Do you really want to do this? Do you really want to be a pharmacist? If you finish a full PharmD (Doctor of Pharmacy) Professional Degree program – you’re looking at around four years of your entire life. Even less if you attend an accelerated program, but it is a big investment in time and money regardless. It would be all for nothing if you decide you dislike being a pharmacist after working for only a short period of time. If you decide to change careers midway through pharmacy school, or shortly after you graduate, you would have to spend additional time and money searching for a new career that you may or may not enjoy compared to a career in pharmacy. This is why it is very important to do your research in this industry by doing some reading into this field, talking to current pharmacists and pharmacy students, talking to your trusted family members, advisors, and friends, or even your school’s career counselor, and other available and legitimate resources on the Internet. Working as in intern in the pharmacy department within a hospital or a retail setting before applying to pharmacy school is a great way to receive some real exposure to the life, and get some hands-on experience. This is a good method of testing whether the pharmacy world is a good fit for you…and whether you’ll be able to endure the next 30-40 years of it…assuming you work until retirement. Therefore, a little investment in your time to do some preliminary research will go a long way for the rest of your life. You’ll spend generally eight hours of your day (a third of a full day) if employed full-time, and so it may be beneficial to find out if this career path will bring happiness or dread.
The following may be some indicators that you’ll be content with the pharmacy field:
- Enjoy working with people of all personalities
- Enjoy providing customer service to everyone
- Enjoy learning new things
- Intelligent, and the passion to seek knowledge and find answers quickly
- Enjoy science
- Enjoy working in a busy environment
- Teaching and training
If you possess the opposite traits from those listed above, you may want to rethink this career, or at least do some more research and work in a pharmacy before you decide to invest more time and money into it. Keep in mind that although the majority of pharmacists work in a retail drugstore or a hospital setting, there are other career paths such as academia, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, research, and consulting. Pharmacists are known to be valued for their knowledge on medications, insurance, general science, and some various aspects of healthcare, which is why their skills and knowledge may be utilized in various industry sectors. To learn about atypical careers outside of the hospital or retail pharmacy setting, it may be a good idea to inquire from your pharmacy schools before you apply on the available elective courses and experiential programs they offer. You could also inquire about the teachers and professors about their backgrounds to see if your career interests have any relation to their employment history. They may be able to mentor or advise you on certain career paths based on their own experiences. Therefore, not only is it a good idea to do some research into the work of a pharmacist, it is an equally sound idea to research the schools you are interested in applying to, and whether they offer special elective courses and experiential programs that will assist you in your pursuit of the your ideal job.