Becoming a Pharmacist in North Dakota

To become a Pharmacist in the state of North Dakota (ND), you will need to earn a Doctorate in Pharmacy (PharmD). Though obtaining the degree will be rigorous, it will prepare you for the pharmacy field and all that it entails. With top-of-the-line curriculums available, hands-on clinical training and experienced professors, you are assured you will gain the experience needed to help many patients lead and maintain healthy lifestyles.

Being a Pharmacist does not limit you to working in a pharmacy. Many with a PharmD degree continue their careers in cosmetics, nuclear physics, biotech, academics, and research development. With handfuls of options, high salary, stability, and opportunities for advancement, becoming a Pharmacist is an intelligent choice, especially for those looking to play an essential part in your communities.

Requirements for Becoming a Pharmacist in North Dakota

North Dakota has some of the most relaxed requirements to become a Pharmacist than any other state. Those requirements include:

  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Have a good moral character
  • Graduate from an accredited Pharmacy Program
  • Pass the North American Pharmacy Licensure Exam (NAPLEX) and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE)
  • Submit an application and fee to the North Dakota Pharmacy Board

On average, achieving a PharmD degree can take up to eight years. With prerequisite courses taking up to half that time, you will find that most Pharmacy Programs are four years in duration.

The NAPLEX is an exam that will test your knowledge and skills in pharmacy work. To pass this test, you will need to score a 75% or higher. There are approximately 225 questions on this computerized test. You will have six hours to complete the test.

The second exam you are required to take to become a Pharmacist is the MPJE. The MPJE will test you on the applications of laws and regulations that pertain to North Dakota specifically. The exam will contain 120 questions which you will have two and a half hours to complete. This exam requires a passing score of 75% or higher.

North Dakota Pharmacist Salary

In the state of North Dakota, you will find competitive wages. The average income for a Doctor of Pharmacy in ND is around $134,415. That amount changes with location, years of experience, additional skills, education, etc. Areas like Mandan, ND, start their Pharmacists at $136,877. Smaller areas, such as Alsen, ND, start their wages at around $124,122 annually. Cost of living plays a prominent role in these amounts, so keep economics and the geographics in mind when deciding on what area you settle on practicing in.

Accredited On-Campus Pharmacy Programs

There is currently only one in-person Pharmacy Program available to potential Pharmacists in the state of North Dakota. Do not let the lack of options sway you. You will discover that this one program will give you a well-rounded education and experiences to ready you for the pharmacy field.

North Dakota State University

North Dakota State University (NDSU) is an institution that opened its Pharmacy Program in 1902. For over 100 years, their Pharmacy Program has been continually evolving and has transformed into a state-of-the-art program for all in and out-of-state students. NDSU offers two campuses in North Dakota. Their main campus is located in Fargo, while their smaller campus is located in the small town of Grand Forks.

NDSU’s School of Pharmacy strives to help students discover their passion, hone professional skills and make meaningful connections. They provide top-of-the-line technology, hands-on opportunities and staff that will guide you to your future career.

You can apply to NDSU fresh from high school and accomplish your prerequisite courses at the University. Of course, you can achieve your prerequisite requirements at other accredited institutions and simply apply to the Pharmacy Program once those are completed. The Pharmacy Program at North Dakota State University will take a total of four years to complete.

Admission requirements for an undergraduate student applying to the Pharmacy Program:

  • Send in an application through Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS). This is a centralized service that allows you to send in one application while applying to several Pharmacy Programs
  • Possess a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Keep in mind that the average GPA of entering students is 3.67
  • Complete 81-semester credits of prerequisite courses
  • Submit official transcripts from all institutions you have participated in
  • Pass the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)
  • Pay the application fee in the amount of $125. This few is non-refundable

Accredited Online Pharmacy Programs

Nowadays, there are an overwhelming amount of online Pharmacy Programs. Online schooling will allow you flexibility in your schedule and able you to accomplish your coursework from the comfort of your own home. Keep in mind that clinical rotations are a requirement for all Pharmacy Programs. Some online schools state you need to travel to them each summer to complete those hours. Whereas a couple of online schools allow you to stay within your own community to achieve those clinical hours. Let us take a look at a couple of prominent online options to obtain your PharmD.

