pharmacy vs nurse!!!

Nurses General Nursing


hi! im a junior in high school and i want to be a nurse or pharmacist. BUT im having a hard time choosing btwn those two. Can someone PLEASE tell me what are the requirements to get into pharm and nursing school? I dont know if i need to take an exam to get into nursing school or just my grades and the they need your sat scores as well? Is it ok if i apply to pharm and nursing school??? or is it too much work.. Pharm school does not require sat but they want pcat. But i cant take the two tests cuz that would be too much work! what should i do??? im planning to go to unc or duke.

Specializes in MICU, neuro, orthotrauma.

The pre-reqs for pharmacy schools vary by program, but generally speaking they want the same bio and chem courses as nursing + biochemistry, physics and organic chem.

Nursing is either an ADN or BSN (two or four year degree) whereas, a PharmD is a doctorate. Many people apply to pharm school with a bachelors degree in place, but you absolutely can get a PharmD without one.

If I were you, I would enter college and take the courses that are necessary for both degrees while making my decision. You can also ask if your local hospital allows "job shadowing," wherein you may shadow a nurse and a pharmacist for a few hours to see what it is they do, and if you might be interested. Do not stress about taking the PCAT until you are ready to apply for pharm school. (there are some "0-6" programs where you begin pharmacy school right out of high school, were you planning on attending one of those?)

Both of these careers are essentially stable, but as there is a recession, both have experienced job losses, as well as people coming back to the career to support the family while the other partner is out of work.

I am an RN and my husband is in pharmacy school now. He is very concerned that it will be difficult for him to find a job when he graduates. Many new-grad RN's are having difficulty finding jobs as well right now. I assume though, that by the time you have graduated, this tightening of the job market will have passed.

Specializes in MICU, neuro, orthotrauma.

Here are the pre-reqs for the PharmD program at UNC

Here are the pre-reqs for nursing at UNC (about halfway down, you will find the list of prereqs)

For UNC, as with most schools, you do not enter into a formal nursing or pharmacy program until two years into your study. So you still have some time to declare a major.


2 Posts

thankyou for your answer!:nuke: so after those two years of study how much longer would i have to study to be a nurse? can i study the same courses that are required for nursing school during the two years? do you know of any other school where i can get into the nursing program right after high school?


14,633 Posts

You "can't take two tests cuz it would be too much work"????? If taking two tests to get into pharm or nursing school would be "too much work," I have really bad news for you about pharmacy and nursing school -- they are each a tremendous amount of work. Hard work! In fact, I would venture to say that anything you study at UNC or Duke will be an awful lot of hard work. Have you really thought this through?

I encourage you to use the rest of your time in high school to get really good grades (if you seriously want to get into Duke or UNC -- they are both v. competitive), and do a lot more research on your career choices. Best wishes!

Specializes in MICU, neuro, orthotrauma.
thankyou for your answer!:nuke: so after those two years of study how much longer would i have to study to be a nurse? can i study the same courses that are required for nursing school during the two years? do you know of any other school where i can get into the nursing program right after high school?

It will be two more years for nursing, and four more years for pharmacy. The shortest route to becoming an RN is an associates degree, but in your community, as in most, the waiting list for an ADN program might be many years long.

There are some three year pharmacy programs, which are condensed, and you work year round rather than having summers off, but they are highly intensive, very competitive, and generally not fun. My husband is in one of those programs. We are doing this only because we are older, and he needs to begin earning as soon as possible.

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

I recommend you look at the catalogs of the various schools of interest to you.


29 Posts

Hi junior 11!

I'm responding because I at one point was in your situation. And I went for the pre-pharmacy route. I had conditional acceptance to pharmacy school at the University of Pittsburgh. Their program does 2 years of general pre-reqs (like bio 1 and 2, chem 1 and 2, and organic 1 and 2). Then the next 4 years are the pharmacy courses. I worked at a pharmacy one summer and was completely bored. I'm the kind of person that wants patient contact and interaction and I realized that this may not be the profession for me (although there are areas of pharmacy that are different from retail and you work with patients). At this point I was a sophomore in college and it was too late to switch to nursing cause I'd be 2 years behind. So I graduated with a biology degree and the following August enrolled in a second-degree accelerated BSN program (I'm graduating in December..WOO HOO!!!).

Truly, it depends on what you want and what you expect from your career. My boyfriend is a retail pharmacist and loves what he does. That just wasn't for me. And yet he says he'd never be able to do the things that a nurse does but yet I've loved being in the hospital during my clinicals and am very excited to become an RN. Everyone is different.

I did take the PCAT. It's tough. It's A LOT of science and you have to know your stuff. I'm a little confused though because I know most pharmacy programs require that you have some sort of college coursework in progress or completed so that alone would require you to take the SAT in order to get accepted into a college. Then once you have the certain pre-reqs done you apply to pharmacy programs and take the PCAT for that. Or even if you do follow the 1-6 pharmacy programs like mentioned before they will still be done at a college that will more than likely require the SAT or ACT.

I agree with geekgolightly. Contact your local hospitals and see if they would permit you to shadow. I know many hospitals that would be willing to let you shadow a nurse. When I was in high school I even shadowed a hospital pharmacist to get a better idea of that field so this might even be an option for you. Hopefully this will give you a better idea as to where you want to be.

Good luck with the rest of your high school career!


267 Posts

The academic competition that's involved with pharmacy school is much greater than nursing school. Your grades will mean everything. You are expected to do exceptionally well in courses that very few are able to do exceptionally well in. Your hard efforts are rewarded... around here new pharmacists make around $120,000 per year.

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