California is home to over 39 million people and is one of the most prominent states in the United States. Due to the state’s large population, healthcare needs in the state are always high and pharmacists are always needed as well.
To become a certified pharmacist in California, you must complete a doctor of pharmacy program from an accredited school of medicine. As of 2020, about 32,520 pharmacists were working in the state earning an average yearly salary of $146,070.
California state has some of the best pharmacy schools in the US. To help you make an informed decision on which pharmacy school to choose, I am going to rank some of the best pharmacy schools in California. Starting from number 10.
Best Pharmacy School in California
10. Keck Graduate Institute School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Keck Graduate Institute School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is a fully certified pharmacy school in California. The institution was founded in 2014 and offers a four-year pharmacy program that is focused on providing articulate, collaborative, caring and innovative pharmacists.
Keck Graduate Institute School of Pharmacy has continued to grow in terms of reputation for excellence and the number of students enrolled each year.
- Location: Elk Grove
California Northstate University College of Pharmacy (CNUCOP) is devoted to providing progressive educational programs and preparing aspiring pharmacists for a great career in the healthcare field.
Located in the exotic city of Elk Grove in Sacramento, CA, the university trains students through its three fully equipped departments – Clinical & Administrative, Pharmaceutical & Biomedical Sciences, and Experiential Education.
California Northstate University offers a 4-year PharmD program with sequential coursework, delivered through classroom lectures, lab work, clinical experiences, and independent study which can be done after completion of the first year.
During the first three years, students will learn about cell & molecular biology, pharmacoepidemiology, medicinal chemistry, pharmacy law, pharmacokinetics, and introductory level of pharmacy practices.
8. Marshall B. Ketchum University College of Pharmacy
- Location: Fullerton, California
Marshall B. Ketchum University is a complete healthcare institute that is focused on training clinicians and pharmacists. The institution was initially established as a multidisciplinary with an additional college of pharmacy and school of PA studies in the year 2013 and 2011, respectively. The university is passionate about providing compassionate, competent, and caring healthcare services to society.
Marshall B. Ketchum University College of Pharmacy is where the next generation of health care leaders are trained.
The last or fourth year will be dedicated to advanced level of pharmacy practices in a variety of locations such as hospitals, general medicine, community, and other patient-care facilities.
Graduates of this program are fully capable of efficiently working as pharmacists in the ever-growing field of healthcare.
7. Loma Linda University
- Location: Loma Linda, California
Loma Linda University is an Adventist university located in Loma Linda, California. The university was initially established as a health science institution in 1966, and now offers over 100 certificate and degree programs. Even though the university is part of a Seventh-day Adventist system of higher education, it is open to students of all faith.
Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy is regarded as one of the best in California. Students go through a full-time, four years course, which prepares them for a PharmD degree in the long run. The main aim of the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree program is to produce a highly qualified team of pharmacists who are fully committed to the course.
Clinical rotations begin in the second year, and students must take a minimum of six Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience rotations throughout their fourth and final year.
Concurrent graduate degree programs are available for students who want to pursue Master’s degrees in Bioethics or Health Informatics while they are completing their Pharm.D. studies.
6. Western University of Health Sciences
- Location: Pomona, California
Western University of Health Sciences is a private university that was founded in 1977. The university is located in Pomona, California. The school offers degrees in physician assistant, optometry, nursing, dental medicine, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, osteopathic, biomedical sciences, and physical therapy.
The Pharm.D. program teaches potential pharmacists to take their positions together with other healthcare professions in today’s rapidly evolving healthcare environment. The university uses 350 sites, including VA facilities, county hospitals, pediatric hospitals, and private hospitals. The pharmacy program offers a series of experimental clinics which enhance the skills of the students.
The program also offers a wealth of clinical experiences, and students have done rotations in many locations outside southern California, including Arizona, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Utah, and even Thailand.
Clinical experiences begin early with a rotation through a community or hospital pharmacy. Most of the first and second years are devoted to “block learning,” during which students are immersed in the concentrated study of one subject area. Intensive clinical rotations begin in the third year of this four-year program.
5. The University of the Pacific.
- Location: Stockton, California
The University of the Pacific is a top-notch institution of higher learning that is in Stockton, California. The university focuses on accelerated courses in pharmacy, law, and dentistry. The school was founded in 1851 as California Wesleyan College before changing to the university of the pacific.
The University of the Pacific provides three types of specialization in the field of pharmacy: Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmaceutics, which develops students to work in the pharmaceutical field; pharmacy practice, which develops students to be community pharmacists; and Pharmacology and physiology, which prepare and develops students for their academic careers.
Students are trained in useful skills such as patient counseling, physical examination, provision of treatment, performing clinical procedures, and completing medical histories.
The application deadline for the University of the Pacific is September 4 for early admission; if not, it is January 7 for the semester that starts the following fall. Students begin developing patient care skills in their very first semester. Clinical rotations take place at medical centers, teaching hospitals, and related practice areas throughout Stockton and other parts of the San Joaquin Valley.
