health & Science University—$69.97/hr
  • Costco Wholesale—$67.71/hr

Rutgers University–Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy

There are two universities in New Jersey that offer PharmD degrees. The first is the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy (EMSOP) which is located in New Brunswick. This college is a public school associated with the esteemed Rutgers University. Tuition is estimated at $15,000 per year, which does not include accommodations, testing fees, or other personal expenses. In 2020 this college had a first-time North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) pass rate of 87% out of a graduating class of 161 students. 

EMSOP is one of the few colleges in the nation where students can start in the pre-professional program straight out of high school. The two-year pre-professional course readies students for a seamless transition into the four-year PharmD program. 

For the first three years, students will focus on patient-oriented studies relating to pharmacy and introductory practical experience. Students at EMSOP get early hands-on experience instead of waiting until the last year, as in most colleges.  

The Doctor of Pharmacy program at EMSOP heavily focuses on research in labs and top-notch classroom studies by utilizing the latest laboratory equipment and technology. On top of world-class equipment, they have access to over 1,800 clinical sites to give students unparalleled practical experience.  

Being a part of the Rutgers community, students in the EMSOP program gain access to all that Rutgers has to offer. Rutgers is a Big Ten school that houses more than 65,000 students from all walks of life, including 115 individual countries. EMSOP is one of eight schools that comprise Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences department. Because of this, students will get an education from a facility that is pioneering healthcare and offers several different pharmacy career paths they can choose from. These may include:

  • Pharmaceutical industry management
  • Pharmaceutical research
  • Careers in public health
  • Pharmaceutical economics and health outcomes

In addition to the pre-professional course and access to all Rutgers University has to offer PharmD students, EMSOP offers four dual-degree programs. Students who are pursuing their Doctor of Pharmacy program may want to consider advancing their education by pursuing a PharmD/MD, PharmD/MPH, PharmD/MBA or PharmD/Ph.D. dual degree.  

Fairleigh Dickinson University

The second school is located in Madison and is New Jersey’s first private university that offers a Doctor of Pharmacy degree program. Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) is a smaller university that only had a total of 55 students enrolled in the PharmD program in 2020. Their first-time NAPLEX pass rate at the time was 81.8%. Unlike EMSOP, FDU does not require a Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) score for admissions, but they do recommend students have a baccalaureate degree before applying. 

Tuition at a private university is usually more expensive than public options, but some students may thrive on a smaller campus with smaller class sizes. For three consecutive years, FDU has put a freeze on tuition rates. The average tuition for undergraduates is still $32,000 per year.  

Just because FDU has a smaller student base doesn’t mean students will get fewer opportunities or a sub-par education. This university promises to deliver a dynamic curriculum for students that has a wide variety of classroom, laboratory time, and experiential learning to prepare them for an illustrious, successful career. Students get the benefits of a small college such as reduced class size, focused learning, and better access to faculty and staff while still receiving a top-tier education.  

Students at FDU with a baccalaureate degree will be able to specialize in their program by entering into the PharmD/Masters degree program after completing the first year of their pharmacy curriculum. One way students can complete both degrees while at FDU is by attending the evening, Saturday, or online courses while still working on the PharmD program.   

Wegmans School of Pharmacy–St. John Fisher College

St. John Fisher College (SJFC), in conjunction with New York’s esteemed Wegmans School of Pharmacy, offers a Doctor of Pharmacy degree online. Students have the flexibility of online courses combined with plenty of experiential learning. The curriculum at SJFC will prepare students for a career in pharmacy by setting a solid foundation in sciences, clinicals, and administration.

The Wegmans School of Pharmacy has set itself apart by maintaining small class sizes, giving students personalized attention, and setting a priority on excellence in the classroom. Because of this approach, students at Wegmans and SJFC have consistently outperformed the national average on licensure exams such as the NAPLEX and third-year Pharmacy Curriculum Outcomes Assessment (PCOA) exams. 

Students don’t have to worry about traveling to New York or farther to gain the necessary clinical experience because SFJC has partnerships with local, community pharmaceutical sites. They are able to get hands-on learning and internships in their area. 

Another great benefit to SFJC’s online Doctor of Pharmacy degree program is its placement percentage. Even as pharmacy job growth slows down, 100% of graduates from SFJC have found employment because they have partnered with so many major US health systems. This partnership offers unique placement opportunities for graduating students and helps them get a step ahead of the competition. 

SJFC has also waived the PCAT requirement for admissions. Most colleges and universities mandate that students pass this test before applying to their PharmD programs. It’s just one less thing for students applying to St. John Fisher College to worry about as they pursue their degrees and future career. 

PharmD Licensure Exam Requirements

Once students receive their Doctor of Pharmacy degree, they will have to pass two exams to obtain their pharmacist license. These tests are the NAPLEX and Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE).

The NAPLEX is a required exam that contains approximately 240 questions designed to test prospective pharmacists on their knowledge of pharmacy competency. The approximate cost of the exam is $575. Students will have 6 hours to finish the exam, and it does not come with a grade. The NAPLEX is either pass or fail, there is no grade, and you will have five chances to pass the exam. 

The MPJE will test your knowledge relating to the laws and regulations of practicing pharmacy in New Jersey. This exam costs approximately $240 and contains 120 questions, and again you will have up to 5 attempts to pass this test. Students that do well in their program and study beforehand for both of these exams typically do well on their initial attempts. 

After you pass, you will be issued a pharmacist license and are now free to start your career as a pharmacist. 

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