One of the biggest obstacles individuals face in obtaining a degree in pharmacy is finding the cheapest pharmacy schools. However, there are many low-cost pharmacy universities where you can earn your degree without breaking the bank.
This article outlines the cheapest pharmacy degrees from the most affordable pharmacy schools in the United States. Included below are details about the educational programs they offer, including school rankings, as well as the average cost of each pharmacy degree program. We’ll also cover some of the highest-paying job roles available to graduates.
What Are the Most Affordable Pharmacy Schools in the US?
The most affordable pharmacy schools in the US include the University of South Florida, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and South Dakota University. These cheap pharmacy schools have an excellent reputation and provide students with world-class experiential education. This top education enables graduates to secure high-paying jobs in the pharmacy profession.
How Much Do the Cheapest Pharmacy Schools Cost?
The cheapest pharmacy schools’ cost of attendance ranges between $6,000 to $44,000 per year. Students can supplement these costs through loans, grants, and other state or federal funding options. Attending an affordable pharmacy school can launch you into a high-paying career in the pharmacy field without accumulating student debt.
Cheapest Pharmacy Schools Costs Breakdown
- Tuition. Tuition costs represent the amount you pay yearly for your university’s educational instruction. The annual tuition fee usually accounts for the majority of your college expenditure.
- Accommodation. Whether you choose to live on or off-campus, you will also need to pay for housing costs.
- Books and supplies. Pharmacy requires a lot of studies, and you will be required to pay for textbooks and other learning resources during your program.
- Transportation. While some schools provide free transportation within their premises, others may need you to cover your own transportation costs while pursuing your degree.
- Health insurance. You will also need to stay up to date on your medical insurance payments to ensure that you have access to proper healthcare when necessary. Many schools offer health insurance that can be supported by the campus medical facility for an additional fee.
Why You Should Attend a Pharmacy School
You should attend a pharmacy school because a career in pharmacy allows you to earn a lucrative salary while directly contributing to the health and wellness of your community and environment. You will be taught by expert faculty that will train you to thrive in your role as a pharmacist working in community clinics, or even as a professor in higher learning institutions.
In addition, the requirements for pharmacy school are not very difficult. According to PharmCAS, 88.6 percent of applicants were accepted into pharmacy colleges between 2020 and 2021.
Best Pharmacy School Career Options
By attending a pharmacy school, you’ll have access to a wide range of exciting career opportunities. Graduates with a pharmacy degree can work as retail pharmacists, hospital pharmacists, medical research scientists, postsecondary teachers, or medical writers in the field of pharmacy.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for pharmacists is expected to decline by 2 percent between 2020 and 2030. However, pharmacy jobs are still among the highest-paying medical jobs, and you can secure an industry or academia job with the right skill set and strong career goals.
The average salary for a graduate with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree is $122,000 per year, according to PayScale. However, individuals can increase their annual salary by pursuing additional degrees or dual degree options or by applying for jobs in higher-paying companies.
Can You Attend Pharmacy School for Free?
No, you typically cannot attend pharmacy school for free. However, you can take advantage of the numerous healthcare scholarships and other forms of financial aid available to cover your tuition cost and other critical expenses.
You can also fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to discover how much federal funding you are eligible to receive while in pharmacy school.
Cheapest Pharmacy Schools That Won’t Break the Bank
|University of South Florida
|University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
|South Dakota State University
|University of Texas at Austin
|Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville
|Texas A&M University – College Station
|University of California – San Diego
|Rutgers University – New Brunswick
What Are the Cheapest Pharmacy Schools? A Deep Dive
Paying for Pharmacy School With Financial Aid
Several financial aid options exist for students that are ready for pharmacy school. They include federal grants, federal loans, private loans, and work-study programs. With these financial aid benefits, students can cover all or part of their tuition and other essential expenses.
Federal grants are non-repayable financial awards given by the United States government to eligible students pursuing a degree from an accredited university. State governments also provide grants to resident students who meet their eligibility criteria. Examples of federal grants include the Federal Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant.
