ETSU No. 2 in the nation for NAPLEX

No. 1 in Southeast, Appalachian Highlands, and Tennessee

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (January 30, 2024) — East Tennessee State University Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy rocketed to among the top accredited pharmacy schools in the country with its latest licensure exam results. A pharmacy school graduate must pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) exam in order to be awarded a license to practice. 

The Class of 2023 at ETSU Gatton College of Pharmacy achieved an incredible 95.4% first attempt pass rate on their NAPLEX exam scores, placing the college at No. 2 in the country for accredited pharmacy schools. The Class of 2023 national mean for pharmacy schools is 77.5%.

Only one other ACPE accredited pharmacy school in the nation beat ETSU: the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy had a 97.8% pass rate.

ETSU ranked number one in the Southeast, Appalachian Highlands and Tennessee—its core recruitment zones. ETSU beat the top 27 schools featured in U.S. News and World Report’s pharmacy school ranking.

“These scores are phenomenal and a testament to the quality of education that our student pharmacists are receiving at ETSU Gatton College of Pharmacy,” said Dr. Debbie Byrd, Dean of the college and Interim Dean of ETSU College of Nursing. “I am so proud of our Class of 2023, as well as our faculty and staff, who all worked so hard for these results.”

In addition to recent state funding which significantly decreased the cost of tuition for the college, ETSU Gatton College of Pharmacy has made significant changes to its curriculum and to the support services that it offers students, including a revamped NAPLEX exam preparation process; faculty mentorship; recently hired student success coordinators; and a director of student success.

To help future pharmacists learn more about the profession, ETSU Gatton College of Pharmacy is offering a free Pharmacy Career Exploration Day with lunch on Saturday, February 24, 2024, to help students learn more about pharmacy careers, as well as the flexible pathways to pursue pharmacy at ETSU. Learn more and register at 

The deadline to apply for the college’s Early Admission Pathway is March 31, 2024. Visit to learn more and apply. In addition, admission for the college’s Class of 2028 is open. Questions? Contact or (423) 439-6300. 

ETSU Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy was founded in 2005 by the community with a mission to develop progressive, team-oriented pharmacists who improve health care, focusing on rural and underserved communities. The college has earned numerous national awards and accolades for service, scholastic achievement and clinical training.