The programs on this list equip licensed, practicing pharmacists with advanced knowledge in clinical pharmacy. Unlike retail pharmacists, clinical pharmacists provide direct patient care to promote health and wellness and optimize the use of medication.
You'll study biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, and clinical sciences. Courses examine drug information, research methods, pathophysiology and pharmacotherapy, and the skills you'll need to effectively assess, monitor, and communicate with patients.
The best part? These programs are online, so you can advance your career without having to take time off work. You can complete program requirements according to your schedule and from the comfort of your home.
What kind of Doctor of Pharmacy degree should you get?
Since working as a pharmacist has highly specific requirements, most Doctor of Pharmacy degrees cover similar material. Look for a program that fits your timeline and budget. Some programs will allow you to use prior experience to meet requirements, which can accelerate the process. You should also review the list of courses to ensure that the program fits your interests and goals.
In addition, these programs are available both on campus and online. There are benefits to both traditional and online formats. Online programs, however, allow you to continue working while pursuing your degree. If you're interested in online higher education but unsure if pharmacy is right for you, browse our list of the Best Online Colleges and Universities.
How much money do people make with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for pharmacists is $126,120. The highest 10% earned more than $161,250.
Employment of pharmacists is projected to grow by 6% over the next decade, which is about as fast as the average job growth for all occupations. While demand will decrease in some retail settings, it will increase by up to 16% in hospitals and clinics.
You may also choose to go into research and academia. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that postsecondary teachers earn a median salary of $78,470 annually. Teachers in the health specialties, however, earn closer to $97,000, and the highest 10% earn more than $175,000.
What can you do with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree?
With a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, you can work as a pharmacist in a variety of settings. These include hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and community pharmacies. You can also work in research, academia, for government agencies, or as a consultant.
Some Doctor of Pharmacy graduates work in home healthcare, managed care, pharmacoeconomics, legal practices, veterinary pharmacy, mail order, and pharmaceutical development and marketing. Earning a Doctor of Pharmacy may give you more career options than you expect.
What are the requirements for an online Doctor of Pharmacy degree?
For most of these programs, you will need to be a licensed and practicing pharmacist, although Creighton's program is entry level. You may need to submit a copy of your license, letters of recommendation from pharmacy colleagues, a resume, and/or a statement of goals. For some programs, an interview is required.
Depending on your schedule and preferences, an online Doctor of Pharmacy degree may take 2-6 years to complete. You'll take courses in basic sciences, clinical sciences, and patient care. In addition, you will complete Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPE). Some of these programs have brief residential requirements, typically for orientation and Executive Weekends.
What are the best online Doctor of Pharmacy degrees?
To help you advance your education and career opportunities, we've compiled a list of the five best online Doctor of Pharmacy programs. We define "best" based on factors like program reputation, tuition costs, overall return on investment, and accreditation.
All College Choice data comes from trusted sources such as:
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
- U.S. News and World Report
- Princeton Review
- Official college and university websites and course catalogs
If you're looking for a convenient way to take the next step in your pharmacy career, you've come to the right place. All five of these programs offer advanced degrees that you can earn from wherever you are, whenever it fits into your schedule.
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $21,061
Howard University is a private historically black college in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1867, the private research university consists of 13 schools and colleges. Howard is ranked among the top 100 universities in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. It’s a leader in STEM fields and boasts nationally ranked programs in several disciplines. Degrees are offered in more than 120 areas of study, including a non-traditional Doctor of Pharmacy program.
Howard’s online Doctor of Pharmacy program is designed for practicing pharmacists and can be completed in two years. Communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking are emphasized in all phases of the program. The 65-credit program begins with a three-day orientation and culminates in a six-month experiential component. Courses include:
- Principles of Pharmacy Administration
- Integrated Pathophysiology and Pharmacotherapy
- Infectious Diseases
- Special Populations
Students visit campus only twice during the program, once for a three-day orientation and again for an Executive Weekend Seminar. Throughout the program, every module integrates concepts with realistic examples and practical suggestions. All students participate in a minimum of two experiential rotations, which culminate in the development, implementation, and evaluation of a disease state program.
College Choice Score: 98.09
Average Net Price: $29,248
A private liberal arts university in Winchester, Virginia, Shenandoah University was established in 1875 and has a tradition of creativity, curiosity, and intellectual challenge. The university is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and inspires students to be ethical, compassionate citizens who make responsible contributions to the world. Shenandoah’s close-knit community of 4,000 students choose from more than 150 programs, including an online Doctor of Pharmacy.
