Post Pharmacy School: Your Options

Senior pharmacy students in their finals years will often ponder their options after graduation while going through their pharmacy clerkships, internships, or rotations. Many may already know what they will be doing after graduation, but some may still wonder what the best ‘fit’ would be. A good diverse selection of internship electives in addition to choosing selective sites of work for general core internships could broaden the outlook on future possibilities. Although a lot of pharmacy schools have a defined process, and possibly restricted set of internship sites for practice, many programs offer interesting and innovative internships for their students. Some of these internship programs could include international internships to foreign pharmaceutical companies as well as health organizations and governments. Some others even include programs in non-traditional pharmacist positions such as internships with the federal government, research, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and corporate strategy. Despite the limited positions for pharmacists in these non-traditional roles compared to the traditional positions in hospital or retail pharmacies, possibilities exist because many organizations desire those who have the specific knowledge and understanding of medicinal chemistry and pharmaceutics.

More and more pharmacy graduates are pursuing post graduate training in residency programs and fellowships. As the pharmacy profession evolves alongside ongoing medical breakthroughs, residency/fellowship training is also advancing and adjusting for future clinicians and researchers to benefit from the experience and knowledge of practitioners. Senior pharmacy students who are interested in applying for post-graduate programs could do so during conferences held by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP), American Pharmacists Association (APhA), or others. Usually students should apply during the Fall-Winter seasons, but should check the individual organization’s websites for a current list of opportunities. The directory of participating residency or fellowship programs will typically show program descriptions, program directors and contact numbers, the application process and deadlines, stipend, location, qualifications, requirements, and the interview process. Similar to the college application process, a candidate could increase their chances to programs of their choosing by applying to more than more program. It is advisable to research the program, particularly the mentors, the location, in addition to program diversity as this will be an important first step into a candidate’s pharmacy future. Great mentors breed great future professionals, and program diversity could broaden the knowledge of one’s training. The location of the program is also important, as the selected individual will have to live in the practice area for at least one year.

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