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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Some More Questions Answered

We got an email from someone interested in going back to school and getting a pharmacy degree. He already has a programming/technology degree with a decent salary but doesn't have any passion for his job. I have a few things to say that might not be what he wanted to hear.

The good stuff:
*7 on & off overnights if you can handle the crazy sleep
*Steady work during days if you can handle multi-tasking
*Good salary for a comfortable lifestyle
*Pretty cheap to renew license, including continuing education expenses
*Reasonably easy to transfer from state to state if you want or need to
*Health insurance, dental, and a 401K
*Paid vacation time
*People bring coffee, cookies, etc. if they really like you
*Plenty of stories for a blog

The bad stuff:
*Getting yelled at for something that is not your fault
*Being micro-managed by corporate
*More work than one person should be expected to do in 8 to 10 ours
*Mistakes can kill someone
*Drive-thru almost never stops filling up with cars
*Phones almost never stop ringing
*The general population is RUDE
*Thank yous are few and far between in modern society
*Jobs are drying up as more pharmacists graduate and get licensed each year

The golden goose that was pharmacy has laid its last golden eggs. The current economy and deplorable reimbursement rates from insurance providers are destroying pharmacies nationwide. Retail pharmacies are forced to use mail-order facilities and fewer human staff to make ends meet. My company has laid off many employees and will eliminate many more as they convert the entire chain over to the new operations system. Independent pharmacies are becoming extinct and even hospital and nursing home pharmacies are cutting staffing or going out of business completely.

If you look in the classified ads there are rarely pharmacy positions offered anymore. It just isn't what it used to be. I don't have a good outlook for the future of retail pharmacy as more 24 hour stores start closing the doors at 10pm to save money over staying open all night and big box retailers like Wal-mart crippling the competitive financial viability of all other retail pharmacies I would stick with the technology job.

Another thing to consider is your current debt situation (ie student loans, credit cards, auto loans, living expenses, savings, etc.), what income you would have as a pharmacy student, if any of your other education would count toward your required class hours for pharmacy, etc. I think that may be a question better answered by Susie Orman, financial guru.

For the student trying to get into pharmacy school with the sort of bad GPA you are probably screwed. Admissions do not really take personal things into consideration when trying to get into a pharmacy program. It is highly competitive to get into the few spots available. You will need to do some research on admissions requirements for the school(s) you are interested in. I have seen many students in Florida who try to get in and are denied. Maybe consider a different career path like nurse practitioner or physicians assistant. The pay is good the education is similar and they are a little more lenient on the admissions. Good Luck!


Anonymous said...

speaking of wal-mart, they are still hiring. check out all the jobs they have listed at www.pharmacyweek.com!

Amanda said...

My advice to this person is to get a pharmacy license, get a few years experience (and take note of problem areas), then take their comp tech knowledge and design pharmacy info management programs! Places like Pyxis or Cerner (or even infotech in itself) are where the big bucks are at. Especially if the US moves to a national electronic health resource.

Anonymous said...

Dude, there is no way in hell you would be satisfied in pharmacy! No way! If job satisfaction is important, run in the opposite direction! I do it for the money, nothing else.

Peon said...

It seems likely that there are going to be more pharmacists than jobs. This is something that has not happened in a very long time. One possible major change to take place in pharmacy is central fill. Walgreen's has started a program in Florida called POWER. They are striping down the number of pharmacists and techs in their stores and filling the rx's at a central location to be delivered to the stores. It is likely that Kroger will do something similar. If all the chains follow suit, then there are going to be far more pharmacists than jobs. What will this do to pharmacist salaries?

Unless you intend to find a hospital job, then I would not recommend you going into pharmacy. Chain pharmacy sucks! Go talk to some chain pharmacists. Why go 6 years to become a pharmacist when you can go a few more years and become a doctor or dentist? Or, if you want to cut down on the education time, become a nurse practioner.

Anonymous said...

It looks like the days of severe pharmacist shortages are behind us. Some of us will probably have to do something else for a living. I'd be happy to do that. Any suggestions for other careers? I don't want to go back to school and I'd be willing to take a 50-60 per cent pay cut.

Anonymous said...

I share your views about the lack of a future in pharmacy. As for me, I am going back to my previous position. I was the salt lick at the petting zoo, and on weekends I blew Bulldogs in a donkey show in TJ. Why did I give up show business.....