Newswise — The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) has elevated The University of Texas at El Paso's School of Pharmacy to "candidate" status, taking the school one step closer to earning full accreditation in 2021.

“This is a significant achievement in our program’s history,” said Mary L. Chávez, Pharm.D., associate dean for academic affairs in the School of Pharmacy. “We’re very proud of our outstanding faculty, staff, students and administrators who worked very hard to help the school reach this milestone.”

Chavez said candidate status provides graduates from UTEP’s Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program the same rights and privileges that they would have from a fully accredited pharmacy program. Graduates will be able to take the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) to become licensed to practice in any state in the United States.

ACPE is the national agency for accreditation in pharmacy education in the U.S. and U.S. territories. It sets standards for assuring and advancing quality in the education and continuing education of pharmacists to prepare them for the delivery of pharmacist-provided patient care.

ACPE’s accreditation is a three-step process. The first is precandidate status, which UTEP’s pharmacy school earned in July 2017. This allowed the school to enroll its first cohort of 41 students in the fall of that year. 

It is followed by candidate status, which is awarded to a new program that has students enrolled but has not had a graduating class. The program must meet 25 ACPE accreditation standards for candidate status.

The final step is full accreditation, which will be awarded after all ACPE standards are met and the first class graduates in 2021. 

UTEP’s pharmacy school was approved by The University of Texas System Board of Regents in 2016. It is the first standalone school of pharmacy on the Texas-Mexico border.

The school’s Pharm.D. curriculum, called “IDEAL,” promotes innovation, diversity, engagement, access and leadership in pharmacy education.

Pharmacy students learn technical Spanish, participate in study-away, complete a capstone project and engage in practical, hands-on experiences with trained preceptors to better serve a diverse 21st century demographic.

The school is currently accepting applications for the fall 2019 cohort. For more information, visit


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