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Pharmacy Residency FAQs

What is a Pharmacy Residency?

A pharmacy residency is an organized, mentored, post-graduate training program. Typically, a residency is completed directly after graduating from a Doctor of Pharmacy program. 

What will I learn in a residency program?

You will learn the knowledge and gain the experience required of pharmacists in various areas of practice.  You will have the opportunity to learn from pharmacists who are experts in their area of pharmacy.

Why should I do a residency?

This is an opportunity to bridge the gap between being a pharmacy student one-day, and the next day being a licensed pharmacist.  You will have the opportunity to fortify your strengths, strengthen your weaknesses, and develop confidence in your abilities as an individual pharmacist.  Other benefits include a competitive advantage in the job market, networking opportunities, career planning, and attendance/participation at local and national meetings.

What is the duration of residency program?

Each residency is typically one year.  They start July 1 and conclude June 30 each year.  Some residencies are offered in combination with a postgraduate degree (M.S., MBA), and may take additional years to complete.

Are all residency programs the same?

No.  The type of residency you select will depend on your career objectives.  Select a program that will prepare you for the type of job you eventually want to have.  Examples of current residency types include:

  • PGY-1 (“Pharmacy Practice” or “General”)
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry 
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacy Management
  • Managed Care
  • Critical Care

Are residencies only for hospital-based programs?

No.  There are many ambulatory based programs.  In fact, these programs are among the fastest growing type.  

Do I get paid during this program?

Yes.  Most residencies pay roughly $40,000-$45,000 for the year.  Some programs allow the opportunity to pick-up extra pharmacist shifts to earn extra pay.  Most programs offer fringe benefits (e.g. health care, investment opportunities, etc.).  Also, you may be eligible for deferring payment on your student loans during the program.  

I’m not sure what type of program is right for me.  What do you suggest?

The most common type of residency is a PGY-1 (“Pharmacy Practice” or “General”) residency.  It covers a broad spectrum of practice areas and patient types.  Required experiences include acute care, ambulatory care, drug information, and practice management.  In addition to these “core” elements, each program has various specialty areas to complete the training experience.  Also, a research project (in collaboration with one of your preceptors) is completed during the residency year.  Some programs include teaching/precepting opportunities in cooperation with an affiliated college of pharmacy.  Finally, programs have various service (“staffing”) requirements.  Typically, staffing requires functioning as a pharmacist during evening and/or weekend hours.    

How do I apply for a residency program?

PGY-1 and PGY-2 residencies (ASHP-accredited) require participation in the residency-matching program.  This is a formal process that attempts to match applicants to their choice of programs and vice versa.  Programs that are in the process of receiving accreditation may also participate in the residency-matching program.  Check with the individual program to verify their accreditation, and match participation status. 

To participate in the Match for a position designated as a PGY-2 residency, an applicant must have already completed a PGY-1 residency, or currently be in training in a PGY-1 residency program that will be completed before the start of the PGY-2 residency.

Current PGY-1 residents who are interested in continuing their training in a PGY-2 residency offered by the same sponsor as the applicant’s PGY-1 residency (e.g., the same or an affiliated organization) may be able to obtain the position through an Early Commitment Process.  Applicants who are committed to a position in this manner do not need to register for or participate in the Match.

After I complete this residency experience, what is next?

You will have an advantage over many of your peers regarding employment opportunities.  More “doors” will be open to you, and you will have more freedom in your career choice.  Many employers value residency-trained pharmacists, and some jobs require residency experience.  Graduates of residency programs go on to the following: pharmacist positions (staff, specialist, manager, etc) in their area of training, faculty positions, specialty residency programs, or fellowship programs.  

How do I find out more about residency programs and where they are located?

Here are a few good resources: www.ashp.org/residents, your college’s ASHP advisor, local pharmacy practice residency directors, and ASHP’s Midyear Clinical Meeting, which showcases virtually all of the ASHP-accredited programs.


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North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-7589 / Fax: (701) 231-7606
Campus address: Sudro Hall 118A
Physical/delivery address: 1401 Albrecht Bouldvard, Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address: NDSU Dept. 2660 / PO Box 6050 / Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Page manager: Pharmacy Practice

Last Updated: Monday, September 15, 2014 2:50:45 PM