St John Fisher College

St John Fisher College (SJFC) has offered their Wegmans School of Pharmacy program since 2006. SJFC offers a robust science-based curriculum and the reassurance that you will receive the necessary skills for all clinical and administrative applications. With intentionally lower student-to-professor ratios and the same curriculum as on-campus classes, you will receive the hands-on guidance needed to master your degree.

In your fourth year at SJFC, you will complete Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences APPE). Your APPE experience will consist of seven six-weeks rotations. An amazing option that St John Fishers College offers is for these rotations to be completed in your own community. You will get hands-on experience in acute care, community practice, ambulatory care and health systems. You will then choose three APPE elective rotations to get the experience you specifically chose to advance your future career. The three elective rotations can be in areas such as emergency medicine, managed care, advanced hospital practice, psychiatry, hospice, nutrition, geriatrics, pediatrics, infectious disease, ICU care, pharmacokinetics, or drug information. These required experiences will make sure you obtain the knowledge and confidence needed to graduate and jump into your pharmacist work.

Admission requirements for St John Fisher College Pharmacy Program:

  • General Course prerequisites need to total 24 semester hours with a C grade or higher. Science and Math requirements must meet 38 semester hours also with a grade of a C or higher. Your cumulative GPA needs to be 2.75 or higher to be considered a competitive GPA.
  • PCAT (Pharmacy College Admissions Test) is recommended though not a requirement.
  • Fill out an online application to PharmCAS (a centralized service that allows you to fill out one application for multiple PharmD programs). Pay the PharmCAS fee.
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Pass a criminal background check

St John Fisher College offers generous scholarships and financial aid options to all of its students. The Admissions Office will take the work out of applying for scholarships by notifying you when they see you are eligible for a scholarship.

Creighton University

Creighton University started the very first accredited Distance Pathway. This allowed students a full-time option to complete their Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from their homes. Though the curriculum, conferences and faculty interactions are exclusively online, Creighton requires their students to complete laboratory work and some activities in person. These in-person requirements will be held during the summer in two-week sessions.

Creighton University is proudly ranked #35 in the country. The University also states that 97% of all their Pharmacy Program graduates are employed in their pharmacy career within six months of finishing the Pharmacy Program. With the curriculum and hands-on experiences Creighton offers their students, you are assured to be well-rounded and prepared for real-world pharmacy work.

Financial aid and loans are available for all students. In fact, 99% of all incoming freshmen receive some sort of aid. So if you are in need of financial assistance to complete your Pharmacy Program, you will find several options available.

Admission requirements to consider when applying to Creighton University’s Pharmacy Program:

  • Complete a minimum of 63 prerequisite courses
  • Submit an application through PharmCAS
  • Submit official transcripts from all previously attended institutions
  • Submit Two Letters of Recommendation. One must be from a professor. Letters from friends or family are not permitted
  • Complete an interview with a member of the faculty

Job Prospects

In North Dakota, Walmarts do not have pharmacies, and Walgreens does not exist. Though these popular pharmacies are not in the state, North Dakotans still have 171 independent and locally-owned pharmacies all over the state. ND offers more pharmacies per capita than its neighboring states, South Dakota and Minnesota. Not only are there more pharmacies, but they are more evenly distributed amongst the state allowing rural areas just as much access as heavily populated areas.

Aside from opening your own practice, here are some options for pharmacy employment:

  • McKenzie County Healthcare Systems, Inc
  • North Dakota State University
  • Sanford Health
  • Cardinal Health
  • Thrifty White Pharmacy
  • Trinity Health System
  • Vibra Hospitals
  • CVS Health Retail
  • Encompass Health