Pharmaceuticals can be lifesavers for some, so becoming part of the team that dispenses drugs can be both financially rewarding and personally fulfilling.
You don’t have to get a Doctorate in Pharmacy to ensure that people who take drugs get the proper dosages and remain safe. In truth, there are a variety of careers, other than pharmacists, that deal with pharmaceuticals. These jobs range from those discovering and creating new pharmaceuticals to those aiding pharmacists in their day-to-day jobs. Find the right career in pharmacy by reading through this list of the top 30 accredited online colleges in pharmacy. Becoming a pharmacist technician is a quick way to start working in this industry, with both certificate and degree programs available.
What Will You Learn With Pharmacy-Related Degrees?
Pharmaceuticals is a broad and varied subject leading to many different careers that deal with the manufacturing, distributing, prescribing, and dispensing of these substances. With that said, we are going to discuss what you’ll learn as a pharmacy technician, as this is the type of pharmacy program most often offered by schools on this list. During a pharmacy technician program, students will learn how to screen prescription orders, prepare prescriptions under the supervision of a pharmacist, perform drug calculations, and assist pharmacists in other operational and administrative tasks.
There are a few routes in which you can become a pharmacy technician, including via completing a certificate program that may be less than 20 credit hours in duration, all the way to earning an associate’s degree. The type of program you select will determine what skills you’ll be taught. Common classes you’re likely to take while working to become a pharmacy technician include pharmacy calculations, pharmacy operations, and a practical experience, just to name a few.
What Are the Best Accredited Online Colleges in Pharmacy Degrees?
Accredited Online College uses the most recent data from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. Each program is scored individually. It’s then compared to all other universities offering that degree to determine the final score you see by each ranking. Accredited Online College considers the affordability, student-to-faculty ratio, and the number of programs offered on-campus and online. For more information, see our methodology page.
Our No.1 spot for the best online college in pharmacy goes to Barton County Community College’s Pharmacy Technician Completion Certificate program. After finishing this program, you’ll be able to confidently assist pharmacists in dispensing medications and other administrative duties that accompany running a pharmacy.
While this program provides students with all the knowledge necessary to perform the job, you’ll still have to complete the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians national certification exams.
The certificate completion program is composed of 29 credit hours of coursework that can be finished in as little as two semesters, including an internship within a pharmacy. This is an entirely online program, and the school will work with students to find an approved pharmacy for the internship within the student’s local community.
Sinclair Community College offers a one-year, pharmacy technician, technical certificate for students looking for a quick way to get into a career. The requirements for admission into this program are relatively minimal. Sinclair is looking for students who have a high school diploma or its equivalent, who are 18 years or older, and who are proficient in English. If you check these criteria, then you’ll want to give this program a deeper look by checking out the school’s website.
This certificate program is 33-34 credit hours in duration and will require that students complete 80 hours of simulated lab experience and 210 hours of practical experience in a pharmacy. Examples of classes included in this program are Introduction to Healthcare Delivery, Pharmacy Technician I & II, Pharmacy Technician Directed Practice, and Fundamentals of Disease Processes, among others.
With the Pharmacy Technician Associate of Applied Science degree from Allen County Community College, you’ll be prepared with the skillset to work as a pharmacy technician or within the pharmaceutical industry as a whole. The program is four semesters in length and is composed of 60 credit hours of coursework. You’ll be taught the foundational knowledge necessary to be successful in aiding pharmacists while also exploring business concepts, operations of pharmacies, and other health-related concepts, such as nutrition.
Those in the AAS program will take roughly 15 credit hours each semester. Students in this program will start taking classes related to pharmacy tech in the first semester and have the ability to participate in an internship in the fourth semester. This school also has a Pharmacy Technician Certificate program that requires only 31 credit hours and can be completed in two semesters of study.
With the Master of Pharmaceutical Bioengineering program from the University of Washington, you’ll be able to start a new career in biotechnology or enter into the pharmaceutical industry. This program will teach you skills from many different fields, such as molecular biology, cellular biology, and pharmaceutics.
