Pharmacy graduates No. 1 in U.S. licensure exam

pharmacy students work together in a lab

University of the Pacific pharmacy graduates outperformed every pharmacy school in California and across the American West in the newest national licensure exams.

While the national passage rate for first-time test takers of the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination was 77.5%, the 148 new graduates of Pacific’s Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy had a passage rate of 90.5%. That was the highest passage rate among all pharmacy schools in the 13-state Western U.S. region.

In California, the average pass rate among the state’s 14 pharmacy schools was 76.1%, ranging from Pacific’s high of 90.5% down to 46.2%. UC San Diego, Chapman University and USC were the only other California schools within 10 percentage points of Pacific.

Pacific also finished No. 1 in the West among all test-takers—first time and repeat—and in the Top 10 percent of all 144 pharmacy schools in the nation.

Pacific officials attributed the extraordinary results to a dedicated faculty, hard-working students and a new post-graduation residential program to prepare for the national and state licensure exams.

The Rx for Success program was launched as a pilot last May, a free three-week immersion program designed to prepare newly minted graduates of the Doctor of Pharmacy program for the licensing examinations.

“The work put in to create the Rx for Success program, and the dedicated efforts of the Long School of Pharmacy, are paying off,” said Professor Rajul Patel, the architect for the new program. “We are incredibly proud of our graduates for their hard work and are grateful for the opportunity to aid their preparation and success on the pharmacy licensure examinations.”

Rx for Success initiative had similar results last fall on the state licensure exam. Pacific students who enrolled in the program had better results than the students in all 13 other California pharmacy schools.

"I am profoundly impressed and incredibly proud of the Class of 2023,” said Long School Dean Berit Gundersen. “They exemplify the epitome of dedication and hard work and are poised to join their profession as exceptional pharmacists.”

Derek Huang ’23 was one of the graduates who benefited from the test preparation program.

“The Rx for Success program helped me gauge how tough the licensure exam was going to be,” he said. “The sheer amount of material reviewed in the span of three weeks after graduating was very overwhelming, but having my peers around me helped provide support and fueled my motivation.”

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Gretchen Edwalds-Gilbert said the impressive performance will enhance the school’s ability to recruit and retain students.

“This ranking is something we can share with students who are looking at our pharmacy programs,” she said. “High school students and those who are attending college elsewhere will see the opportunities available at Pacific. We can help them realize this is a pathway to a successful career.”