There’s just no sense in going to a pharmacy school that’s not accredited. Sure, it might seem like the right financial move to attend a school that tries to balance its lack of accreditation with claims of lower tuition and guaranteed fast-tracking, but take a look at schools like the Hawaii College of Pharmacy. The unaccredited Pharm.D. school didn’t comply with state regulations and was shut down after allegations that the school wasn’t honest in its unaccredited status. The owners are now prohibited from running a business in Hawaii. The best way to avoid shady organizations like that one and to get a real education is to be certain beforehand that your school is accredited.
For starters, check with the Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. (The latter is non-governmental.) Both groups monitor the accreditation process and offer free databases to the public with searchable school information that can help you learn more about the pharmacy school you’re interested in attending. There are more than 7,000 schools recognized by one or both agencies, so don’t pass this up.
There’s also the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. The ACPE was established in 1932 and is the national agency devoted to the investigation and accreditation of schools offering pharmacy programs and degrees. They can tell you more about pharmacy schools that might not be mentioned by other agencies. Their Web site includes information for students and professionals, as well as detailed lists of accredited schools with historical breakdowns of their application process. It’s an invaluable resource for someone looking to study pharmacy. This way you can make sure you aren’t getting ripped off by a disreputable pseudo-school.
Related to accreditation, it’s not a bad idea to get a sense of a school’s reputation by emailing the counselors or checking with the Better Business Bureau to see if anyone’s issued any complaints against the school. User experience can often be just as important as accreditation. The bottom line, though, is to make sure the school’s been checked out and given the green-light by a legitimate educational agency. Only then can you be sure the pharmacy school you’re enrolling in is worth the cost.