There are two track options available in the program: one in Drug Discovery and Design and the other in Translational Pharmaceutics. Each of the track options is 10 credit hours in duration. Whether you choose the Drug Discovery and Design track or the Translational Pharmaceutics track, all students will take the core curriculum in bioscience.
The bioscience core consists of four classes: Molecular and Cellular Biology for Pharmaceutical Bioengineering I, Pathophysiology for Pharmaceutical Bioengineering, and Pharmaceutics I and II. In total, the PharBE program is 38 credit hours in length.
Students at Casper College have two options for becoming a pharmacy technician, including an Associate of Applied Science track and a certificate program. CC’s Associate of Applied Science is designed for most students to complete in two years of full-time study.
Both the certificate and the degree program require that students have earned a high school diploma or its equivalent; have completed a medical terminology class, chemistry class, and biology class; and be enrolled in or have already completed a MATH 0920 class.
Those who choose to enroll in the Pharmacy Technology major will take courses such as Pharmacy Calculations, Pharmacology I & II, Pharmacy Law and Ethics, and American Heart Association BLS for the Provider. Students accepted into either of the school’s pharmacy technology programs are expected to maintain a 2.0 GPA each semester and hold a “Technician-in-Training” permit.
North Dakota State College of Science offers a Pharmacy Technician Associate of Applied Science as well as a Pharmacy Technician Certificate program. Both of these programs follow hybrid formats, meaning that the majority of the work can be completed online with only occasional visits to the school’s main campus required.
The AAS program consists of 68 credit hours of coursework. Students applying to this program must be high school graduates, 18 years of age, and submit ACT or placement test results. NDSCS also recommends that prospective students have taken algebra and chemistry while in high school.
The Pharmacy Technician Certificate program is composed of 44 credit hours that can be completed in one year, which is a year shorter than the time needed for the AAS program. Both programs include an eight-week internship designed to help consolidate information learned throughout studies. This internship takes place after all coursework requirements have been met.
State Fair Community College has designed its pharmacy technician programs for all types of students. If you’re looking for the bare minimum education required to be eligible to sit for the Pharmacy Technician Certificate Board Examination, then you’ll want to select the Skills Certificate in Pharmacy Technician, which only requires 18 credit hours of work. Students wanting more education but who don’t want to complete an associate’s degree will want to check out the 30-credit-hour Professional Certificate in Pharmacy Technician program.
The Associate of Applied Science in Health Care Specialist with an emphasis in Pharmacy Technician will qualify students to pursue a wider range of jobs in the health care industry. This degree includes 61.5 credit hours, and students will take all the courses required of those in the Professional Certificate in Pharmacy Technician, along with others, for a well-rounded education.
Pharmacists who want to learn more about patient-centered pharmacy care will want to look over the Master of Science in Clinical Pharmacy program from the University of Colorado – Denver. The program focuses on expanding the knowledge of students in pharmacy practice, applied clinical pharmacy practice, and pharmacotherapy and healthcare systems. This MS in Clinical Pharmacy program requires 33 semester hours for completion.
The core curriculum in this program is composed of 11.5 credit hours and includes courses like Clinical Skills Foundations, Drug Information Fundamental, Interprofessional Leadership & Development, and Instructional Materials. Program completion requires that students formulate and complete a thesis and two portfolio projects: one portfolio project in drug information and another in entrustable activities.
The Pharmacy Technician Diploma program from Southeast Community College will teach you everything you need to excel as a pharmacy technician. During this program, you’ll obtain experience in retail pharmacy, long-term care, and acute care. The school has an impressive post-graduation employment and continuing-education rate of 94%, based on the 2019 graduating class.
Students are typically able to complete this diploma in two semesters of study, and the entire program is only projected to cost $4,404. The diploma program features 30 credit hours of study, with six credit hours dedicated to general education requirements.
The program core consists of courses like Calculations for Pharmacy Technicians, Operations for Pharmacy Technicians, Pharmacology for Pharmacy Technicians, Pharmacy Law & Ethical Issues, and Clinical Education for Pharmacy Technicians. There are two start dates each year for the program: one in the fall and the other in the spring.
