Doctor of Pharmacy

Experiential Education

Gain Real World Pharmacy Experience

The experiential education component of the doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) program is the opportunity for you to step out of the classroom and academic laboratory into a variety of real-world practice settings, putting the knowledge you have gained to use in hands-on pharmacy practice experiences. These experiences, also known as rotations, make up 30% of the pharmacy curriculum.

The College has practice experiences at approximately 500 pharmacy and clinical sites, including community pharmacies, hospitals, ambulatory care clinics, research laboratories, managed care facilities, specialty pharmacies, academia, government agencies and the pharmaceutical industry. These experiences not only expand your knowledge of pharmacy, but often lead to opportunities post-graduation.

Experiential Education Handout

A student educates public at narcan training day
Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPEs)

IPPEs are designed for pharmacy students in their first three professional years of the PharmD program. When you enter your final professional year, you will have gained 320 hours of hands-on practice experience by meeting the IPPE requirements detailed below. 

Each pharmacy student is required to complete three rotations, which total eight credits and 320 hours. All IPPE requirements must be met prior to beginning APPEs (see below) and must be completed in the United States or its territories (in accordance with ACPE Standard 13.8).


Professional Year 1 (P1) to Professional Year 3 (P3)
Community Pharmacy
Institutional Pharmacy
Team-Based Care

Goal: Expose students to the day-to-day operations of a community pharmacy

Duration: 4 weeks (160 hours)

Timing: Summer after P1

Activities include: Dispensing, non-sterile compounding, counseling, administering vaccines and promoting self-care, health and wellness

Goal: Expose students to the day-to-day operations of a hospital pharmacy

Duration: 3 weeks (120 hours)

Timing: Summer after P2

Activities include: Unit dose dispensing, sterile compounding, medication reconciliation, provider education

Goal: Expose students to the day-to-day operations of a ambulatory patient care setting

Duration: 1 week (40 hours)

Timing: Summer after P2

Activities include: Patient interview, medication histories, patient and provider education

A student injects a shot into patient arm
Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs)

APPEs are hands-on experiences designed to build upon the academic base obtained in the classrooms, laboratories and IPPE portions of the PharmD program. Starting in May at the beginning of the final professional year, students complete seven APPE rotations (five core and two electives), each six weeks in length (42 weeks total). One week of an APPE is equal to one semester hour of academic credit (for a total of 42 credits). 

APPEs are scheduled by the College and typically require students to be at the practice site a minimum of eight hours daily.

Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs)

Professional Year 4 (P4) - 7x6 Week Rotations
Rotation Type
Core Ambulatory Care

Outpatient, clinic-based, direct patient care


Independent, chain, grocery store


Hospitalized patients, focused area of pharmacy, nursing, home patients, direct patient care


Hospital pharmacy

Flex Core Ambulatory Care, Community, or Inpatient

Allows students to self-select an area of interest

Elective Elective 1

Opportunities available in a variety of settings

Students may also opt for additional ambulatory care or inpatient experiences

Non-pharmacist professionals may serve as preceptors

These can be completed internationally

Elective 2
Required Core APPEs

You must complete the following rotations for a total of 30 credits: community pharmacy, ambulatory care, inpatient care, institutional care, and institutional pharmacy. All required core rotations must be completed in the United States (in accordance with ACPE Standard 13.8).

Ambulatory care and inpatient care rotations are direct patient care rotations in settings including but not limited to: anticoagulation, critical care, diabetes/endocrinology, emergency medicine/toxicology, family practice, gastroenterology, geriatrics, hematology/oncology, HIV pharmacotherapy, homecare, infectious diseases, internal medicine, nephrology, neurology, nutrition, pain management, pediatrics, primary care and psychiatry.

Elective APPEs

You must choose two elective rotations to complete the APPE requirements. Each rotation is six weeks in length and six academic credits. Elective APPEs may be completed outside of the United States.

Elective options include: compounding, drug programs management, governmental affairs/regulatory, health information management, home infusion pharmacotherapy, international pharmacy, long-term care, medication safety, military pharmacy, nuclear pharmacy, pharmaceutical industry, pharmacogenomics, pharmacy administration, pharmacy association management, pharmacy education and research.

International Rotations

The College provides you with opportunities to study overseas to earn a portion of their required Elective APPE rotation credits. 

International rotations offer you the experience of working alongside practicing professionals while serving communities abroad. In doing so, they not only expand your knowledge and skills but also offer the opportunity to gain a global perspective on health care. 

In conjunction with the clinical or research aspects of the experience, you are given opportunities to broaden your understanding of a given region by learning about traditional approaches to medicine and exploring historical and cultural sites. 

Limited international APPE opportunities have recently included Italy, Japan, China, South Korea and Canada. More information is shared with you during the APPE orientation course offered during the P3 year.


Experiential Education CalendaR

Non-Academic Requirements

Prior to any rotation, students must register as pharmacy interns in the state where the rotation will be performed, if applicable. 

Prior to APPEs, students must have successfully completed their IPPE requirements. 

Prior to IPPEs and APPEs, students must have the following:

  • A copy of personal immunization records, which is on file at the College (in the event a site requests to see them). 
  • Proof of a recent physical exam, completed within a specific timeframe prior to the end of the academic year preceding the start of rotations (timeframe will be communicated to students at an appropriate time during the academic year.) 
  • Tuberculosis Screening test (PPD skin test or IGRA blood test) - Students must provide medical documentation showing results of a negative TB skin or blood test, or chest x-ray report following a positive test result. The screening must be completed within a specific timeframe prior to the end of the academic year preceding the start of rotations (the timeframe will be communicated to students during the academic year). 

