Level Up: Pharm Tech to Pharmacist with Pacific University

A pharmacy student walks in the background while a set of pharmacy chemicals sits in the foreground.

Make more money and grow in your career from pharm tech to pharmacist at Pacific with the nation’s only flexible pharmacy program.

Applications for Pacific's School of Pharmacy open this upcoming fall! Explore program requirements, attend upcoming outreach events, and learn more about Pacific’s innovative five-year pharmacy pathway.  

Making the leap from pharmacist technician to pharmacist can seem daunting. Do I need a bachelor’s degree? What about all those entrance exams? Can I keep my job while taking classes? 

New flexible programs — like Pacific’s innovative five-year pharmacy pathway — have made it more accessible than ever to transform your pharm tech career and start earning more money, experience greater job satisfaction, and directly help those in need.

Explore one of the country’s only extended pharmacy degree tracks and see how you can work and study on your way to a new and exciting career in healthcare. 

EXPLORE PACIFIC'S five-year pharmacy pathwaY

Why Pharmacy Technicians Should Apply for Pharmacy School

1. Higher Pay

Perhaps the largest benefit for pharmacy technicians attending pharmacy school is a substantially increased salary after graduation. 

Licensed pharmacists make on average 3.5 times more per year than their technician peers, and begin earning that salary almost immediately after graduation.

Median Annual Compensation
(figures as of 2021 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Salary of a Pharmacy Technician

Salary of a Pharmacist

Pharmacies and Retail






A higher salary right after graduation is one of the things that makes pharmacy school worth the investment, as graduates can begin paying back their loans quickly while still in the early stages of their career.

2. You Don’t Need a Bachelor’s Degree

In order to become a pharmacy technician most states require the successful completion of a pharmacy technician certificate program, which are often available at community colleges in combination with an associates degree in applied science. 

These programs provide a foundational understanding of pharmacy principles, and include courses like biology, chemistry, and math, the very same prerequisite courses required for pharmacy school applications and taught through pre-pharmacy degree tracks.  

Pacific University’s School of Pharmacy does not require the successful completion of a bachelor’s degree or the expensive and time-consuming Pharmacy College Admission Test. 

This means you can save money and time by completing the remaining prerequisite courses through lower-cost community colleges or online classes at your own pace. 

3. Pharmacy Technicians are Uniquely Qualified for Pharmacy School

Two pharmacy students practice a medical procedure on a dummy arm.

One aspect of a strong pharmacy school application is hands-on experience in a pharmacy setting, something that pharmacist technicians obtain naturally. 

While not required, time spent in a healthcare setting can be a determining factor between being accepted and living on the waitlist.

The wealth of experience that comes from working as a pharm tech can demonstrate to the admissions board that you can thrive in a healthcare environment.  

Your pharmacy technician experience gives your pharmacy school application an enormous boost, regardless of education level or background.

4. Pharmacists Have More Career Options

With only a pharmacist technician certificate your career in the healthcare field is limited, and direct patient interaction will be low.

While specializations do exist for pharmacy technicians, the scope of their work is much more limited than that of a licensed pharmacist. 

With a pharmacy degree you can work in everything from ambulatory care to psychiatry to oncology, all fields with a high rate of job satisfaction and pay. Pharmacy school can also provide opportunities to participate in pharmaceutical research.

Pacific offers a joint Doctor of Pharmacy & MS in Pharmaceutical Sciences degree program. Half of the required credits for the MS in Pharmaceutical Sciences are also shared with the PharmD degree, making it possible to easily earn both degrees during your course of study at Pacific.

Pharmacists who have previous pharmacist technician experience also have the option to become pharmacy managers with Pacific’s Healthcare Management MBA program.

Pacific's PharmD and MBA programs are complementary — class schedules do not conflict as the MBA program's classes run on an alternating-weekend schedule on Friday afternoons and Saturdays. This means that you can complete both degrees side by side at the same time.

5. Pharmacy School is Accessible

Pacific’s new five-year pharmacy pathway — one of the only extended pharmacy programs in the country — allows you to focus on furthering your career through a doctor of pharmacy degree while still being able to work. The five-year PharmD pathway at Pacific has been intentionally designed to enable participating students to maintain at least 20-25 hours of employment year-round.

Not only are students able to continue working while taking classes during the fall and spring semesters, but the five-year pathway also leaves summers free for students to increase their working hours to full-time, pursue internships, or devote more time to their families and personal lives.

You can continue in your role as a pharmacist technician while getting your PharmD, gaining invaluable, hands-on experience that will prepare you for a strong career after graduation. 

Being able to work while attending school will jumpstart your job search, teaching you the skills needed to practice pharmacy while already participating in the healthcare profession. 

Want to learn more about what it takes to become a licensed pharmacist? Check out our guide to applying to  pharmacy school and get your PharmD.