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How Much Does Pharmacy School Cost?

January 3, 2023
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The Average Cost of Attending a Pharmacy SchoolAffordable Pharmacy Programs in the U.S. Additional Pharmacy School CostsHow to Pay for Pharmacy SchoolIs Pharmacy School Worth the Cost?FAQs: How Much Does Pharmacy School Cost?

”Luke

Reviewed by:

Luke Hartstein

Former Admissions Committee Member, NYU Grossman School of Medicine

Reviewed: 01/03/23

How much does pharmacy school cost? Check out our breakdown of what to expect to pay if you are planning on getting a pharmacist degree. 

No matter what program you are thinking of applying to, college is not cheap. Money is a key factor when it comes to picking the right school to attend. The potential of hefty student loans and debt can be the deciding factor on whether you choose to attend a school or not for most students.  

Being aware of pharmacist school costs can help aspiring pharmacy students make an informed decision when applying to schools. Knowing the expected costs sooner rather than later means students can begin to prepare financially for their education. 

If you’re planning on attending a pharmacy school, continue reading to find out how much it costs to attend a pharmacy school. 

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The Average Cost of Attending a Pharmacy School

The cost of pharmacy school can range greatly depending on multiple factors, such as whether you are an in-state or out-of-state student. 

On average, in-state undergraduate students will pay anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000 per year on tuition and fees at a public college. For private schools, this cost increases to anywhere from $20,000 to $95,000 in expenses per year for in-state students. 

Tuition increases for out-of-state students, who can expect to pay anywhere from $18,000 to $50,000 per year at public colleges. 

Public Colleges Cost vs. Private Colleges Cost

Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences offers one of the most affordable pharmacy programs in the U.S. For in-state students living on campus, the estimated tuition and other expenses come to $11,531. For out-of-state students, costs are higher at an estimated $17,504 per year. 

Skaggs School of Pharmacy also offers an affordable pharmacy program with in-state tuition and fees estimated to be about $14,406. Out-of-state students can expect to pay around $35,000 in expenses per year for their undergrad. 

If you want to attend a private pharmacy school, get ready to pay a substantial amount more. Touro College of Pharmacy estimates that first-year students will spend about $95,000 to attend the school. 

The University of Southern California estimates that students will pay $65,835 in tuition per year, which does not include living expenses or other financial obligations such as textbooks and application fees. 

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Affordable Pharmacy Programs in the U.S. 

We’ve put together a chart of some of the most affordable pharmacy programs in the U.S. for those who need to keep their schooling costs as low as possible. 

Affordable pharmacy programs in the US
Source: Texas A&M | University of Connecticut | Texas Tech | University of Wyoming | South Dakota State
Affordable pharmacy programs in the US part 2
Source: University of Rhode Island | Florida A&M | Skaggs | Purdue

Please note that these tuition costs are based on one academic year and do not include other expenses like rent. These costs are also just estimates, and may vary depending on circumstances. 

Additional Pharmacy School Costs

In addition to tuition costs, there are many other costs to attending pharmacy school. Some extra expenses include textbooks, computers, living expenses, transportation, and exam fees. Keep in mind that these costs vary between individuals, schools, and states. 

The University of Florida shared a list of the expected costs of attending pharmacy school to give you an idea of what other costs you may be expected to pay: 

expected costs of attending pharmacy school

UF suggests out-of-state students budget for fees of $27,187 per year compared to $21,117 for in-state students.

Keep in mind that these expenses are based on this school’s specific fees and the cost of living in Florida. Your own expenses will vary depending on where you go to school, where you live, and several other factors. For example, you may acquire additional costs if your program requires you to be up to date on your immunizations. 

How to Pay for Pharmacy School

College isn’t cheap! There are a lot of fees associated with attending pharmacy school, and total expenses can add up quickly! Luckily, there are a few ways to help you pay for pharmacy school and reduce your financial burdens. 

Scholarships 

Scholarships are an amazing way to receive funds to pay for your tuition and expenses. The best part is, you don’t have to pay back any money you receive! There are tons of scholarship opportunities available, especially for students pursuing healthcare-related degrees

Many schools will have a page detailing financial aid information for students right on their webpage. For example, the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Buffalo University has a list of internal and external scholarships for pharmacy students. Even a quick Google search can give you tons of information and funding opportunities. 

Dedicate the time to apply to as many scholarships as you can. There are merit-based, athletic-based, program-specific, and volunteer-specific scholarships. Take advantage of what is out there and whatever you are eligible for. 

For an extra upper hand to secure scholarships, read up on how to ace your scholarship interview. 

Grants

Grants are similar to scholarships in that they provide financial assistance to students and usually do not need to be repaid. Grants, like scholarships, can cover tuition but also textbooks, living expenses, and other costs. 

While scholarships are primarily merit-based, grants take financial circumstances into consideration. When applying for grants, students usually have to demonstrate their financial need. 

Student Loans

Student loans are another form of financial aid. Unlike scholarships and grants, you do need to pay back student loans. You are given a set amount of years to pay back the loans with interest. As you do have to pay these loans back, make sure to only take out as much as you need and be mindful of how much of the loan you spend. 