Vincennes University offers a Pharmacy Technology Associate of Science Career/Tech that will prepare graduates for entry-level management positions in pharmacies. This ASCT program is composed of 60 credit hours that can be completed in four semesters of full-time study. Each semester, students will take between 12-17 credit hours of classes. The school also offers a 33-credit-hour Pharmacy Technician Certificate of Graduation and a 23-credit-hour Pharmacy Technician Certificate of Program Completion.
All Pharmacy Technology students enrolled at VU are expected to possess a CPR certification through the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association and must provide verification of a Hepatitis B vaccination or the refusal of inoculation. The ASCT program does require practical experience, which is started in the second semester.
Southwestern Oregon Community College offers a Pharmacy Technician Certificate of Completion program. Prior to being eligible to apply to this program, students must have taken and completed a course or placement test in computer basics, basic mathematics, and academic literacy. This program includes 52 credit hours, with students able to finish their coursework in around three semesters of full-time study.
Students accepted into this program will start gaining the necessary knowledge to function as a pharmacy technician during the first semester of study, in courses such as Medical Terminology; Body Structures and Functions; and Introduction to Pharmacy: Practice and Law. There is also a required internship course that must be scheduled three months prior to the last semester of study.
The first Doctor of Pharmacy program on this list is offered by Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. You read that correctly – you can become a pharmacist through the completion of online coursework, coupled with practical experiences in pharmacies. LECOM’s PharmD program takes four years to complete, although students willing to visit campus can complete the degree in an accelerated three-year format.
This degree is no walk in the park, but for the dedicated student, it eliminates the barriers of on-campus programs. In the first semester of study, students will take classes such as Pharmacy Drugs and Healthcare, Biochemistry I, Physiology and Anatomy, and Pharmaceutical Calculations. During their fourth year, students gain much of their practical experience by working in pharmacies.
Complete your Associate in Applied Science in Pharmacy Technology from Central Piedmont Community College in just five semesters of study. You may also choose to complete the Diploma in Pharmacy Technology, which only requires three semesters of study. The AAS program requires that students complete 70-72 credit hours of coursework to earn their degree.
The Pharmacy Technology major consists of a wide variety of classes, including Pharmacy Practice I, Sterile Products, Hospital Pharmacy, and Community Pharmacy, among many others. When it comes time to participate in a clinical experience, students must undergo routine drug testing and a criminal background check. If you’re someone with a history of criminal charges, then you may want to check with the school to assess your eligibility for the program.
For those wanting to expand their knowledge in pharmaceuticals and foundational science to prepare for a Doctor of Pharmacy program, the Pre-Professional Pharmacy Graduate Certificate from the University of South Florida may be right for you. To be eligible for admission, students must have already earned a bachelor’s degree in biological science or chemistry while maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA. The school does not require the completion and submission of tests such as the GRE, PCAT, or MCAT.
USF’s graduate certificate is composed of 15 credit hours of coursework, with students taking at least three of the following courses: Basic Medical Immunology and Microbiology, Basic Medical Biochemistry, Basic Medical Physiology, Basic Medical Pharmacology, or Basic Medical Anatomy. Students can choose to complete all five of these courses or may select from a list of other relevant courses.
With thorough coursework in pharmacy tech and 180 hours of on-site experience and training, the Health Sciences – Pharmacy Technician Associate Degree from Ultimate Medical Academy sets you up for success. The degree was created to be completed in as few as 18 months of full-time study.
Upon completion of this program, you’ll be able to sit for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination. In total, the associate’s degree includes 61.5 credit hours of coursework.
The core curriculum in this program is composed of 37.5 credit hours and includes classes such as Pharmacology and Sterile Products & HIV/AIDS, Anatomy & Physiology and Pathophysiology, and Drug/Dosage Interaction and Pharmacy Law & Ethics, to name just a few. Those enrolled in this program will also take 15 credit hours of general education courses and nine credit hours of elective courses.
If you’re changing careers or attending college for the first time, then you may need to start off at a slower pace to smooth your transition into higher education. If this sounds like you, then Minnesota West Community & Technical College’s Pharmacy Technician Certificate program may be an ideal option.
The first semester eases students into learning, with only one five-semester-credit class called Pharmacy Principles and Practices. The second semester of the program is a little more intense, requiring students to take 10 credit hours of courses.
