What is a Pharmacy Residency?
A pharmacy residency is a one- or two-year post-graduate training program that provides hands-on decision making and experience working with other healthcare professionals under the supervision of an experienced preceptor. It also includes focused mentoring, leadership development, research experience, and prepares you for more advanced pharmacy positions.
Types of Residency
Residency training can take place in a variety of settings - some of which include hospitals, community pharmacies, home care and long-term care facilities, ambulatory care settings, managed care facilities, and others. The type of residency you select will depend upon your career objectives. Are you interested in providing pharmaceutical care to a broad mix of patients? Pursuing a career in pharmacy management? Becoming a specialized practitioner or educator? Based on your interests and experience level, you will need to complete a postgraduate year one (PGY1), and potentially a postgraduate year two (PGY2) residency.
PGY-1 vs PGY-2 vs Combined Programs - What is the Difference?
- Postgraduate Year One (PGY1) Pharmacy Residencies: PGY1 residencies provide residents a foundational year of training and a wide breadth of exposure to all areas of the selected field of pharmacy. Students may choose to complete a PGY1 in hospital, community, or managed care pharmacy.
- Postgraduate Year Two (PGY2) Pharmacy Residencies: PGY2 residencies provide residents an additional year of focused training in their selected specialty of interest. Completing a second year of residency can give pharmacists a competitive advantage in the marketplace, as employers are increasingly requiring PGY2 training for more specialized positions.
- Combined PGY-1/PGY-2 Residency Programs: Combined PGY1/PGY2 residences are 24-month programs for which students undergo a single Match process and commit from the beginning to a two-year contract. Many combined PGY1/PGY2 programs graduate residents with an additional dual postgraduate degree (MBA, MS, MPH, etc.). Currently, ASHP-accredited combined PGY1/PGY2 residences are available in the following areas: community-based pharmacy administration & leadership (with and without Masters), drug Information, health system pharmacy administration & leadership (with and without Masters), investigational drugs & research, medication-use safety & policy, palliative care & pain management, pharmacotherapy, informatics, medication systems & operations (with our without Masters), specialty pharmacy administration and leadership.
The Residency Project
Accreditation standards require each resident to complete a project. Completing the project requires formulating a question, creating a study design, conducting a literature search, perhaps performing a pre-study to determine feasibility and value, conducting the actual study, interpreting the study data, and presenting the results. This project may take a year to complete and culminates in the final presentation being given at a regional residency conference. Some programs allow residents to work on several small-scale projects utilizing the same components.
Applying for a Pharmacy Residency
To apply for a pharmacy residency, you must sign up for the Resident Matching Services and PhORCAS. Both registrations must occur prior to program applications and a calendar of dates to register for each platform can be found here.
- PhORCAS (Pharmacy Online Residency Centralized Application Service) is a web-based tool that brings residency application material together in one location. All pharmacy residency applications must occur through the PhORCAS platform, but programs may require you to complete additional application materials through their webpage or human resources department. Check with each program webpage of your interest to confirm the qualifications and application requirements.
- The Match provides an orderly process to help applicants obtain positions in residency programs of their choice, and to help programs obtain applicants of their choice. Registering for the Match is a requirement to obtain a residency position. Following your interviews, the Match will allow you to rank programs of your choosing and indicate your interest in attending their program.
How Do I Find Residency Programs?
The Accreditation Services Division (ASD) publishes and maintains an online directory listing of pharmacy residency programs that are accredited by ASHP. In it, you'll find descriptions of all accredited residencies, along with important contact information. (Note: you must have completed or be in a PGY1 residency to be eligible to participate in the matching program for a PGY2 residency.)Programs can be filtered by institution name, state, and type of residency program (e.g. PGY1 or PGY2). Access the ASHP Residency Directory.