Federal loans allow students to borrow money to cover the cost of their tuition and other expenses. However, these loans contain strict repayment terms and a specific amount of interest. The United States offers students Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized, Direct PLUS, and Direct Consolidation loan options.
Private loans are a form of financial aid provided to students by banks, credit unions, and other lending agencies. Although private loans can be a valuable source of funding for students needing financial assistance, in most cases, their repayment plans are not as flexible as federal loans.
Federal work-study programs enable students to cover some of their college expenses by taking up a part-time job. These jobs are available to students enrolled in full-time or part-time programs. The total amount of money a student can earn from a work-study program depends on the timing of their application, their school’s funding, and the severity of their financial need.
Best Schools For Your Area of Study
How to Apply for Federal Aid to Finance Your Pharmacy School Program
Provided you meet the criteria for financial aid and complete the FAFSA form before the deadline, you can have access to financial aid packages to help you fund your education through pharmacy school. Applying for federal aid is straightforward and can be completed by following a few easy steps.
- Gather all the necessary documents. The first step in your application is to ensure that you have your social security number or parent’s social security number (for dependent students), driver’s license, federal tax information, and other tax-related documents. You also need to provide your financial information, including savings and checking account balances.
- Fill out the FAFSA form. After gathering all the required documents, you can complete the FAFSA form online via fafsa.gov or the myStudentaid app, download a PDF copy and send it via mail for processing, or have it sent by your school.
- Review your Student Aid Report. After submitting your FAFSA form, you should receive a student aid report. Your student aid report should contain your expected family contribution (EFC), a data release number (DRN), and a detailed history of any financial aid you have previously received.
- Evaluate your options. Next, you must check with your school’s financial aid office to know what financial aid options are available to you. These options include federal loans, work-study options, scholarships, and grants.
- Choose the best financial aid offers. After evaluating all the offers you have been provided, you must now choose which would be best for you considering your unique circumstances and how much assistance you need.
Best Pharmacy Scholarships
- Tylenol Future Care Scholarship | Amount: $10,000 or $5,000. Recipients of this award must be US citizens who are high school seniors or university graduates intending to pursue a Master’s or PhD in Pharmacy, Nursing, or Medicine.
- CVS Health Minority Scholarship for Pharmacy Students | Amount: $8,000. This scholarship is awarded to underrepresented minority students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 who have demonstrated strong leadership abilities and have received admission into an ACPE-accredited pharmacy degree program.
- Walmart Health Equity Scholarship for Pharmacy Students | Amount: $5,000. This scholarship is available to P1, P2, or P3 students in a four-year program, P1 or P2 students in a three-year program, or P2 to P5 students in a six-year program. Recipients must also demonstrate an interest in helping rural or medically disadvantaged areas.
- American Society of Health Systems Pharmacists (ASHP) Student Leadership Award | Amount: $2,000. Recipients of this award must be ASHP members enrolled in ACPE-accredited programs. They must also have completed one academic year with a minimum GPA of 2.75.
- Health Resources and Services Administration Scholarships (HRSA) for Disadvantaged Students | Amount: Up to $40,000. This award is available to low-income US citizens or residents pursuing a healthcare degree at an accredited university.
Cheapest Undergraduate Pharmacy Schools
Aspiring students seeking an undergraduate pharmacy degree can pursue an associate degree or a professional Doctor of Pharmacy program. The list below covers the cheapest pharmacy schools in the United States for these degree options.
Most Affordable Pharmacy Associate Degree Programs
- Mount Wachusett Community College | Associate of Science in Pre-Pharmacy | $25/credit-hour (resident); $230/credit-hour (non-resident). Students enrolled in this 62-credit associate degree will learn topics in organic chemistry, biology, physics, anatomy, and physiology to enable them to pursue a professional pharmacy degree.
- Oklahoma City Community College | Associate of Science in Chemistry (Pre-Pharmacy Option)| $100.84/credit (resident); $191.70/credit (non-resident). This 61 to 64-credit associate degree covers all the basic science fundamentals for individuals to pursue a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in any college of pharmacy in the United States.
- Henry Ford College | Associate of Science in Pre-Pharmacy | $108/credit (in-district); $188/credit (out of district); $237/credit (out of state). Upon completing the required 41 credit hours for this program, graduates can transfer to a four-year college to obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.
