If you’re in pharmacy school and planning you’re future, you know that you don’t need a residency or pharmacy residency personal statement examples to be a licensed pharmacist. That’s one advantage pharmacy school grads have over medical school grads, who need to do a minimum one year of residency before they can take the USMLE Step 3. But you also know that doing one or two post-graduate years of a pharmacy residency will increase your chances of getting into other sectors of the industry among many more benefits, which we’ll explore later. If you are thinking about doing a pharmacy residency, we have what you need. You will need to submit an online application, but don’t use your old pharmacy school personal statement. We’ll help you write a new one and explain a little about how to apply to pharmacy residency programs in the US and Canada. 

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Article Contents
15 min read

Should You Pursue a Pharmacy Residency? Types of Pharmacy Residencies How to Apply to a Pharmacy Residency What to Include in your Pharmacy Residency Personal Statement Writing your Pharmacy Residency Personal Statement FAQs

Should You Pursue a Pharmacy Residency?

Maybe you have your mind set on going into retail pharmacy; there's nothing wrong with that, but there are some things you should know about the retail pharmacy landscape. Over 60% of the pharmacists practicing in the US work in retail pharmacies as part of giant chains like Walgreens and CVS.

However, as big box stores and other retail chains introduce pharmacies into their stores, small, independent pharmacies, are being pushed out. What’s more, many of these giant retail pharmacies are closing stores. If that weren’t enough, labor statistics predict sluggish job growth in the retail pharmacy sector over the next five years, so there’s that too.

We say all this to encourage you to think about the value of a pharmacy residency, and how applying to any number of the pharmacy residency programs in the US or Canada can give you a head-start on your career. One study noted that a pharmacy residency leads to the development of research, leadership and clinical skills in those who complete the program, far beyond what is taught in pharmacy school.

Want to know how to avoid residency application red flags? Watch this video:

Types of Pharmacy Residencies

If you’re not sure about what type of pharmacy you want to go into, we’ll explain a little about the three main ones in both the US and Canada, which are related to the variety of roles a pharmacist can fill. They include:

  • Academic-based residencies (at universities and medical schools)
  • Hospital-based residencies
  • Industry-based residencies

But one unique aspect of pharmacy residencies is that you can go directly into the private sector and learn within the environment you’ll most likely be working at after you finish, so you don’t have to go learning how to find a job after residency.

Academic-Based Pharmacy Residency

You can do these residencies at an accredited pharmacy school or university that confers the entry-level PharmD degree. According to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), there are close to 2400 different residency programs in the US. In Canada, there are much fewer; only 30 programs in total offered by schools such as the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, Dalhousie University, and Laval University.

Academic-based residency programs are good places to do residencies because you have a variety of specializations, a diverse teaching curriculum, and a lot of research opportunities. So, even though we repeat it a lot, you need to research each program carefully to find one that matches your research interests and career goals. For example, the University of Toronto has two programs:

  • Hospital Pharmacy Residency
  • Industrial Pharmacy Residency

Hospital-Based Pharmacy Residency

A hospital-based pharmacy residency does for you what a family medicine residency and an internal medicine residency does for medical students: it puts you in the middle of a clinical environment where you have direct patient experience, the opportunity to train with exemplary faculty mentors, and the chance to be a part of or lead a healthcare team. This is the best choice for you, if you see yourself staying in healthcare, whether it be a hospital, clinic or some other medical environment.

Of course, every hospital-based residency will offer you different opportunities and clinical settings. The teaching curriculum can have a specific focus or have unique electives that you can choose based on your own goals and interests, which is why it bears repeating that you need to examine what each program offers to make sure it's right for you.

Industrial-Based Pharmacy Residency

This type of pharmacy residency is a good option if you are interested in research and being part of the development of new treatments and medications. But it involves so much more. An industry-based pharmacy residency gives you the chance to learn marketable skills that are specific to the global pharmaceutical industry, such as learning about international pharmaceutical markets, national regulatory frameworks and how to create new drugs according to these frameworks.

How to Apply to a Pharmacy Residency

If you’ve made the decision to do a pharmacy residency (good choice, by the way), this will be a short run-down of how to apply, even though you may be familiar with the process.

Here is where the paths of pharmacy grads and med school grads converge, as students from pharmacy schools in the US and pharmacy schools in Canada must apply to pharmacy residency programs through centralized residency match services; the Pharmacy Online Residency Centralized Application Service (PhORCAS) in the US; the Pharmacy Residency Application and Matching Service (PRAMS) in Canada. However, you do not need PARMS to apply directly to academic-based programs; you can apply to directly to the school. PARMS is for hospital-based residencies.