Classes in the program include Medical Terminology in Healthcare, Externship – Retail, and Externship – Hospital. The school’s website states that the completion of these classes will enable students to sit for the certification exam as a pharmacy technician.
Many states, including Iowa, require that pharmacy technicians sit for a national certification examination. To be eligible to sit for a certification examination, individuals must have completed coursework that teaches the foundational knowledge necessary to function as a pharmacy technician.
The Pharmacy Technician Certificate from Northwest Iowa Community College is a short program that provides this foundational knowledge. The certificate program is made up of three classes covering an introduction, pharmacology, and a practicum.
The school also offers a Pharmacy Technician Diploma that is 32 credit hours in length. The program takes two semesters to complete, with students earning 15 credits in the fall and 17 credits in the spring. During the first semester, students will take classes like Introduction to Pharmacy Technician, Medical Terminology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Math Fundamentals, and Public Speaking.
With a skills-based curriculum and practicum experience, the Pharmacy Technician Certificate program from Rasmussen College will prepare you for your first day on the job. This program consists of 38 credit hours spread out over 12 courses. Twelve courses may sound like a lot to take on, but these classes can be completed in only nine months of study.
The curriculum consists of eight credit hours of general education and 30 credit hours of core coursework. The core curriculum features courses such as Career Development, Medical Terminology, Medical Law and Ethics, Foundations of Pharmacy Practice, and Sterile and Non-Sterile Compounding.
Two classes compose the general education curriculum: Introduction to Communication and Structure & Function of the Human Body. Applicants to this program should note that the program does not lead to eligibility for licensure in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia.
Those specifically interested in learning about how drugs affect the mind will want to check out the Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Master of Arts in Psychopharmacology program. The school is looking for applicants with an undergraduate degree in a similar discipline, such as applied behavior analysis, marriage and family therapy, or mental health counseling. Applicants are also expected to have taken a class in abnormal psychology and research methods or basic statistics with a grade of B or greater.
The MA in Psychopharmacology is expected to take students 18 months to complete. Examples of classes featured in the program include Anatomy I: Medical Anatomy and Physiology; Diagnostic Methods I: Advanced Physical Assessment; and Diagnostic Methods III: Laboratory Testing, Neuroimaging, and Electrophysiology.
North Central State College’s Pharmacy Technician Certificate is offered in conjunction with the Pioneer Career and Technology Center. This program is open to students two times per year in the fall and the spring.
The program is split into two sections: Pharmacy Tech Training Part A and Pharmacy Tech Training Part B. Part A focuses on the knowledge and theoretical aspects of being a pharmacy technician, and it consists of eight credit hours of coursework and eight lecture hours.
Part B of the program is designed to be more hands-on, with students completing 20 hours of practical clinical experience at a local pharmacy. During Part B, students will also learn the operations side of running a pharmacy and will participate in mock, pharmacy tech certification exams. These mock exams are designed to prepare students to pass their real exams on the first attempt.
Specifically geared toward the laboratory professional, Michigan State University’s Master of Science in Integrative Pharmacology is ideal for individuals striving for leadership roles in their organization. The program is designed to teach its students pharmacology principles while also focusing on the development of administrative and organizational skills.
The program includes 31 credit hours and takes students an average of two years to complete. The core curriculum is made up of seven classes, including Principles of Drug-Tissue Interactions, Experimental Design and Data Analysis, Communications for Biomedical Researchers, and a Capstone Literature Review.
Students can also explore topics of interest through one of MSU’s more than 20 elective courses. Those interested in this program should also check out the school’s online Master of Science in Pharmacology and Toxicology.
For an almost entirely online program, the Pharmacy Technician Associate’s at North Central Missouri College offers great value and a top-notch education. Sometimes studying complex subjects such as pharmacy requires that students focus intensely for a short period. Consequently, NCMC breaks up the four core-curriculum pharmacy courses in the spring semester of the odd-numbered year. Students will take two of the core-curriculum courses in the first eight weeks and the other two in the last eight weeks of the semester.
This program is composed of 60 credit hours of coursework that is spread over two academic years. The program does require travel to the main campus occasionally for the laboratory component of certain classes. Studies at NCMC conclude with an internship, and to be eligible for this experience, students must complete each course with a grade C or better.
