If you’re looking for a financially rewarding career, you might want to become a pharmacist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacists earn a mean annual wage of $120,270.
However, you can expect to have more debt than your starting salary out of the gate. The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) found that pharmacy school graduates borrowed $157,425 in 2016 to finance their degrees. And that amount doesn’t include undergraduate student debt, which averages $37,172.
To help pharmacy school hopefuls graduate with as little debt as possible, we surveyed 141 schools to find the top pharmacy schools with the lowest combined in-state tuition and mandatory fees. Here are our top 20 picks.
Top pharmacy schools for avoiding huge college costs
1. Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
- Annual in-state tuition: $5,161
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $18,693
- Mandatory fees: $30
The Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Tallahassee, Florida, is one of just two schools surveyed with annual tuition and fees under $10,000 for in-state residents.
With such low tuition and fee costs, you can use the money you save to pay for room and board and other costs you’ll incur at school.
2. Skaggs School of Pharmacy, University of Montana
- Annual in-state tuition: $5,182
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $23,062
- Mandatory fees: $6,501
The Skaggs School of Pharmacy in Missoula, Montana, has low tuition but high fees. Applicants also must complete at least 20 hours of volunteer or paid experience serving patients in a pharmacy or other health care setting.
3. Texas A&M University Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy
- Annual in-state tuition: $7,632
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $47,592
- Mandatory fees: $5,798
Located in Kingsville, Texas, the Texas A&M Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy was created to address the shortage of pharmacists in the Texas-Mexico border region. Now, 42 percent of graduates from the program return to the area to help the underserved population.
4. University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy
- Annual in-state tuition: $11,998
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $34,066
- Mandatory fees: $2,882
No. 33 in the 2016 U.S. News & World Report list of top pharmacy schools, the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy also boasts a 98 percent employment rate at graduation, according to its website. The school is in Storrs, Connecticut.
5. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Pharmacy
- Annual in-state tuition: $13,455
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $24,765
- Mandatory fees: $2,484
The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Pharmacy ranks No. 36 among the top pharmacy schools in the nation, according to the 2016 U.S. News & World Report rankings.
You can choose from four campuses: Amarillo, Lubbock, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Abilene. That means in-state residents are likely to find a campus nearby and could save on room and board.
6. University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy
- Annual in-state tuition: $15,198
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $32,164
- Mandatory fees: $759
The University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy in Laramie, Wyoming, has a 100 percent job placement rate, according to the school’s website. Plus, the cost of living in Laramie is 7 percent lower than the national average, according to Payscale, giving you more opportunities to save.
7. University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy
- Annual in-state tuition: $16,794
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $43,412
- Mandatory fees: $0
Not only is the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy inexpensive, but it’s also No. 3 in U.S. News & World Report’s list of top pharmacy schools in 2016. Although its tuition might not be the cheapest, students don’t have to worry about extra fees.
8. Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Rutgers University
- Annual in-state tuition: $13,741
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $33,117
- Mandatory fees: $3,383
The Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy in Piscataway, New Jersey, ranks No. 30 in the 2016 U.S. News World & World Report list of top pharmacy schools. However, keep in mind that the average cost of living in nearby Middlesex is 24 percent higher than the national average.
9. Texas Southern University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
- Annual in-state tuition: $15,467
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $26,619
- Mandatory fees: $1,736
Located in Houston, Texas, the Texas Southern University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences also ranks among the top pharmacy schools for the lowest out-of-state tuition and fees based on our study. Students can use the money they save to help cover the cost of room and board and other expenses.
10. University of Toledo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
- Annual in-state tuition: $8,052
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $17,390
- Mandatory fees: $9,312
The University of Toledo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is located in Toledo, Ohio. The school is inexpensive for both in-state and out-of-state students and has an on-time graduation rate of over 90 percent.
11. South Dakota State University College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions
- Annual in-state tuition: $9,432
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $20,246
- Mandatory fees: $8,072
The South Dakota State University College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions is light on tuition but heavy on fees. Located in Brookings, South Dakota, the school also offers a Bachelor of Science in medical laboratory science. According to Payscale, the cost of living in nearby Sioux Falls is slightly lower than the national average.
12. North Dakota State University School of Pharmacy
- Annual in-state tuition: $16,380
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $43,733
- Mandatory fees: $1,491
The North Dakota State University School of Pharmacy in Fargo, North Dakota, has an 80 percent employment rate at graduation. Although its in-state tuition is inexpensive, out-of-state students face steep costs.
13. Idaho State University College of Pharmacy
- Annual in-state tuition: $17,900
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $36,882
- Mandatory fees: $10
The Idaho State University College of Pharmacy has three campuses: Pocatello and Meridian, Idaho, and Anchorage, Alaska. The school has a 92 percent on-time graduation rate, but only 58 percent of graduates report gaining employment in the state of Idaho upon graduation.
14. University of Georgia College of Pharmacy
- Annual in-state tuition: $16,310
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $36,850
- Mandatory fees: $2,266
No. 25 in the 2016 U.S. News & World Report list of top pharmacy schools, the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy has five campuses. Students can attend classes in Athens, Augusta, Albany, Lawrenceville, and Savannah., Georgia.