These programs work much in the same way as other residency match services, such as ERAS and the NRMP in the US; and CaRMS in Canada. You gather your specific application materials for each service, choose your programs (academic, hospital, or industry) and send your application. You will be notified of your candidacy status by the institution you applied to and run the same gamut as a med school grad would to enter a residency: application, interview(s) (if you qualify), decision.

Here are some of the general pharmacy residency requirements for each country:

Canadian Pharmacy Residency Requirements

  • Be registered with the Canadian Pharmacy Residency Board (CPRB)
  • Have graduated from a pharmacy school program accredited by the Canadian Council for the Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP)
  • Be a Canadian citizen or have legal permission to work and live in Canada
  • Have a licence to practice pharmacy or be in the process of obtaining their licence with the PEBC Qualifying Examination – Part I Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQ) and Part II Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)

These are the base requirements, but each program, depending on the type of residency you want to enter, may have additional ones that applicants must meet, which can vary from:

  • Being registered with the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists
  • Being a registered student with the university or institution offering the residency
  • Never being expelled from any other Canadian residency program

US Pharmacy Residency Requirements

The residency system for graduates from pharmacy schools in the US has both general and program-specific requirements. The PhORCAS application service, which is administered by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) functions similar to other residency match services in the US and organizes all residency applications to match them to the various residency programs offered throughout the country.

General Requirements

  • Currently holding or in the process of receiving a licence (where, depends on program)
  • Graduated from an ACPE-accredited pharmacy school
  • Hold a PharmD degree
  • Be a US citizen or have permanent resident status

To apply for a pharmacy residency through PhORCAS, you must submit the following:

These are the main components of the PhORCAS application, but different residency programs will have their own requirements, so students need to ensure they meet all their programs requirements and submit any supplemental materials either through PhORCAS or to the program directly.

What to Include in your Pharmacy Residency Personal Statement

You will only need a pharmacy residency personal statement if you are applying to an academic or hospital-based residency. The industry-based residencies usually only ask you for a research proposal or letter of intent - some academic programs ask for a letter of intent as well - so we’ll show you examples of what to include in your personal statement for academic and hospital-based residencies.

You’ve probably written one or two personal statements in the past, and, as we hear from many of our students, it is not easy. While it may seem like a no-brainer to you on why you want to enter a residency, the goal is to articulate and communicate that desire in 600 words or less (PARMS personal statements must not exceed 600 words) in a professional and well-written statement.

Fortunately, both PhORCAS and PARMS offer you advice and guidelines about what to write, but here we’ll do something a little different. We’ll use the same strategies we used with BeMo students who applied to pharmacy residencies (and got in!) and break-down how to construct your own personal statement with your own experiences, words, and goals.

PhORCAS and PARMS suggest the following, which is good advice, but you need something more personalized and specific, which is what we’ll do with the proceeding pharmacy residency personal statement examples.

These are the questions you have to answer, but how do you write it in a way that conveys your enthusiasm, knowledge, and writing skills? Keep reading to learn how to infuse paragraph with style and verve so you get into the residency of your choice.

Writing your Pharmacy Residency Personal Statement

All good personal statements tell a story. But great ones reveal a complex, multi-faceted, constantly evolving human being behind them who has experienced challenges in life, overcome them and has the potential to do great things.

However, a pharmacy residency personal statement has to show a little more. Depending on the type of pharmacist you want to be (industry or healthcare-based), you may have to adjust your statement to reflect the unique skill sets you have to excel in that particular industry sector. 

If you are applying to an industry residency, you won’t have a lot of direct patient experience or any clinical rotations, so it makes no sense to talk about how you want to interact with patients. Instead, it is mostly your research capabilities, experiences in the lab, and project goals that will make you an attractive applicant to an industry-based residency.

If you are applying for a hospital-based residency, here is where you would highlight previous direct patient experiences, shadowing, cross-collaboration with various teams, and your past makes more sense to talk about here.

This is why we constantly tell our students to, “show, don’t tell”, as a simple reminder to let them know that showing what you did during the time leading up to a pharmacy residency (or whatever professional goal you are trying to achieve) and how you developed into the resilient, dedicated and passionate individual that you are matters more than reciting your resume or academic achievements.

Take these two opening paragraphs for a pharmacy residency personal statement:

Pharmacy Residency Personal Statement Example Opening #1

I am excited to apply for the Pharmacy Residency Program as it represents an invaluable opportunity for my professional development and growth. I am eager to further enhance my clinical skills, expand my knowledge base, and contribute to the field of pharmacy. Pharmacy residency programs provide a unique learning experience that goes beyond what is obtained during pharmacy school. The chance to work closely with experienced preceptors, engage in interdisciplinary collaborations, and rotate through various clinical settings is unparalleled.