The ambitious learner looking for a dual-degree program may find the perfect fit in Concordia University’s Doctor of Pharmacy and MBA Dual Degree program. As is the case for most doctorate degrees, business classes are not a major part of pharmacy studies. This is where the MBA can set you apart from others; pharmacists wanting to set up their own shop upon graduation may find this dual program of particular benefit to their future aspirations.
There are more than 15 MBA concentrations to choose from, including Health Care Administration, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Sustainability Management and Analytics, and Management Information Systems. Up to 19 credit hours of coursework count toward both degrees at once, which accounts for major time and cost savings when compared to pursuing the degrees separately.
The Pharmacy Technician Associate of Science program from American National University ensures that you graduate with the competence to start working immediately after graduation. The school accomplishes this by requiring that students complete two externship experiences, each accounting for 120 hours. This means that when students graduate, they will have accumulated over 240 hours of hands-on clinical experience.
The AS core curriculum focuses on nine areas that are essential for pharmacy technicians, including Pharmacology, Dosage and Calculations of Medications, Health Care Law and Ethics, and Diseases of the Human Body. While the majority of the program is asynchronous, there are required synchronous portions, meaning that students will have to tune in at specific times to watch lectures.
Whether you choose Daymar College’s Pharmacy Technology Associate of Science or its Bachelor of Science, you’ll be sure to graduate with a comprehensive understanding of the field. The AS degree is composed of 96 quarter credit hours, which can be completed in around 18 months of full-time study. With the AS program, you’ll take classes such as Pathophysiology, Medical Law and Ethics, and Pharmacy Terminology and Calculations.
The advantage of starting out in the Associate of Science program is that all the credits earned can be transferred to the Health Care Administration – Pharmacy Technology Bachelor of Science degree Program. This degree will not only educate you in pharmacy technology but will also develop the skills and knowledge necessary to manage healthcare organizations and services.
Creighton University is a pioneer in teaching pharmacy via distance learning, as it was the first accredited institution to offer a full-time, online Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Classes at Creighton are taught in semesters, and a variety of mediums used to present material include discussion boards, email, web conferencing, and distance-teaching software. Becoming a Doctor of Pharmacy extends much further than the theoretical knowledge learned in books, which is why this program also requires that students complete eight, five-week clinical experiences before graduation.
Students will be required to travel to Creighton’s campus a few times throughout the program, but only for two-week sessions that occur during the summer semester. The rest of the coursework is asynchronous, with the exception of a few classes that are taught live and require virtual attendance at specific times.
Undergraduate students seeking an online degree program to prepare them for pharmacy school will find it hard to do better than South College’s Associate of Science in Health Science (Pre-Pharmacy). Students who enroll in this program can expect to complete the degree in two years of full-time study.
The program focuses on a range of related subjects, such as anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, organic chemistry, and microbiology. All of these subjects are necessary for a comprehensive understanding of pharmacology.
An added advantage to completing the AS in Health Science (Pre-Pharmacy) program is that those who graduate will have an advantage when applying to pharmacy school, especially if they choose South College’s PharmD program. The PharmD program from South College is a three-year program that requires students to attend classes at the school’s Knoxville, TN, campus.
US-licensed practicing pharmacists wishing to go back to school to earn their doctorate in pharmacy degree will find affordability and quality in Shenandoah University’s Nontraditional Doctor Of Pharmacy (NTDP) program. This program consists of a total of 53 credit hours of coursework divided into didactic courses and experiential education. The didactic courses account for 38 credit hours, while the experiential education is accounted for in the remaining 15 credit hours.
While this is an almost entirely online program, the school does require that those enrolled attend one on-site clinical skills assessment before graduation. The program is expected to take students between seven and eight semesters to complete, and its total cost comes in at a reasonable estimated $39,455.
The Online Certificate in Pharmaceutical Management from the New Jersey Institute of Technology is suited to students wanting to learn how pharmaceuticals are developed and how the drugs affect markets and the economy at large. This certificate program is 12 credit hours in duration, with each credit hour costing students around $1,050.
