Terra Sigillata

Medscape Pharmacists has a great article up by Jacqueline Kostwick on modern options for a careers in pharmacy (free reg required). The article is directed toward already-practicing pharmacists who are looking to move within the profession, but it is also a great primer for the prospective student.

For those of you who think that pharmacy practice in the US simply involves, “count, lick, and stick,” like you see at your local community pharmacy, you would be wrong.

Indeed, 61% of graduates still end up in community pharmacy, usually at chain drug stores, but the conversion of the entry-level degree to a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) has given pharmacists more choices and authority, particularly in hospitals.

The US course of study is now four years (plus a minimum of two years pre-pharmacy coursework) and I’ve had many students come back with unsatisfying careers with their BS or even PhDs. The flexibility of pharmacy hours was also cited as an advantage by many of my older students, many of who were single parents looking for the quickest and most interesting way to give their families an economic leg up.

The modern allure of pharmacy is the opportunity to be more directly involved in patient care while drawing a salary that starts in the ballpark of $75,000-$80,000 per year, depending on geography, and many of my former students are well over six figures.

Yes, that’s right, most of my graduates make far more than I did during my years as assistant professor…and most of my years as an associate professor.

If you are looking for an alternative career in science, don’t have the time and energy to commit to medical school, are finding graduate school to not be quite what you expected, or just simply want to be more involved in patient care and are interested in pharmacology, take a look at pharmacy as a career.