Becoming a Pharmacist in Oregon

The pharmacist career has been around for many decades and is proliferating today. The first university program for pharmacists began as early as the late 1860s, and the profession has become indispensable ever since.

During your training, you’ll learn how to perform multiple functions such as preparing and dispensing medication, checking medicine type and dosage, preventing unsafe drug interactions, and guiding patients on safe medicine use. A Pharmacist may also provide patient screenings and immunizations and consult with other doctors and health care professionals. In that respect, it is a desirable career and comes with the utmost stability. Oregon alone projects a need for hundreds of pharmacists every year.

Salaries of an Oregon Pharmacist

Oregon has some of the highest earnings in the nation for Doctors of Pharmacy. The average annual wage of an Oregon Pharmacist is $136,700. This is a substantial increase from the national average of $101,700-$130,900. With over 260 Pharmacist job openings a year (in Oregon alone), the opportunities are endless. You can be assured that your time and effort to become a Pharmacist will plant you in a position that will never become obsolete and continues to be rewarding year after year.

Oregon Requirements for Becoming a Pharmacist

Becoming a Doctor of Pharmacy in Oregon is done in two steps.

  1. Graduate with an accredited Pharmacy Program.
  2. Pass the National Licensing Exam.

While a bachelor’s degree is not an admission requirement for all pharmacy schools, it does provide a highly competitive advantage. Pharmacy college programs require many prerequisites, including Chemistry, Biology, Microbiology, Physiology, Biochemistry, Calculus, Statistics, Public Health Care Delivery, English Composition, Communications and Social or Behavioral Science. Completing all these prerequisites is just part of the process.

It is highly recommended to get hands-on experience (i.e., volunteering, shadowing). A bachelor’s degree can be achieved in roughly four years. Graduating from a pharmacy program also typically takes four years. Most earn their Pharmacy Doctorate in up to 8 years, though it’s possible to finish earlier.

After graduation, one must apply to the Oregon Board of Pharmacy. Once eligibility is confirmed the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) and Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE) exams will be taken. A 75% score or higher is needed to pass both exams.

Once exams have been passed, some may decide to complete one year of a Pharmacist supervised internship. This is, however, optional in the state of Oregon though it may be something you want to consider.

Accredited In-State PharmD Programs in Oregon

There are currently only two in-person universities in Oregon that offer PharmD. Both of these schools are recognized as ACPE-accredited and come with amazing reviews.

The College of Pharmacy at Oregon State University is located in Corvallis and has been around since 1898. Not only does OSU have years of experience, but it is ranked #31 in the United States pharmacy school lineup, making it in the top 5%. Oregon State University also happens to be one of the most accessible pharmacy schools to get into due to its low-cost tuition fee. OSU also offers an online program to help those that are not near the Portland metro area and need the flexibility only remote learning can offer.

General Requirements for Enrolling in the Oregon State University’s Pharmacy program:

  • All prerequisite classes must be passed with a C- or higher. Any grade lower than a C- will not count towards your requirement and must be retaken. Each of the prerequisites must be completed at an accredited college. Pay special attention to your science classes, as they are calculated in a category on their own towards an overall Science GPA.
  • A bachelor’s degree is not a requirement for admission. If you have yet to obtain your bachelor’s degree, you may apply as a dual-enrollment applicant. If you are interested in receiving a dual degree, it is highly suggested to finish your bachelor’s degree to meet the OSU Graduate School requirements. Dual-degree options are PharmD-PhD and PharmD-MBA.
  • Fill out and send in your application by the appropriate date per the semester you are applying to.

The other accredited Oregon pharmacy program option is The School of Pharmacy at Pacific University. This program is part of the Health Professional Campus located in Forest Grove. Pacific University is a small non-profit college and happens to offer a three-year Doctor of Pharmacy program for those interested in starting their career earlier. The program has been available since 2006 and ranks #143 (out of 939; top 20%).

Recommended Requirements for Enrolling in Pacific University’s School of Pharmacy:

  • Applicants should have a GPA of 2.7 or higher. This includes your cumulative GPA as well as your Science GPA. The last 45 credits you have accomplished will also be looked at, and the GPA of those courses will also be taken into consideration.
  • A bachelor’s degree is highly recommended but is not a requirement.
  • Applicants should have most of their prerequisites accomplished before applying. It is not a requirement to have them all completed when sending in your application. However, it will give you a more competitive edge.
  • Letters of Recommendation are not required but are looked at favorably by the Admissions Committee.
  • Fill out and send in your application by the appropriate date.

Accredited Online PharmD Programs in Oregon

When your location and life get in the way of the on-campus environment, online schooling may be your perfect option. Online pharmacy programs offer flexibility in your schedule, which allows you to take control of your schooling pace.

St John Fisher College is a college based in New York and is ranked #187 (out of 939) in national universities. This makes it in the top 20% of the United States. It offers a four-year program almost inclusively online, giving you flexibility. Keep in mind, however, that despite being an online school, you’re required to complete 2,000 hours of clinical rotations. This will give you the opportunity needed for hands-on experience to advance in your career.

Do not let the lack of campus life lead you to believe that your online experience will be subpar to in-person campus life. St John Fisher College has been offering engaging courses and has had the community’s support since it opened through Wegmans School of Pharmacy in 2006.

Admission Requirements for St John Fisher Colleges 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

Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) is another excellent online option for completing your pharmacy program. It is located in the heart of Erie, Pennsylvania, and began the four-year Distant Education pathway leading to a PharmD degree back in 2014. Though things like orientation and laboratory sessions will require you to leave your home, most of your work can be completed online. Like most pharmacy programs, expect to do your share of clinical hours at pharmacies, hospitals and wellness centers. Six rotations in 6 week periods in community and clinical settings are needed.

Admissions Requirements for LECOM’s PharmD Program:

  • Show proof of U.S. Citizenship, Permanent USA residency, or an F-1 Visa
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Complete 54 hours of pre-professional courses from an accredited college
  • Though LECOM does not require a specific GPA, a 2.7 or higher is preferred
  • A short writing assessment will be required at the time of your interview
  • Two Letters of Recommendation. One of those letters must be from a Science Professor
  • Fill out and send in your application by the appropriate date

Job Prospects

The beauty of Pharmaceutical work is that the work environment has variety. You can find a pharmacy in grocery stores, drug stores, big-box stores, hospitals, private offices, institutional settings, government agencies, mail-order environments and other facilities. These can be found all over Oregon state and many other states, as well. Some of Oregon’s top companies for pharmacists are Stanford Health Care, White Glove Placement Inc, Dignity Health, UCLA Health and Meijer. With hourly rates ranging from $73.92 up to $85.43 with these companies, you are sure to find a competitive and comfortable position.

Beginning Your Pharmacy Career

Choosing the school that works for you, whether online or in-person, is a big decision. When considering which route to go, you may want to assess fees, application deadlines, your style of learning and your preferred learning environment. That ultimate choice will eventually lead you to a lifetime in a rewarding and stable profession.