Originally Posted by bballa99
To 3rd/4th years:
What do you guys think about job security and wages these days?
I would really look into this if this is what you really want to do.
I'm a 4th year, and as much as I love pharmacy, I would be very apprehensive about applying to the program were I a pre-pharmacy student today. I am not so much worried about job security for myself, as I already signed with a company, but once the program starts pumping out 224 students every year, I think jobs are going to be a lot more competitive and some students may find themselves unemployed or under-employed (with a part time job that only get 20 hours a week and no benefits). That being said, there will always be jobs available, and if you really want to become a pharmacist, I would encourage you to apply. But just know that once you get in, it doesn't suddenly mean you are set for life and don't need to worry about future employment prospects. I really believe in the future that the students getting jobs or at least ideal jobs will be those who are very involved in the faculty and who also maintain decent averages (80% or higher). Those students that think they don't need to be involved at all and get by with a 60% average are going to be screwed come job application time because their resumes will be empty and they will have a hard to differentiating themselves from every other student.
As far as wages go, if you are someone who can't stand the prospect of leaving Metro Vancouver, you really need to consider a different career. Companies are not hiring students right out of school to work in Vancouver and even if you do manage to get a job in Vancouver, the starting wage is currently as low as $34/hr (which I would personally not be willing to work form, especially since the cost of living here is ridiculous). If you are willing to leave the lower mainland, wages are still very competitive, and I would say the average is $47/hr, with many companies offering 5-10k signing bonuses per year and outstanding benefits. For myself personally, I grew up in Northern British Columbia and plan on going back to my hometown where wages are right around the $50/hr mark.
Wages and job security aside, I actually think it is a very exciting time to become a pharmacist. Since I entered the program in '08, there have been more changes to pharmacy practice than in the past 20 years. For example, pharmacists can now "adapt" prescriptions, meaning they can provide renewals (refills), and provide minor changes to regimen and dose without first contacting the doctor. Additionally, we can now give vaccines by IM injection, and in the future should be able to give injections subcutaneously as well (just need the ok from the college). Pharmacists are now being paid to provide medication reviews too. (Check out the college of pharmacists website or the BC pharmacy association website to learn more about the exciting new initiatives that pharmacists are participating in) I am sure many more clinical services will be added in the near future. Starting next year, the faculty will be in their new building at UBC (which looks amazing and I am a tad jealous that I won't be able to experience it as a student). Also, by 2020, it is predicted that the number of seniors in the province will be 4x higher than in 2010. Therefore, demand for pharmacists should increase substantially at that point (just right now it is a bit scary for employment prospects but I think it could have more to do with the economy than simply pharmacy).
I guess my point is that I encourage students to really research the profession and talk to either pharmacists working already, or to students in the program to keep current in the profession.