Clinical Training and Community Outreach

Learn to be a pharmacist through extensive hands-on experiences.

We pioneered experiential learning for PharmD students in the late 1960s and today we remain an innovator in preparing students for pharmacy practice in a wide variety of settings.

You will have patient care experiences early on in your PharmD program, increasing in scope and complexity as you learn. By the time you complete the program, you will have logged at least 1,740 hours of experiential learning.

Being on a major health sciences campus—the only private school of pharmacy in such a setting—offers numerous advantages, including four hospitals in close proximity (three owned by USC), three school-owned community pharmacies and interdisciplinary collaboration across campus.

Our broad network of affiliates—some 300 sites with more than 400 volunteer faculty and preceptors, many them alumni of the program—provide you with many options for clinical site placements serving diverse patient populations.

Frequent placements include:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Corporate and industry settings
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • International sites (including Australia, Denmark, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Thailand)
  • Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center
  • Other Southern California health systems, such as Veterans Affairs medical centers, Kaiser Permanente and Cedars-Sinai
  • Private physician offices and clinics
  • University of Southern California hospitals: Keck Hospital of USC, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital and USC Verdugo Hills Hospital

Licensure as an Intern Pharmacist

You will obtain your intern licensure with the California State Board of Pharmacy at the beginning of your first year. The Intern Pharmacist’s license allows you to perform any of the duties of a registered pharmacist while working under the direct and personal supervision of a registered pharmacist.

Pharmacy Practice Experiences

Over the course of your first three PharmD years, you will complete at least 300 hours of experiential learning and gain experience in community, hospital and elective pharmacy practice settings.

During the first three weeks of your curriculum, you will receive intensive, hands-on training in immunization and screening tests for blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes. Your skills will be further honed through participation in local health fairs, held nearly every week throughout the year, where you will provide vaccinations, health screenings, and health education under the supervision of faculty and alumni preceptors.

Classroom instruction complements and enhances experiences gained at various practice sites, while electives broaden your knowledge in your areas of interest.

Your fourth year in the program is entirely experiential. You will complete six advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs) of six weeks each. You have flexibility in scheduling your rotations over eight different six-week blocks—two in the summer and three in each semester during the regular academic year.

Two of the six APPEs will be in an ambulatory or outpatient environments and two will be in an inpatient or hospital settings. You are required to take two electives in a variety of settings—including in the pharmaceutical industry, regulatory agencies or managed care organizations.

Your acute-care or inpatient rotations are balanced to include team-based clinical care and systems of practice for the hospital setting. You will participate in preparing and dispensing medications, interprofessional rounds, monitoring therapy, quality assurance, program development and more. Ambulatory rotations emphasize individualized patient care, disease-state management and systems of care in community pharmacy settings.