Pharmacy Residency Personal Statement Example Opening #2

I can think of no greater fear-inducing event than struggling to breathe. I woke up like that one morning. I had the symptoms of a cold – coughing, sore throat, congestion – and my doctor had prescribed antibiotics. But the day after I started them, I woke up breathless. Fortunately, I was not alone. My partner called an ambulance, because I couldn’t speak. The paramedics came and gave me oxygen. With each complete breath, I calmed down. I was so soothed by the oxygen that I started to cry from how good it felt to breathe again.

Now, can you tell the differences between the two?

The first sample conveys no humanity and feels like the rote, lifeless copy written in a brochure. It gives no detail and says nothing important or new. But the second example grabs our attention right away by relating to us through a universal fear (not being able to breathe) and setting us up to find out what happens next.

The above samples are both fictional, but then the challenge becomes, what is something unique to you and your experience that you can talk about? Remember, it’s a “personal” statement, so don’t be afraid to talk about setbacks, failures, tragedies but always with an eye toward how that experience has prepared you for now.

To do this with a full example, we’ll first create an applicant profile. In this profile, we’ll give a short autobiographical sketch of the applicant, and then use that information in the provided pharmacy residency personal statement example. We’ll also address the statement to a real pharmacy residency program in either the US or Canada. When you read the statement, you’ll see bold text that explains how the information from the profile is being used, so you get an idea of how to do it on your own.

Applicant Profile #1

Name: Sarah Logan

Education: University of Toronto, PharmD

Sarah first became interested in addiction science and pharmacology at university and is motivated by the thousands of people lost to addiction every year. This tremendous loss of life made her want to discover how to help treat SUD with medications, rather than the traditional methods of peer-support groups and psychological interventions. Her hope is to be able to gain the knowledge to break new ground on treatments for all substance addictions, similar to how naloxone has helped save thousands of lives from opioid overdoses.

Residency Program: Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

Pharmacy Residency Personal Statement Example #1

Every time I’ve seen someone brought back to life by Narcan, I think about the one life it did not save. Here you are not only relating the experience, but relating how it affected you. Remember to keep that cause-and-effect formula throughout your writing. You also want to build some mystery and reveal only a few details, but be selective. The more you withhold, the more your reader will want to continue. I first heard of naloxone in an intro to biochemistry class. My professor explained the chemistry of the drug, but also added a tragic aside: the drug’s creator, Dr. Jack Fishman, lost his step-son, Jonathan to an overdose, even though Narcan existed at the time, only, it was not readily available. You can usually wait until the second or third paragraph to mention something academic, but CAMH has a 300-word limit for its personal essay, so we are making an exception. But, again, remember that anything academic or professional you mention has to relate back to something personal, some change in you.

Hearing that was sobering. My professor said a story like that should motivate us to create drugs that would save lives, but to remember not to always expect miracles, even with a miracle drug like Narcan. I took that as a challenge to learn all I could about addiction, drug policy, harm reduction, the neuroscience behind chemical dependencies and the prevalence of co-occurring disorders, where addiction and mental illness meet. This is where you make the connection to your experience, and mention how learning this knowledge (whatever it may be) put you on the path that you are on now and what you did to show your commitment.

I did a six-month internship at the Ontario Harn Reduction Network and got the opportunity to meet and learn from Drug Culture Consultants who had lived with substance use problems. Hearing about all the obstacles they faced to getting Narcan or other treatment options made me realize that pharmaceutical companies and regulatory agencies alone should not be the ones deciding drug policy. They should collaborate with public health authorities and other non-profits who work directly with affected population groups who would benefit most. This section is another “stepping stone” to something you want to say about your goals and desires and what motivates you, but also demonstrates you have an informed opinion about an important issue. That’s what interests me about the CAMH; the advocacy on behalf of people with substance use and mental health disorders and all the research done here on their behalf. Here, at the end, is where you can connect your mission to the program’s and make your case for why you are a good fit for the program.

CAMH hosts one of the most revered pharmacogenetics research centers in Canada, which is an area of pharmacology I would like to explore further, as it holds promise to create new drugs to treat substance use and mental health disorders with medication made specifically for them. Given the opportunity, I am confident that I will be able to make a meaningful impact and contribute to CAMH's mission of transforming lives through leading-edge research, comprehensive care, and innovative treatments.

Applicant Profile #2

Name: Grace Chao

Education: Touro College of Pharmacy, PharmD 

Grace was first interested in the tech sector, and majored in computer science. But she added biology as a minor in her second year because of the recommendation of a professor and has been interested in the intersection of medicine and information technology ever since. She went to pharmacy school in order to learn more about the medication that she, as someone with ADHD, takes on a regular basis and whether information technology can improve medication delivery systems in major hospitals.