- Casper College | Associate of Science in Pre-Pharmacy | $147/credit (in-state); $357/credit (out of state). This two-year program prepares students to pursue a professional pharmacy degree at the university. Students are required to complete 70 credits.
- Seminole State College of Florida | Associate in Arts in Pharmacy| $79.97/credit. This 60-credit associate degree contains biology, organic chemistry, anatomy, and physiology courses to prepare students for a professional degree at a four-year institution.
Most Affordable Doctor of Pharmacy Programs
- University of South Florida | Doctor of Pharmacy | $347.91/credit (resident); $877.17/credit (non-resident). This affordable pharmacy degree offered by the USF requires PharmD students to complete a minimum of 150 credit hours, with 50 of those hours being from introductory pharmacy practice experiences.
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Doctor of Pharmacy | $586.23/credit (resident); $1,602.45/credit (non-resident). UNC at Chapel Hill provides a world-class pharmacy education to students in their 139.5-credit program via lectures, immersion experiences, and clinical sessions.
- South Dakota State University | Doctor of Pharmacy | $5,096/semester (resident); $10,903/semester (non-resident). SDSU is an excellent location to pursue a professional PharmD degree. This program lasts for six years and includes a two-year pre-pharmacy program.
- University of Texas at Austin | Doctor of Pharmacy | $10,774/semester (resident); $24,620/semester (non-resident). The University of Texas at Austin’s PharmD program ensures that graduates are ready to take up leading roles in the pharmaceutical industry by providing numerous 40 to 50-hour practical internship sessions.
- Purdue University | Doctor of Pharmacy | $11,148/semester (resident); $20,278/semester (non-resident). Purdue University’s cost-effective, 146.5-credit PharmD program accepts individuals who have completed a pre-pharmacy degree from Purdue University or any other accredited institution.
Best Online Associate Degrees
Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees
Cheapest Graduate Schools for Pharmacy
The cheapest graduate schools for pharmacy provide students with top-notch master’s degrees and doctoral programs taught by world-class faculty members at an affordable cost. Students at these institutions can obtain graduate degrees and land high-paying jobs at leading pharmaceutical companies.
Most Affordable Schools for Master’s Degrees in Pharmacy
- South Dakota State University | Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences | $340.15/credit (resident); $888.10/credit (non-resident). This master’s degree is an excellent choice for pharmacy professionals seeking further education to land better job opportunities within their field.
- University of South Florida | Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology | $347.91/credit (resident); $877.17/credit (non-resident). This 32-credit graduate program provides an affordable route for students to get involved in one of the most in-demand industries. It is available in online and on-campus formats.
- Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville | Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences (Pharmacology Track) | $350/credit. This 34-credit graduate program is an affordable option for professionals seeking advanced drug discovery knowledge.
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Master of Science in Health Systems and Pharmacy Administration |$586.23/credit (resident); $1,602.45/credit (non-resident). This 35-credit graduate degree is a low-cost pathway to kickstart a career in administrative healthcare roles such as health systems management.
- Auburn University | Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences (Medicinal Chemistry) | $560/credit (resident); $1,680/credit (non-resident). This 30-credit master’s program allows students to learn about drug discovery and development in a hands-on manner.
Most Affordable PhDs in Universities
- Purdue University | PhD in Industrial and Physical Pharmacy | $347.85/credit (resident); $948.30/credit (non-resident). Students with a pharmacy, chemical engineering, or biological science background seeking to pursue a low-cost PhD that covers drug discovery and pharmaceutical biotechnology can enroll in this program.
- University of Texas at Austin | PhD in Molecular Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery | $1,362/credit (resident); $2,013/credit (non-resident). This affordable doctoral degree equips students with the essential skills to work as researchers in academia or with top pharmaceutical agencies.
- Texas A&M University – College Station | PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences | $8,026/semester (resident); $17,558/semester (non-resident). This program focuses on cutting-edge pharmaceutical techniques. Upon admission, students will be exposed to intense training in drug discovery and development and dosage formulation.
