A Looming Joblessness Crisis for New Pharmacy Graduates and the Implications It Holds for the Academy

Daniel L. Brown, PharmD


Am J Pharm Educ. 2013;77(5) 

In This Article

Growth of the Academy

The size of the academy was relatively stable during the 1980s and 1990s. In 2000, there were 80 colleges and schools of pharmacy in the United States. Since then, 48 new programs have been established and 2 schools combined into 1 college, bringing the total to 127 accredited colleges and schools as of fall 2012—a 60% increase from 2000.[5]

According to AACP reports, there were 7,000 first-professional PharmD degree graduates in 2001 and 11,931 in 2011, a 70% increase.[6,7] Despite the rapid rate at which new pharmacy colleges and schools have been established, even greater growth of the academy has resulted from the expansion of previously existing programs. Of the increase in graduates from 2001 to 2011 by 4,931, only 1,886 (38%) can be attributed to new pharmacy programs; 62% of the increase resulted from the expansion of existing programs. Since 2001, 31 colleges and schools increased their number of PharmD graduates by more than 50%.[6,7] There are now 41 satellite campuses—5 of which are in a state other than that of the parent program.[5] Growth has been widespread, affecting every region of the country. Twenty-one states are projected to increase the number of statewide graduates by 100% or more during the 15-year period from 2001 to 2016 (Table 1).[8]

The growth has yet to abate. Although 27 new pharmacy colleges and schools had not graduated a class as of 2011, their class sizes totaled 2,250 students. By 2016, when the graduates of these colleges and schools are included in the count and when the recent expansion of existing programs has taken effect, the number of PharmD graduates will range between 14,000 and 15,000 per year, more than double the number in 2001.