Best Online Doctor of Pharmacy Programs

Best Online Doctor of Pharmacy Programs

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Online Pharmacy School

Before modern medicine was developed, people would not have been able to go to their local drugstore and pick out medication to help their minor cold or flu go away. There also would not have been any regulatory system to circulate medicine safely to the general public.

Nowadays, pharmacists help people decide which medicine to choose from. They fill and dispense prescription medications and ensure that patients use these medications safely. Pharmacists also work more broadly to determine which medicines are safe and if they follow federal laws.

Aspiring pharmacists must earn a doctor of pharmacy degree to practice. This page offers a list of the most affordable online doctor of pharmacy programs. We included all of the schools on this list because of their quality teaching, low student indebtedness after graduation, and positive student outcomes.

What Kind of Doctorate in Pharmacy Should You Get?

People often confuse a doctor of pharmacy degree and a doctor of pharmacology degree. Future practicing licensed pharmacists who work directly with patients earn a doctorate in pharmacy. Pharmacologists who wish to work in academia, testing, and research earn a doctorate in pharmacology.

An online Pharm.D. program allows students to continue working in the daytime and take classes at night or on the weekends. Online courses often follow an asynchronous format, meaning that students do not need to meet at scheduled times. However, due to the clinical nature of the field, students may need to participate in some live classes. They may also need to visit campus or a local facility to learn skills in person.

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How Much Does a Doctor of Pharmacy Make?

Being a pharmacist is not only a great career that directly impacts the health of others but it also offers great pay. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacists earn a median annual salary of $128,710. Those who work in outpatient care centers make the most, with a mean salary of $147,130 per year. The top 10% of earners make a median $164,980 salary annually. Alaska, California, and Oregon are the highest-paying states for this career.

What Can You Do With an Online Doctor of Pharmacy?

Graduates of online doctor of pharmacy degrees often pursue careers as pharmacists. They may be eligible for higher positions within their place of employment, such as being a manager or one who trains new employees. Degree holders can also pursue other positions, such as those listed below.

  • Pharmacy school program developer
  • Pharmacoeconomics professional
  • Hospital pharmacist
  • Government worker (i.e. Food and Drug Administration)

What Are the Requirements for an Online Doctor of Pharmacy?

An online Pharm.D. program generally takes full-time students four years to complete. Some programs may offer an accelerated option. Depending on the school, about half of the program consists of coursework on specific topics. Examples include pathophysiology, developing drug therapy plans for patients, and the history of pharmacy.

Because the Pharm.D. emphasizes practice over academia, students do not need to complete a thesis or research project, unlike in Ph.D. programs. Instead, learners must complete rotations that teach clinical skills, such as diagnosing patient symptoms. Rotations can occur online via live sessions. But students often need to visit campus or a local healthcare setting to train.

Before they can begin practicing, aspiring pharmacists must obtain state licensure after graduating. Pharmacists may also earn certifications to show expertise in a specific area, such as nutrition or diabetes.

  1. University of Colorado Denver

    Denver, CO



    Whether or not you are a traditional on-campus or distance student, the University of Colorado Denver offers the same top quality teaching. Since 1996, CU Denver has been providing online courses to students around the world. Today, there are over 50 online degrees and certificates that are available. CU Denver was founded over 100 years ago in 1912.

    CU offers an online Pharm.D. program for licensed pharmacists who wish to expand their education. There are two pathways: the North American Trained Pharm.D. and the International Trained Pharm.D., depending on where the pharmacist received their original education. Here are some highlights of the program:

    • Completion time: 12 to 18 months
    • Didactic curriculum
    • Two to four hours of class time/coursework per class each week

    The North American program can be completed completely online, with only some live training sessions required. However, the international program requires students to come to campus for four weeks at the beginning and end of the program. 

  2. Howard University

    Washington, DC



    Howard University is dedicated to uplifting and creating the next generation of young black scholars in both STEM and the humanities. It is a historically black private institution that was established in 1867 in Washington, D.C. Since its founding, Howard has produced many accredited pharmacists among other highly esteemed professions. Faculty and staff heavily engage in meaningful research, community outreach programs, and serving people through the university hospital.

    Howard believes in providing more accessible education and thus created the non-traditional Pharm.D. offered online. The program has three phases: an orientation stage, a 16-week fundamental study course, and a six-month, experiential learning period. Other key features of the Pharm.D. are:

    • Completion time: two years
    • About three hours of live class weekly or bi-weekly
    • Offered full-time 

    Students only visit campus twice throughout the program during “executive weekends.” This is a great opportunity for students to get to know the faculty and facilities, should they need guidance. Between these weekends student complete assignments such as pre-readings for the program.

  3. Shenandoah University

    Winchester, VA



    Take advantage of Shenandoah University’s tight-knit community and get an education that will allow you to be both well-rounded and prepared for your career. Shenandoah is a private university located in Virginia that was founded in 1875. Although the school has historical roots with the United Methodist Church, students of all faith backgrounds are welcome. There are six different campus locations with a total enrollment of just over 4,000 students. Shenandoah also offers completely online degrees from the undergraduate to doctoral level. Several online college ranking sites have recognized Shenandoah for its programs in Pharmacy. 

    Licensed pharmacists who received their training in the U.S. are eligible to apply to Shenandoah’s online, non-traditional Pharm.D. degree. The program will take about seven semesters to complete, with a total of 53 credit hours required. Some classes that are currently being offered are:

    • Integrated Pharmaceutical Care and Science (Infectious Disease)
    • Essentials of Pharmacogenomics
    • Principles of Pharmacokinetics

    There are two mandatory executive weekends on campus. The first is an orientation that teaches students how to use online technology. The second is dedicated to training students in clinical skills on how to assess patients. 

  4. Creighton University

    Omaha, NE



    St. Ignatius was a Catholic priest who founded the Society of Jesus whose members are presently known as Jesuits. Creighton University is proud to be a private, Jesuit Catholic school that upholds the teachings of St. Ignatius. Not only are students encouraged to grow in their faith, but they are also given many opportunities to develop professionally. Creighton is located in Omaha, NE but also offers degrees online. There are more than 30 distance-learning degrees currently offered at the school.

    Earn your online Pharm.D. from a nationally-recognized school and complete courses in a flexible manner. This is a full-time program for experienced pharmacists. Other program features include:

    • Eight five-week clinical rotations
    • Live online courses
    • Merit-based and financial aid scholarships offered through the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions

    During the summertime, students are expected to visit campus to complete laboratory courses. Summer sessions last between 2-4 weeks. Students will also participate in local clinical rotations.

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