Residency Program: Mount Sinai Brooklyn

Pharmacy Residency Personal Statement Example #2

I was only fourteen when I was diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and it made me scared. Here you are being vulnerable and open about a personal issue, which is exactly the kind of thing personal statements are for; don’t be afraid to open up and mention an obstacle, setback or challenge, so long as you talk about its effects on you (cause-effect). I didn’t know what it was and my doctor’s explanations were confusing. It made me scared because I loved school and I was afraid that I might not be able to keep going to school the way I was used to. My doctor prescribed medication and it was when our pharmacist, Mr. Chee, talked to me about my ADHD that I finally felt better.

Mr. Chee took the time to explain the effects of the prescribed medication and patiently discussed the potential side effects, along with strategies to mitigate them. This compassionate approach is something that I never forgot and it proved pivotal later on in my career, when I was deciding what to do after I graduated. The “inciting incident” can come in any time in your narrative, but the way you talk about it can vary. You can be explicit and say “this person made me decide to be a pharmacist” or in a more implied way, like here.

After my condition came under control, I realized my passion for computers and technology and followed it to Columbia where I did my bachelor in computer science. In my first year, I met a fellow student who had an idea to use navigation systems to assist people with visual impairments and the potential synergy between medicine and information technology intrigued me. Another important moment, or one of change and transformation. People, events, places, anything you have a deep memory of is great to talk about, especially if it made you decide to do something beyond what is expected of you, as in the following paragraph.

I decided to add biology as a minor in my second year and it was learning about pharmacokinetics and drug interactions that made me think of Mr. Chee, and the way he explained what the medication would be doing to my body. It was then that I thought my background in computer science and biology would help me explore how information technology could be used to help patients to understand their medication and help them take it safely, which necessitated going to pharmacy school.

Throughout my education, I became acutely aware of the limitations and challenges within medication delivery systems. One such challenge I encountered was the imperfect implementation of inventory management systems, like the Willow Inventory Model. While the model aims to optimize medication inventory, it suffers from certain flaws such as inefficiencies in data integration and the potential for supply shortages. The Mount Sinai Pharmacy Residency is attractive to me because of the opportunity to use my study of the system to address its limitations and devise strategies for more efficient medication management.

I am also drawn to the setting and the program's emphasis on serving diverse patient populations in Brooklyn resonates deeply with my commitment to cultural competency and inclusive care. Engaging with patients from various backgrounds, I aspire to tailor medication management strategies to their unique needs and ultimately optimize patient outcomes, in the same way that Mr. Chee helped me. The Mount Sinai Pharmacy Residency program represents a remarkable opportunity to merge my technological expertise with pharmaceutical knowledge, enabling me to make meaningful contributions to patient care.


1. How long should my pharmacy residency personal statement be?

There are various requirements for each program, as is standard for residency applications. The PhORCAS system in the US is similar to the AMCAS medical school application service, in that it sets the word limit to 600 words. In Canada, as evidenced by the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, each program has its own letter and length requirements. 

2. Do I have to write a pharmacy residency personal statement?

It depends on the program. Some may ask for a personal statement, while others ask for a statement of interest more focused on your research history and goals within the residency. 

3. What kind of pharmacy residencies are there?

There are dozens of different residencies for pharmacy school graduates that are reflective of all the versatility of the pharmacy profession. In the US, there are many more opportunities, given there are so many pharmacy schools in the US, so applicants can apply to a community clinic residency, outpatient or drug rehabilitation center residency, or a traditional hospital-based residency, to name a few. 

4. Which pharmacy residency is best for me?

It depends on your interests and where you see yourself in ten years. Do you want to create new medications? Do you want to continue researching? Do you want to go practice at a public hospital? Do you want to enter your own private practice? These are the questions you have to answer to choose which residency is best for you. 

5. What should I include in my pharmacy residency personal statement?

Again, each program has its own requirements, but they typically ask you to explain why you want to enter this program, and this specific residency. Talk about your experiences in pharmacy school and how they helped influence your decision to pursue a residency, as it is an optional move and not required to receive a pharmacy license. 

6. What should I not include in my pharmacy residency personal statement?

Do not write your entire life story or dwell too long on certain experiences. Keep the narrative moving forward and do not use unprofessional language or talk negatively of others, including other healthcare professions. 

7. What is the best pharmacy residency program?

There is objective best when it comes to a pharmacy, or any specialty, residency program. The “best” program for you is one that coincides with your research interests, professional goals, and educational background. 

8. Can I use AI to write my pharmacy residency personal statement?

No. AI cannot write in detail about your experiences, your emotions, and what you’ve done to prepare yourself for this residency. An AI-generated personal statement is easy to spot because it will generate a generic, incoherent repetitive mess that will surely get you rejected before the rest of your application is viewed. 

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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