MIDWEST CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – As a nationwide shortage of pharmacists impact trips to the drug store, two local universities hope to offer a solution.

Rose State and SWOSU are coming together to create a pipeline to the profession.

There was a lot of excitement surrounding this announcement, with many knowing the path to filling these in-demand jobs can start right here at Rose State.

“We love the pipeline coming out of our state,” said SWOSU President Dr. Diane Lovell.

“It just doesn’t get better,” said Rose State College Dr. Jeanie Webb. “It couldn’t be more exciting.”

On Tuesday, Rose State College and Southwestern Oklahoma State University announcing a partnership to graduate more pharmacists in Oklahoma.

The new partnership will guarantee 5 Rose State graduates with an associates degree in chemistry will be admitted into the state’s top pharmacy program at SWOSU per semester.

Those graduates face a job-market eager to hire them.

“Lots of jobs opening with Walgreens, CVS, places like those, as well as independent pharmacies and hospital sites,” said SWOSU student Kaylen Schier. 

“The median salary for a pharmacist is $128,000 and they’re having sign on bonuses,” Lovell said. “Gosh, $75,000 Walgreens is offering because there’s a real shortage in pharmacies.”

You may have already noticed many pharmacies have shortened hours due to staffing.

Pharmacist shortages are also due to on-the-job stress and heavy workloads.

The SWOSU students we talked to say – they aren’t deterred, they’re motivated.

“A lot of people say pharmacists are the only health care profession that you don’t have to make an appointment to go see,” said SWOSU student Abbey Kliewer-Mills. “So, I like the accessibility that we have to our patients and being able to communicate with them and have a relationship with them.”