This program places a special focus on the business aspects of the pharmaceutical industry. Students learn subjects related to principles of pharmaceutical engineering, validation and regulatory issues, and global market competition. Those who take advantage of this program will also learn and develop leadership and management skills to excel in their future positions.
Those fascinated by the marketing aspects of pharmaceuticals will be excited to learn about Saint Joseph’s University’s Pharmaceutical & Healthcare Marketing Certificate. While the certificate is advertised as a post-master’s certificate, the program’s webpage states that it accepts those who have completed a bachelor’s degree, Master of Business Administration degree, or master’s degree in another subject.
To earn the Pharmaceutical & Healthcare Marketing Certificate, students will select six courses out of a list of industry-specific, relevant courses offered by the Haub School of Business. Students who find this program of interest may want to also check out the school’s Pharmaceutical & Healthcare Marketing MBA, which provides a solid business background and foundation for those wanting to work in the pharmaceutical industry.
Will I Be a Competitive Applicant to a Pharmacy Program?
Whether or not you’ll be a competitive applicant will depend on your professional and educational background, as well as the specific program you choose. Many of the schools on our list of the top 30 accredited online colleges in pharmacy offer pharmacy technician programs. Becoming a pharmacy technician is also one of the least educationally intensive routes to entering pharmacy, which means pharmacy technician programs also have some of the least demanding admission requirements.
Whether you’re looking to pursue a pharmacy technician certificate or associate’s degree, almost every program you’ll find will require that its applicants have obtained a high school diploma or GED. Some of the programs on this list require that students also submit ACT scores or take school placement exams. These test scores will help the admission team determine how successful you’ll be in their program. Your success is important to accredited schools, as most require that students maintain at least a 2.0 GPA throughout their studies.
What Are the Requirements to Apply for a Pharmacy Degree Program?
If you’re applying to a master’s degree program, the requirements for admission are going to be different. Most pharmacy technician master’s degree programs require that applicants have earned a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as pharmacy or biochemistry. Additionally, these programs may require students to submit references that can attest to their work ethic and character. Often these programs also want to view a sample of the prospective student’s writing, whether that be through the submission of previous writings or the answering of specific essay questions. Some schools are looking for students with specific undergraduate GPAs, but you’ll have to check out the specific program requirements for the school to which you want to apply.
The Doctor of Pharmacy degrees on this list have relatively similar admission requirements to those of the master’s degree programs. Essentially, doctorate programs look for the completion of a bachelor’s degree, or at least the completion of pre-requisite coursework, a sample of the student’s writing, and the submission of letters of recommendation.
How Much Can I Earn With a Degree in Pharmacy?
Much like the specific admission requirements question, your salary upon graduation from an online college in pharmacy will depend on the degree and program you choose to pursue. Salaries will also vary depending on the state or region in which you decide to work, as shortages of trained personnel in states can drive up the salary.
Let’s start by discussing the earning potential for those who decide to become pharmacy technicians. In 2019, there were an estimated 422,300 individuals employed as pharmacy technicians. They are reported to take home a median pay of $16.32 per hour, which calculates out to just under $34,000 per year.
Individuals who decide to go the extra mile to earn a Doctorate in Pharmacy and become a licensed pharmacist can expect to earn just over $128,000 per year, but the number of pharmacist jobs is projected to decrease by around 1% over the next ten years.
Some of the programs on this list involve the business and marketing aspects of pharmaceuticals. Individuals who pursue these programs may want to consider a career as a pharmaceutical sales representative. Sales representatives, in general, are reported to earn a median income of $81,020, with the field estimated to grow at an average rate of 3-4% in the next ten years. Pharmaceutical sales representatives may earn significantly more than sales representatives working in other industries.
Finally, those pursuing degrees in pharmacy may end up in a career as a medical scientist, whose job is to conduct research. In 2019, there were a reported 138,300 people employed as medical scientists. Around 20% of those employed as medical scientists report having a master’s degree, while 29% report having a doctorate. Medical scientists can expect to earn around $88,790 per year, or $42.69 per hour.
If you’re interested in pursuing higher education, then you should check out 30 Accredited Online Colleges For Nursing and 30 Accredited Online Colleges For Medical Assistant!