- Rutgers University – New Brunswick | PhD in Pharmaceutical Science | $9,876/semester (resident); $16,944/semester (non-resident). This doctoral program incorporates the latest information on genomics and big data with modern pharmaceutical science research to produce highly-knowledgeable graduates.
- University of California – San Diego | PhD in Pharmaceutical Science and Drug Development | $46,210/year (resident); $58,455/year (non-resident). Advanced knowledge of drug discovery is an essential requirement at most major pharmaceutical companies. This degree helps pharmacy professionals get into this industry with ease.
Best Online Master’s Degrees
Best Online PhD Programs
How to Choose a Good and Affordable Pharmacy School
Although there are many low-cost pharmacy schools available, not all of them are a good choice to pursue your pharmacy degree. Before deciding on the perfect fit, you’ll need to consider the school’s pharmacy program’s reputation, curriculum, accreditation status, and faculty. Selecting the right school is important for your future career prospects.
Quality of Curriculum
When searching for an affordable pharmacy college, it’s important to consider the quality of the school’s curriculum. You should carefully search for universities that offer pharmacy programs that feature world-class faculty and comprehensive coursework. Enrolling in a school with low tuition costs and a quality teaching experience is always the best choice.
The overall reputation of your prospective program among recruiters, employers, and industry leaders is critical when seeking admission into pharmacy school. One of the best ways to determine how your program is perceived within the pharmacy field is to examine its overall percent job placement rate.
Some low-cost pharmacy universities may not be accredited. It is crucial to determine a school’s accreditation status before applying. You can easily check your prospective institution’s accreditation status on the National Center for Education Statistics websites or the university’s website.
Tips for Saving Money While Attending Pharmacy School
- Maintain a budget. Having and sticking to a budget while in pharmacy school is essential to keep track of your expenditure and save as much money as possible.
- Find affordable accommodation. Housing costs are one of the biggest expenses for university students at pharmacy schools. Be sure to find accommodation that is within your budget range.
- Take advantage of student offers. Many retailers and service providers offer discounts to students. Searching and using these offers is a great way to save some extra money.
- Share textbooks when you can. Rather than buying textbooks you don’t use often, you could borrow from a friend or visit your school’s library. Furthermore, buying used textbooks instead of new ones will significantly save you money.
- Manage your credit card expenditure. Avoid accumulating unnecessary credit card debt. The easiest way to do so is to avoid using your credit card and pay with cash whenever possible.
Cheapest Online Schools for Pharmacy
There are several cheap schools for pharmacy online. By enrolling in these colleges, you can secure a Master’s or Doctor of Pharmacy degree while taking your lectures virtually. The most affordable online pharmacy schools are listed below.
|University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
|$586.23/credit (resident); $1,602.45/credit (non-resident)
|Ohio State University
|$722.50/credit (resident); $922.50/credit (non-resident)
|University of Florida
|University of Cincinnati
|$783/credit (resident); $798/credit (non-resident)
|St. John Fisher College
Most Affordable Online Doctor of Pharmacy Programs
- St. John Fisher College | Doctor of Pharmacy | $1,130/credit. This online 151-credit professional pharmacy degree is New York’s first online pharmacy program. Students can take internship rotations at locations within their community.
- Massachusets College of Health Sciences | Non-Traditional Doctor of Pharmacy | $1,060/credit. Employed, licensed pharmacists who have previously obtained a pharmacy degree and want to upgrade to a Doctor of Pharmacy can do so by enrolling in this 24-month online program.
- Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine | Doctor of Pharmacy | $28,605/year. This four-year online PharmD program allows students to receive state-of-the-art training while gaining clinical experience by practicing in community settings. Students must visit LECOM’s Bradenton campus during the summer for laboratory sessions.
- Duquesne University | Doctor of Pharmacy | $1,773/credit. Duquesne University allows aspiring pharmacists to earn their Doctor of Pharmacy online within four years. Enrolled students will take classes online and make brief, scheduled visits to the school’s campus to complete their laboratory hours.
