Becoming a Pharmacist in Rhode Island

Working as a pharmacist in Rhode Island is a lucrative and beneficial career. With most pharmacist salaries starting at $100,000, a career in pharmaceuticals is stable and community-serving. In fact, working in a pharmacy is the number one position on Kiplinger’s list of “Ten Best University Majors for a Lucrative Career.”

Pharmacists are a necessary part of any community, from urban cities to rural townships. Working as a pharmacist, whether in research or practice, will help the health of community members and continue to promote healthy and happy lifestyles.

As a potential pharmacy student, you have a variety of career options and paths you can take. The need for pharmacists in the United States has tripled since 2019. This means that acceptance rates have increased for many PharmD programs making the career more accessible than it’s ever been. With a high-earning potential, becoming a pharmacist may be one of the best careers you could pursue.

Career Paths

After completing a pharmacy program, graduates can take many paths within the pharmaceutical field. Though pharmacy sometimes seems like a career pigeonholed to working in local drug stores, like Walgreens, pharmaceutical graduates have a variety of exciting career options that they can pursue.

The first path — and most obvious — is working in a practice. Graduates in the field of pharmacy can work in chain, independent, hospital, or clinical pharmacies. These pharmacists are the ones who work with physicians to choose, dispense, store, and manage medications. Many pharmacists working within a practice are also the ones participating in direct patient care. They are face-to-face with their patients and often do relationship-building as well as clinical practice.

The second path that pharmacists can follow is academia and research. Pharmacists working in academia are usually faculty members at large universities or act as research directors in the development of medications. This means that they can balance their time between teaching future pharmacists or other science courses and conducting further research into the field of pharmacy. Sometimes, academic pharmacists will work for other organizations in the private, public, or nonprofit sectors as pharmaceutical consultants.

Finally, pharmacists can also work in various specialty fields such as veterinary pharmacy, nuclear pharmacy, poison control, or working within government agencies. These fields can range from direct patient care to working in research or medication development.

The field of pharmacy has a variety of niches. Anyone interested in pharmaceuticals is sure to find their path within the field as they complete their PharmD program or even after they find professional placement.

State Requirements for Pharmacists

Rhode Island does require a PharmD degree in order to obtain licensure to practice pharmacy in the state. This degree must come from an accredited college of pharmacy, but Rhode Island applicants do not need to get the degree from a Rhode Island institution.

Graduates with a degree from an accredited College of Pharmacy must also do the following to obtain licensure from the state of Rhode Island.

  • Pass the NAPLEX
  • Pass the MPJE
  • Obtain 1500 internship hours
  • Prove no criminal record
  • Provide four references of good moral character

All pharmacists must have a license to practice in the State of Rhode Island. Applicants are also asked to pay a $280 application fee, provide a copy of their birth certificate, and provide a passport-style photo.

There are additional requirements for foreign applicants. For licensed pharmacists in other states, Rhode Island does offer licensure by reciprocity. In order to maintain licensure in Rhode Island, licensed pharmacists must take at least 15 continuing education credits each year. 

For more information about licensure in the state of Rhode Island, check out the Rhode Island Department of Health’s website.

Top Schools for PharmD Programs

Rhode Island has a variety of programs for pharmacy students. These include both online and on-campus pharmacy programs. Some notable differences are 0-6 programs versus a 2/4 program.

Zero-6 pharmacy programs admit students as freshmen to a PharmD program. This type of program does require students to maintain a high GPA and generally has an intense application process. Most programs last six years, and students leave the program with their doctorate and potentially other degrees.

A 2/4 pharmacy program admits students as pre-pharmacy majors during their freshman year. This type of program requires students to formally apply – again – to the professional curriculum in their sophomore or junior year. These programs typically take four years to complete. Some 2/4 pharmacy programs are online and allow students to complete their PharmD degree with a hybrid schedule of online courses and in-person clinical experiences.

Below is a list of Rhode Island’s PharmD programs and more information about their program schedule, tuition, and student experience.

University of Rhode Island

Known for having the highest rates of residency placement and the highest pass rate for the NAPLEX in the Northeast, the University of Rhode Island’s College of Pharmacy is an excellent on-campus choice for students looking to get their PharmD degree in the state.

The University of Rhode Island also offers a 0-6 PharmD program that allows students to be admitted to the doctoral program in their freshman year of undergraduate studies. This allows prospective students to streamline their education and graduate with a Ph.D. This program also allows students to jointly obtain an M.A. or M.S. in Pharmaceutical Science.

One of the highlights of the University of Rhode Island’s program is the clinical placements. The College of Pharmacy works with students to have them placed in applicable sites to their academic or career goals both early and later in their educational tract. This allows students to experience a variety of potential career paths in pharmacy and potentially change their interests throughout the program.

Tuition is another bonus of the University of Rhode Island. Ranked as the lowest tuition for in-state students and third lowest for out-of-state students, this option is also more affordable.

For one year of undergraduate tuition, the University of Rhode Island costs $15,880 for in-state students and $34,382 for out-of-state students. For one year of graduate tuition, the University of Rhode Island costs $16,858 for in-state students and $30,652 for out-of-state students. To find out more about the University of Rhode Island’s tuition breakdown, check out their website.

If the University of Rhode Island seems like the best place for you or your student, check out their Pharmacy program’s admission requirements here.

St. John Fisher’s College

St. John Fisher’s College has an online pharmacy program that focuses on student needs in clinical practice while providing the flexibility of online courses and programming. Though it is an online program, St. John Fisher’s College ensures that they focus on one-on-one learning and clinical experiences for their students.

Students in the St. John Fisher’s pharmacy program does this through 11 clinical experiences that total in 2,000 hours and 151 credits. The total tuition for the entire program is $181,337. They do not break the tuition up by credit nor distinguish between in-state and out-of-state students. However, their program has high rates of post-graduate residency placements and NAPLEX pass rates.

This program can be completed in as few as four years, and the hybrid structure makes it accessible to students across the United States. If you are interested in learning more about this online program, check out the university’s admission and application requirements.

Salve Regina / St. Joseph University

This program is a dual six-year doctoral program or 0-6 program that begins at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island and finishes at St. Joseph University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Both schools are private colleges, and this program is an on-campus option.

This unique partnership allows students to spend three years working on undergraduate coursework and ultimately earning a Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry or biology while working on the necessary electives for admittance into a pharmacy program.

Once students have completed the first three years at Salve Regina, they can transfer to the three-year Doctor of Pharmacy program at St. Joseph University. The benefit of this 3+3 dual program is that students can work toward their doctorate while also receiving a well-rounded liberal arts education with a solid scientific foundation.

Tuition at Salve Regina University is $22,625 per year for undergraduate students and $21,240 per year for graduate students. There was not a difference in in-state and out-of-state tuition at Salve Regina University.

If you are just beginning your academic career, Salve Regina University may be an option for you. Learn more about the college, its programs, and admission requirements here.

Becoming a Pharmacist in Rhode Island

A PharmD degree is essential to obtaining a license to practice in the field of pharmacy in Rhode Island. Having an educational background in the field of pharmacy will prepare students for a lifetime of patient care, understand the human body, and help them find their passion within the field. A PharmD degree is the first step to a rewarding and lucrative career as a pharmacist.