15. University of North Texas College of Pharmacy
- Annual in-state tuition: $14,480
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $31,080
- Mandatory fees: $4,687
Located in Fort Worth, Texas, the University of North Texas College of Pharmacy offers several pharmacy-related programs and residencies through the UNT Health Sciences Center. Fort Worth’s cost of living is a little lower than the national average, according to Payscale.
16. James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, University of Cincinnati
- Annual in-state tuition $17,600
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $30,528
- Mandatory fees: $1,678
The James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy in Cincinnati, Ohio, was founded in 1850, making it the fourth-oldest pharmacy school in the nation. It’s also No. 33 in the 2016 U.S. News & World Report list of top pharmacy schools.
17. Marshall University School of Pharmacy
- Annual in-state tuition: $18,402
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $31,695
- Mandatory fees: $900
Located in Huntington, West Virginia, the Marshall University School of Pharmacy allows students to complete both their pre-pharmacy coursework and professional program. The school is among the newest pharmacy schools in the country, with its first graduating class finishing in 2016.
18. University of Houston College of Pharmacy
- Annual in-state tuition: $18,662
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $34,627
- Mandatory fees: $982
No. 44 in the 2016 U.S. News & World Report list of top pharmacy schools, the University of Houston College of Pharmacy has some of the lowest fees of any pharmacy school we surveyed. For the 2016 class, 97 percent of graduates were employed or entered residency.
19. University of South Florida College of Pharmacy
- Annual in-state tuition: $16,610
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $16,610
- Mandatory fees: $3,295
What sets the University of South Florida College Pharmacy apart from other schools on this list is the fact that out-of-state tuition matches in-state tuition. That makes it affordable for just about anyone to attend.
20. University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy
- Annual in-state tuition: $12,002
- Annual out-of-state tuition: $28,252
- Mandatory fees: $8,290
The University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy is ranked No. 47 in U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 list of top pharmacy schools. It boasts a 96.7 percent employment rate at graduation, and 94.2 percent of graduates say they’d pick the school again if they were to start over again.
Limiting your college costs can save you big time
Finding an inexpensive pharmacy school is an important way to limit your overall college costs and student debt. But once you’ve graduated, don’t let a high starting salary make you complacent about your student loan payments if you have them.
Look for other strategies to pay off your student loans early. For example, research student loan forgiveness programs for pharmacists as well as lenders who might be able to refinance your loans at a lower interest rate.
As you study different ways to eliminate your student debt more quickly, you could save both time and money in the long run.
Top 50 affordable pharmacy schools
If you’re interested in seeing how other inexpensive pharmacy schools compare, we’ve compiled a list of the top 50 based on our methodology.
|No.||Pharmacy School||In-State Tuition and Fees|
|1.||Florida A&M University||$5,191|
|2.||University of Montana||$11,683|
|3.||Texas A&M University||$13,430|
|4.||University of Connecticut||$14,880|
|5.||Texas Tech University||$15,939|
|6.||University of Wyoming||$15,957|
|7.||University of Texas at Austin||$16,794|
|9.||Texas Southern University||$17,203|
|10.||University of Toledo||$17,364|
|11.||South Dakota State University||$17,504|
|12.||North Dakota State University||$17,871|
|13.||Idaho State University||$17,910|
|14.||University of Georgia||$18,576|
|15.||University of North Texas||$19,167|
|16.||University of Cincinnati||$19,278|
|18.||University of Houston||$19,644|
|19.||University of South Florida||$19,905|
|20.||University of Rhode Island||$20,292|
|21.||Southwestern Oklahoma State University||$20,295|
|22.||Washington State University||$20,788|
|23.||University of Wisconsin-Madison||$21,033|
|24.||University of New Mexico||$21,390|
|25.||University of Arkansas||$21,632|
|26.||University of Oklahoma||$21,685|
|29.||Ohio State University||$22,497|
|30.||West Virginia University||$22,878|
|31.||Wayne State University||$22,983|
|32.||University of Missouri-Kansas City||$23,088|
|33.||University of Tennessee||$23,412|
|34.||University of Florida||$23,692|
|35.||University of Hawaii||$24,064|
|36.||University of Mississippi||$24,422|
|37.||University of Nebraska||$24,586|
|38.||Oregon State University||$24,627|
|39.||Northeast Ohio Medical University||$24,739|
|40.||University of Iowa||$24,874|
|41.||Chicago State University||$24,931|
|42.||Ferris State University||$25,240|
|43.||University of Kansas||$25,698|
|44.||University of North Carolina||$26,028|
|45.||Medical University of South Carolina||$26,045|
|46.||University of Arizona||$26,262|
|47.||Southern Illinois University Edwardsville||$26,294|
|48.||University of South Carolina||$26,356|
|49.||University of Louisiana at Monroe||$26,786|
|50.||University of Kentucky||$27,250|
Methodology: Student Loan Hero surveyed tuition and fees costs for 141 U.S. pharmacy schools. Rankings were determined by each school’s combined in-state tuition and fees. Room and board costs were not included in the calculations. All data was sourced from the AACP.
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