  • CPR or Basic Life Support certification, valid for the duration of all rotations

  • Seasonal influenza (flu) vaccination

Some clinical sites may have their own requirements as well, including a criminal background check, a drug screen, or an antibody titer (laboratory blood test, which indicates proof of immunity, as opposed to providing proof of having received the vaccine), etc. 

Specific requirements, if any, would be noted in the rotation site’s record within the College’s database, and would be communicated to the appropriate students via email in advance of the rotation by Experiential Education staff. 

Institutions hosting experiential education rotations may deny a student’s participation in the experiential program because of the inability to produce an appropriate health clearance, which could result in delayed graduation or in the inability to graduate from the program.

Notice Of Background Check

Individuals who have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor may be denied certification or licensure as a health professional. Information regarding eligibility for licensing in a particular jurisdiction may be obtained from the appropriate credentialing body of that jurisdiction. 

Rotation sites may deny a student's participation in the experiential program because of a felony or misdemeanor conviction, failure of a required drug test, or inability to produce an appropriate health clearance, which would result in delayed graduation or in the inability to graduate from the program. 

Because institutions hosting experiential education may require a criminal background check to permit students to their facility, the College will conduct background checks on all students entering experiential programs, using the Health and Human Services/Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG) database. 

The goal of the HHS OIG background check website is to identify individuals and businesses excluded from federally funded health care programs. This includes individuals convicted of fraud related to federal programs, patient abuse, licensing board actions and default on health education assistance loans. 

If a student is identified via the use of this database, the matter is referred to a committee appointed by the Department of Pharmacy Practice for action.

Get Started as a Preceptor

ACPHS uses CORE ELMS as its online rotation management system for pharmacy practice experiences. 

New Preceptors 
If you would like to become a preceptor, please create a preceptor profile in CORE ELMS and use code: ACPHSPRECEPTOR. 

Existing Preceptors 
If you're currently serving, thank you for helping educate the next generation of pharmacists. To reach CORE ELMS, please go to CORE ELMS login. If you have forgotten your password or need assistance with basic CORE ELMS functions, please review the four minute CORE ELMS How-To Video or contact the Experiential Education team.

Lauren Hom stands with a group of students during experiential learning opportunity
ACPHS Students Learn By Doing
“There were no other colleges that I had been looking at, that had opportunities for international travel. Talking to other pharmacy students from other colleges and preceptors outside of ACPHS, they were always shocked that I had this opportunity.” - Lauren Hom '23

Photo taken at Aviano Air Force Base in Italy


Hear from our students

"The diversity of experience in rotating through the different areas of pharmacy (compounding, counseling, rounds, etc.) was a fantastic way of applying all the knowledge we have acquired thus far. The opportunity to directly impact patient care by assisting in researching and implementing treatment regimens was extremely rewarding. This was by far the best rotation I have participated in thus far....This rotation demonstrated that it is essential for me to seek out experiences in other work settings so that I can find the niche in pharmacy that I would fit with best.” – IPPE student, summer following P2 year, regional medical center

“For any student desiring real-world experience in leadership and exposure to daily activities of senior management positions in pharmacy, while still gaining the benefit of clinical experience, there is no substitute for this rotation. The blend of experiences in executive, clinical and community pharmacy into a single rotation was invaluable ... this gives the student the freedom to develop their own solutions to legitimate issues in the world of pharmacy, under the guidance of a preceptor who is an expert manager.” – APPE student in P4 year, College Hometown Pharmacy

“An absolutely immersive rotation that will provide you the opportunity to apply clinical knowledge on a daily basis. This is done all while learning at the same time from very accomplished physicians and pharmacists. It thus emphasized to me that as a pharmacist I must truly understand and accept the great responsibility that accompanies properly counseling patients on their medications. It is not simply a check in the box. Lack of counseling properly can cause trips to the ER, hospital stays, worsening health and, in the worst cases, disability or death.” – APPE student in P4 year, internal medicine at suburban health care system

“This was a challenging but very rewarding rotation. One of the most impactful learning experiences during this rotation was immersing myself with the antimicrobial stewardship team, especially during the pandemic. I would brush up on the most up-to-date guidelines for various disease states, which I would discuss with my preceptor and the team. With the information from the guidelines, I was able to give recommendations on how to treat patients and the duration of treatment expected for patients.” – APPE student in P4 year, suburban medical center

“In this rotation, I experienced a unique and interesting field of the pharmaceutical industry, which was regulatory affairs. I was working in global labeling. They are dealing with a lot of the legal framework to support the drug approval process. This was meaningful to me since I was able to communicate my findings to not only my team but across countries as well which will impact future products being released on to foreign markets.” – APPE student in P4 year, pharmaceutical industry

2022 Preceptor of the Year: Leslie Riddle '09

Dr. Riddle is among 468 preceptors who guide ACPHS pharmacy students through rotations at 370 sites. Preceptors model professional conduct and decision-making as well as evaluate students in their practice settings.

“Precepting students – they often teach me more than I teach them,” she said when accepting the award. “They keep me young. It also keeps me motivated, and it gives me hope for our future as pharmacists.”

Learn more about the Preceptor of the Year Award.

Meet Our Team

Courtney Tackes, PharmD, MBA
Assistant Dean of Experiential Education

Jennifer Cerulli, PharmD
Assistant Director

Diana Foster
Program Administrator

Megan Veselov, PharmD, MBA


Experiential Education Team
Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
106 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208