There are loan forgiveness programs you can apply for if you are worried about repaying student loans. For example, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program will forgive your remaining loans after making 120 payments while working full-time at a not-for-profit organization or a federal, state, local, or tribal government. However, you will have had to work full-time for ten years to have your loans forgiven. 

While student loans are a good safety net to pay off your remaining expenses that you cannot cover yourself, go for as many scholarships and grants as you can!

The process and jargon around student loans can be pretty overwhelming. The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy’s Financial Literacy has more information on financial resources for pharmacy students, including clarification on federal loans, private loans, and interest rates. 

Pharmacy Internships 

Ask your professors and peers if they know of any internships for pharmacy students. Internships can be a great way to get experience in your field while making a bit of extra money. You can also reach out to pharmacies in your area to inquire about available opportunities.

Work 

Another way you can make some extra money to put towards pharmacy school is by working part-time. Call your local pharmacies and see if they are hiring! Even if your part-time job isn’t directly in your field of study, having some income come in can really help ease your financial burdens. 

If you don’t feel like you will have enough time while studying, working as much as you can during the summer before you begin the semester is still a great way to save up some extra cash. 

See if You Qualify for Reduced Tuition

Some colleges offer discounted or free tuition for students from low-income households. University of Michigan and Princeton are some of the schools that waive tuition fees for households that make under a certain level of income. 

Paying for Pharmacy School as an Out-of-State Student 

Pharmacy school expenses increase greatly for out-of-state students. Here are some extra pathways for out-of-state students to help fund your education. 

Find Out if Your State is Part of a Regional Reciprocal Agreement

Many states have programs that allow students to pay in-state tuition prices. If your college or state is a part of this agreement, you may qualify for in-state tuition as an out-of-state student. 

The National Association of Student Financial Aid and Administration provides information on states and regions that offer tuition discounts. You should confirm with the college you are interested in if they are part of the program and have tuition reductions. 

Establish Residency in Your School’s State

If you are planning on living in the state you want to go to college in, you can establish resident status before applying to a school. Most states require you to live there for 12 months to get residence status. If you intend on staying in the state for a while, this could be a suitable option to pursue. 

Once you are considered a resident, you qualify for in-state student tuition prices.

See if You Qualify for a Legacy Scholarship 

Many schools offer a legacy scholarship that out-of-state students can qualify for. For example, Utah State University has an Alumni Legacy Non-Resident Waiver program. 

To qualify, you must be a first-time undergraduate student of the school and have a parent or grandparent who earned a degree from Utah State University. The waiver allows out-of-state students to pay in-state tuition fees for their first year. 

Do research, look into your family history, and check out your school’s financial aid page to see if they offer legacy scholarships and if you meet the requirements. If you do not qualify for a legacy scholarship, check out other ways to get scholarships as an out-of-state student. 

Is Pharmacy School Worth the Cost?

If you are passionate about becoming a pharmacist, then pharmacy school is absolutely worth it! While it is expensive upfront, think of it as an investment into your future career. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor reports that the median hourly rate for pharmacists is $61 per hour or a median salary of $128,570. Once you graduate and start working full-time, you’ll be making some pretty good money.

The Bureau also reports that there will be a job growth rate of 2% in the next ten years. This means that the job outlook is pretty strong for aspiring pharmacists. 

FAQs: How Much Does Pharmacy School Cost?

We’ve answered, “how much does pharmacy school cost?” but you may still have some more specific questions. Keep reading as we answer some frequently asked questions below.

1. How Much Does Pharmacy School Cost in California?

The cost depends on the school you intend to attend. As mentioned previously, the University of Southern California and Skaggs School of Pharmacy all have fairly low tuition and fees for in-state students. 

Here are the tuition costs for other pharmacy schools in California: 

Tuition costs for pharmacy schools in California
Source: California Northstate, Marshall B. Ketchum, Loma Linda, Touro, University of the Pacific

On average, it costs about $150,000 to $250,000 for a four-year program in California. This estimate includes tuition and fees, such as living costs. 

2. How Much Does it Cost to Become a Pharmacist in the U.S.?

This all depends on what school you attend, if you are an in-state or out-of-state student, and your living circumstances. It can cost anywhere from around $30,000 to upwards of $250,000 to complete a four-year program. 

There are a few licensing expenses you will need to pay after you graduate as well. Before you become a practicing pharmacist, you will need to pass the NAPLEX. The cost to take the NAPLEX is $575. Budget an additional $100 for the application fee. 

You will also need to pass the MPJE as part of the licensure process, which costs $100 for the application fee and $250 for the actual exam. 

Final Thoughts

Generally speaking, pharmacy school is not cheap. It can cost students a hefty price tag of up to $250,000 for an undergraduate program. 

However, there still are many pharmacist schools that have lower tuition and tons of financial help. Apply for as many scholarships and grants available to you to help ease the financial burden of tuition and living expenses. The less stressed you are about money, the more energy and focus you can spend on your studies. 

Best of luck!

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