4. Touro University
- Location: Vallejo, California
Touro University is a Jewish-funded institution of professional education and higher learning. The university offers several graduate and undergraduate programs including public health, education, pharmacy, nursing, osteopathic medicine, and physician assistant studies. Located in Vallejo, California, Touro University is home to all students regardless of their faith.
The University’s College of Pharmacy is a unique 2+2 program, which means that students spend their first and second years in a classroom environment and their third and fourth years pursuing clinical rotations. Classes are usually small, and faculty members are encouraged to maintain an open-door policy.
The program has a sturdy community health focus, and some students may choose to earn a concurrent MPH while simultaneously enrolled in the College of Pharmacy. During their clinical rotations, students are encouraged to become involved in several community-based initiatives such as free clinics and health screenings.
The university is passionate about increasing accessibility to quality health care services. The learning experience at the university is student-centered to prepare them for a rewarding career as a pharmacist. Touro University is ranked 16th in the entire country among all the medical schools producing top resident primary care experts.
3. University of Southern California
- Location: Los Angeles, California
The University of Southern California is ranked among the best pharmacy schools in California. The university was founded by Robert. M. Widney in the year 1880 and is located in Los Angeles, California. The university offers several programs in fields such as pharmacy, medicine, occupational therapy, law, film, engineering, and business.
The University of Southern California is the center of innovation where several technologies have been invented, including VoIP, image compression, antivirus software, DNA Computing, and dynamic programming.
The university offers several concurrent programs that allow students to pursue them at the same time. You can pursue an MPH or a CA Pharm.D. program, a J.D., and an MBA.
To complete the pharmacy program, a student must undertake 133 units of coursework and score at least a 2.5 GPA, and, importantly, take part in clinical experiences that take about 1740 hours.
Graduates of the pharmacy program have gone on to work for major pharmaceutical firms such as Pfizer and Amgen, as well as prominent medical organizations such as USC Verdugo Hills Hospital and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
2. University of California San Francisco
- Location: San Francisco, California
University of California San Francisco is among the top 10 best pharmacy schools in the nation and in the world. The pharmacy department in the university is the most competitive in the whole of California. This University is driven by the best teaching, best research, and best patient care possible.
The school is the center of all experts in every area of healthcare. The pharmacy program at the University of California San Francisco focuses on experimental learning and excellent applied patient care skills for a better foundation in scientific principles.
In 2018, the school switched to a new three-year curriculum. The school’s curriculum focuses on experiential learning as well as applied patient care skills so that students will have a strong foundation in scientific principles.
Year 1 focuses on the cardiovascular, respiratory, renal and gastrointestinal systems. Year 2 focuses on psychiatry, infectious diseases, and oncology. Then toward the end of Year 2, each student chooses his or her own Discovery Project, which is an applied research opportunity in an area of particular personal interest.
The application deadline for the University of California San Francisco is November 1 for a fall semester that starts in late August.
- Location: La Jolla, California
The University of California San Diego is a public school famous for its emphasis on research. The university is located in La Jolla, California, and was established in 1960. It offers over 200 graduate and undergraduate degrees with a total enrollment of 38,736 students.
In the 2021 ranking of universities, the University of California San Diego was ranked number 35 among the best national universities. The university uses a quarter-based type of academic calendar. A quarter system divides the academic year into four sessions: fall, winter, spring, and summer.
The University of California San Diego emphasizes teaching traditional pharmacology where it focuses on evolving topics such as bioinformatics, computational biology, and pharmacogenomics. Students are placed in academic facilities, health clinics, and hospitals across San Diego in the third year of the pharmacy program.
The application deadline for the University of California San Diego is usually November 1 for the fall semester of the following year. Promising candidates will be invited for an interview in December. The fall semester begins in late August and the program length lasts 4 years.
How Long is a Pharmacy Program?
The Pharm. D. Program, usually takes 4 years to complete. But, since the Pharm. D. requires students to have at least two to four years of undergraduate study to complete the pre-pharmacy curriculum requirements, you will need six to eight years of college study to earn a Pharm. D. degree.
How Much is the Tuition for a Pharmacy program?
The tuition cost for a pharmacy program will greatly differ depending on your in-state or out-of-state status and some other factors. The tuition cost of Pharmacy programs in California usually ranges between $150,000 to $250,000. For example, completing your Pharmacy program from the University of California San Diego will cost you $161,708 and from Touro University it will cost you $183,200.
Can I practice Pharmacy in California?
To become a licensed pharmacist in California you need to pass both, the NAPLEX, which is administered by the NABP, and the CPJE, which is developed by the California State Board of Pharmacy.
NAPLEX: This exam is managed by the NABP. Before you apply for the NAPLEX you must check with the California State Board of Pharmacy to see if you are eligible to take this exam. Once the board determines your eligibility you can pay a non-refundable fee and apply for the NAPLEX through the NABP site.
CPJE: To become licensed in California you must pass the CPJE in addition to NAPLEX. Apply to the state board and give it 30 days to process your application. You can schedule this exam only after the board has determined your eligibility. You can find detailed information about the exam here. You can even go through a practice test provided by the state board.