- Creighton University | Doctor of Pharmacy| $39,514/year (years 1-3); $58,318(year 4). Students participating in this highly-ranked four-year program will take lectures and interact with faculty members via virtual platforms and practice their rotations at any of Creighton University’s designated locations within or outside the United States.
Most Affordable Online Pharmacy Master’s Programs
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Master of Science in Health-System Pharmacy Administration | $485/credit (resident); $1,720/credit (non-resident). This 35-credit online master’s program includes courses on health system pharmacy leadership and advanced hospital pharmacy operations.
- Ohio State University | Master of Science in Translational Pharmacology | $722.50/credit. This 30 to 36-credit online master’s program offers clinical pharmacology, clinical trial design, and toxicology and safety pharmacology specialization tracks.
- University of Florida | Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Regulation | $750/credit. Students enrolled in this program have access to a wide array of specialty tracks, including applied pharmacogenomics, pharmaceutical regulation, managed care pharmacy systems, and medication safety and quality systems.
- University of Cincinnati | Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Science (Drug Development) | $783/credit (resident); $798/credit (non-resident). This two-year, 30-credit, fully online program prepares students for job openings as clinical researchers, quality assurance specialists, and medical project managers.
- Drexel University | Master of Science in Drug Discovery and Development | $1,552/credit. This 38 to 41-credit master’s degree provides thesis and non-thesis options. In addition to drug discovery and development courses, students will also learn concepts from pharmacology and biostatistics.
Will Attending an Online Pharmacy School Save Me Money?
Yes, attending an online pharmacy school will save you money. Online programs help eliminate extra expenses such as housing and transportation costs which could become an added financial burden for many on-campus students.
Benefits of Online Pharmacy Programs
- Convenience. Online pharmacy programs allow you to access a world-class educational experience without relocating from your state or country. You can easily enroll in a leading pharmacy program from anywhere in the world.
- Affordability. By enrolling in an online pharmacy program, you can eliminate added costs such as accommodation and transportation.
- Rewatchable lectures. A significant advantage of attending an online pharmacy school is prolonged access to your course content. You can revisit your lectures and take notes as many times as possible within a particular period.
- Flexibility. Online pharmacy programs are very flexible and allow you to adjust your learning times to fit in with your current schedule.
- Opportunity to learn modern workplace skills. Online pharmacy programs will also teach vital remote work and time management skills that many 21st century companies require.
Highest-Paying Pharmacy Careers
|Doctor of Pharmacy
|Ambulatory Care Pharmacist
|Doctor of Pharmacy
|Medical Research Scientist
|Doctor of Pharmacy or PhD
Best Pharmacy Jobs Explained
The best pharmacy school jobs pay attractive salaries and allow licensed pharmacists to apply their knowledge and skills to solve real-world healthcare challenges. These jobs include community pharmacist, ambulatory care pharmacist, and medical research scientist.
Pharmacy Schools Ranking Methodology: How We Ranked the Most Affordable Pharmacy Schools
We chose the most affordable pharmacy colleges based on tuition and general costs information from the schools’ official websites, the US Department of Education’s database of accredited schools, and the US Department of Education’s College Scorecard tool.
Additional Reading About Pharmacy
[query_class_embed] https://careerkarma.com/blog/how-to-get-into-pharmacy-school/ https://careerkarma.com/blog/pharmacy-tech/ https://careerkarma.com/blog/trends-in-pharmacological-sciences/
Cheapest Pharmacy Schools FAQ
Yes, pharmacists make a lot of money. Pharmacy jobs are among the highest-paying healthcare career options. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacists make an average of $128,570 per year. In comparison, registered nurses make about $77,600 per year.
A pharmacy technician works closely with a pharmacist and helps them hand out medications to customers or patients. Unlike pharmacists, pharmacy technicians only need a high school diploma or its equivalent to begin their career journey.
No, you cannot get a pharmacy job without a degree. However, if you are passionate about healthcare, there are many non-degree healthcare jobs that you can apply for that also pay a decent salary.
No, pharmacy school is not the same as medical school. Pharmacy school usually requires six years of study, upon which graduates are awarded a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree. Medical school lasts four years after the completion of a four-year bachelor’s degree, and graduates receive a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.