The online Doctor of Pharmacy is for licensed and practicing pharmacists and may be completed within 2.5 years. The program consists of 53 credit hours, including 15 credit hours of experiential learning. The program blends recorded lectures, team-based learning, and additional content to provide an asynchronized learning experience. Students learn:
- Latest information on clinical disease states and treatment
- Skills to assess and intervene with medication regimens
- Course material reflecting current and future practices of pharmacy
- How to apply didactic information to team-based patient cases
All students attend two executive weekends during the program: an orientation and an on-site patient skills assessment. Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPE) are required in Ambulatory Care, Acute Care, and Medication Information. Students may complete a prior-life portfolio to gain credit for previous work experience and may qualify to opt-out of up to two of the three required clinical experiences.
College Choice Score: 97.86
Average Net Price: $31,481
Located in Omaha, Nebraska, Creighton University is a private Jesuit Catholic university that emphasizes leadership and service. For sixteen consecutive years, U.S. News and World Report has named Creighton the Midwest’s best regional university. The school serves close to 9,000 students, and recent graduates report a 98% placement rate within six months of graduation. Creighton has more than 140 academic offerings, including on-campus, hybrid, accelerated, and online programs. One online option is for a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.
Creighton’s program was the first accredited online Doctor of Pharmacy program in the nation. It covers the same material as the university’s on-campus program, and students interact with one another and faculty members via web conferencing software, discussion boards, and other media. Eight five-week clinical rotations are required, five in core subject areas and three in elective subject areas. Course content focuses on:
- Patient data collection
- Medication therapy assessment and delivery
- Pharmacy care plan
- Patient monitoring, compliance, outcomes evaluation, and documentation
- Patient counseling
U.S. News and World Report ranks Creighton third in the nation among private pharmacy schools. As one of the nation’s best pharmacy programs, Creighton is a proud pioneer in healthcare and innovation. Students complete laboratory courses and other on-campus activities during two-to-four-week summer sessions.
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
College Choice Score: 97.62
Average Net Price: N/A
The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Erie, Pennsylvania is a private graduate school of pharmacy, medicine, and dentistry. It emphasizes education, research, clinical care, and service. The university’s mission is to enhance quality of life through improved health for all humanity. LECOM offers innovative and affordable student-centered pathways designed to prepare the next generation of healthcare professionals. Pathways are customized based on student learning styles. One pathway is an online Doctor of Pharmacy program.
The Distance Education Pathway curriculum is an online Doctor of Pharmacy program that takes four years to complete. The core curriculum during the first year emphasizes anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, and other basic sciences. Years two and three involve training in clinical sciences, and the fourth year consists of six rotations in Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences. Courses include:
- Pharmacy, Drugs, and Healthcare
- Pharmaceutical Calculations
- Pharmacy Law
- Drug Information
- Research Methods and Pharmacoepidemiology
Students visit the Bradenton, Florida campus for one-to-three weeks each summer to meet the curriculum’s laboratory, casework, and presentation requirements. Graduates work in community pharmacies, government agencies, research in the pharmaceutical industry, academia, hospitals and institutional settings, long-term care facilities, consulting, and more.
University of Colorado Denver
College Choice Score: 86.40
Average Net Price: $14,586
More commonly known as CU Denver, the University of Colorado Denver has multiple locations, including the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. The university strives to improve the health and well-being of people throughout the state and around the world. It emphasizes scholarship, innovation, diversity, respect, and leadership. Across its campuses, the public urban research university enrolls more than 18,000 students. Students have over 140 programs to choose from, including an online option for a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.
CU Denver’s online Doctor of Pharmacy program is designed for licensed pharmacists seeking advanced education in clinical pharmacy. Students enhance their patient-centered pharmacy skills and expand their career options. Experiential training requirements may be met through previous experience and live rotations. No campus visits are required. Courses include:
- Clinical Skills Foundation
- Evidence-Based Pharmacy Practice
- Advanced Drug Literature Evaluation with Clinical Applications
- Instructional Methods with Seminars in Pharmaceutical Care
This flexible program can be completed in 2-6 years, depending on the student’s schedule and needs. The didactic curriculum consists of 35 credit hours, while the experiential training is an additional 30 credit hours. Experiential training occurs in the areas of drug information, ambulatory care, and health-system pharmacy/inpatient care, with additional experiences in elective areas.