2nd Year Pharmacy student thinking of switching to a physician assistant Program

Dec 27, 2011
14
0
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Pharmacy Student
Hello everyone,

I am stuck in this situation that brought me to sadness. I am currently a 2nd year pharmacy student and will be going into my 2nd semester of it in january. During my time in pharmacy I have come to realize that pharmacy is not for me. I had a retail rotation and I did not like it at all and I could not see myself doing it for the rest of my life. I have also learned that the field of pharmacy is becoming very saturated and people are struggling to find employment. I could see myself in a hospital setting, but even with that, they are requiring residency and even after residency with the over saturation one may not get a job. So with this, I feel that if I continue with pharmacy school I would end up in retail and i cant see myself doing that (although the money is good). I recently learned about the field of physician assistant. It seems for hands on and interactive with patients and that is what I see myself doing. It also pays wells and I feel I will not be bored as I am with pharmacy. I also heard that it is in demand and that pharmacy is not in demand anymore due to saturation. I am thinking of leaving pharmacy school and going into the PA field but since I am already in my 2nd year of pharmacy school, family and colleagues keep encouraging me to just stick it out and hope for the best when i finish. However, I know nothing is guaranteed in life, but I don't want to have end up in retail because of my qualifications or hope that i get a job in a hospital or in another aspect of pharmacy without some assurance. Also, I want to actually enjoy m job when I graduate and i feel with pharmacy i will get bored. If ANYONE has any advice on what I should do please let me know. It would really be appreciated. Thank you for your time and excuse the lengthy post.
 
OP
H
Dec 27, 2011
14
0
Status
Pharmacy Student
I want to know if pursuing a pharmacy career will be worth it at the end with the over saturation. If things will change ect. In addition I also do not see myself really practicing traditional pharmacy and based off of my retail rotation would not enjoy it. I have the PA program in mind because it is in demand and more patient interaction and I will not be bored and I feel that I will actually apply my clinical knowledge. I know the pay is less and yo do not have the title of doctor but i am still considering it. And if anyone has advice on the pharmacy field or if it is wise for me to switch to PA or any good advice I would appreciate it. Thanks.
 

Aminex

5+ Year Member
Jun 11, 2012
36
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Non-Student
Just so you know, PA schools are increasingly "on to you". The cat's out of the bag, everyone's hot for PA and competition is soaring. Unfortunately, Big Education is following suit and proliferating PA schools like pharmacy schools but there is a current "sweet spot" in the curves that pharm. seems to be on the wrong side of with each passing day. I would recommend spending a lot more time at http://www.physicianassistantforum.com and search posts by the heavyweights like rev ronin, EMEDPA, primadonna22274 (she's PA-->DO), etc. After all, I'm only a "pre" so take it for what it's worth but there's a lot to think about beyond the reasons you listed and I've learned loads lurking there (like I have here).
 

Transformer

10+ Year Member
Feb 17, 2007
877
57
Status
Pharmacist
Considering you are almost done with your 2nd year and have probably contributed 60K+ in tuition, I would most likely finish and get the PharmD. That's just me.

If you are interested in PA, I recommend you shadow a PA, weigh the PROs and CONs of being a PA, and make an informed decision on your own.

Note about job saturation: There are Hospital pharmacy jobs and residency positions available if you are willing to temporarily relocate. When you pay your dues and finish your training, you may find your way back to wherever you like to live. Good Luck!




Hello everyone,

I am stuck in this situation that brought me to sadness. I am currently a 2nd year pharmacy student and will be going into my 2nd semester of it in january. During my time in pharmacy I have come to realize that pharmacy is not for me. I had a retail rotation and I did not like it at all and I could not see myself doing it for the rest of my life. I have also learned that the field of pharmacy is becoming very saturated and people are struggling to find employment. I could see myself in a hospital setting, but even with that, they are requiring residency and even after residency with the over saturation one may not get a job. So with this, I feel that if I continue with pharmacy school I would end up in retail and i cant see myself doing that (although the money is good). I recently learned about the field of physician assistant. It seems for hands on and interactive with patients and that is what I see myself doing. It also pays wells and I feel I will not be bored as I am with pharmacy. I also heard that it is in demand and that pharmacy is not in demand anymore due to saturation. I am thinking of leaving pharmacy school and going into the PA field but since I am already in my 2nd year of pharmacy school, family and colleagues keep encouraging me to just stick it out and hope for the best when i finish. However, I know nothing is guaranteed in life, but I don't want to have end up in retail because of my qualifications or hope that i get a job in a hospital or in another aspect of pharmacy without some assurance. Also, I want to actually enjoy m job when I graduate and i feel with pharmacy i will get bored. If ANYONE has any advice on what I should do please let me know. It would really be appreciated. Thank you for your time and excuse the lengthy post.
 
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Gombrich12

5+ Year Member
Dec 4, 2013
554
600
So it sounds like you have 3-4 more years to go in pharmacy? What would be the time commitment for PA school if you dropped out right now? If it's four years or less then you may have nothing to lose. How many years of prereqs would you need? Are you even competitive enough to get into PA school?

If you're sure you want to be treating patients full time and not a pharmacist then you should immediately start contacting some of these PA programs for information. You could drop out now and be doing prereqs or whatever is needed in the next semester. You're going to be working for 30-40 years, so don't worry about losing 2 years of pharmacy school. Do what you like. Also, some people will mention your student loans, as long as they are all federal loans there is nothing to worry about. Look into PAYE/IBR http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans/pay-as-you-earn. Your loan payment will be the same whether you have 100,000 or 300,000 in loans.
 
Apr 17, 2013
127
58
Status
Pharmacist
Sounds like a no brainer to me. You already listed the reasons why pharmacy is not right for you. Grades and year of pharmacy school graduation, are the only real variables to consider.

(I would), still continue in Pharmacy school, for your upcoming semester this January 2014 (definitely continue). Also, (I would), apply today (12/22/2013), to PA school for Fall (August) 2014. If you get in, GO.
If you don't, continue in and finish pharmacy school. With a PharmD on your resume, I can't see you not being accepted into a PA program. It's a 2 year program and you'll enjoy job security, for the rest of your life. More so, than any post residency PharmD program. (In my opinion). People on this site, will jump all over the reasons why a pharmacy residency is the be all, end all. It's not and never will be. (Again, my opinion). Unfortunately, discussions are impossible, with the majority of people on this site. (Just typing that line, will garner unsolicited diatribes from people trying to rationalize their career choices in pharmacy, watch.)
PA's with their prescription writing power, will always be in demand. Schools are ramping up PA programs, but nearly as quickly as pharmacy schools are cranking out PharmD's.
Whatever becomes of it, I pray for you luck and the confidence to be an asset upon, whichever healthcare discipline you choose.
 
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OP
H
Dec 27, 2011
14
0
Status
Pharmacy Student
Considering you are almost done with your 2nd year and have probably contributed 60K+ in tuition, I would most likely finish and get the PharmD. That's just me.

If you are interested in PA, I recommend you shadow a PA, weigh the PROs and CONs of being a PA, and make an informed decision on your own.

Note about job saturation: There are Hospital pharmacy jobs and residency positions available if you are willing to temporarily relocate. When you pay your dues and finish your training, you may find your way back to wherever you like to live. Good Luck!
thank you for your encouragement. My problem is there may be jobs available in hospital settting but i hear these jobs are competitive and one needs a high gpa and plenty of leadership roles in school. I do not have a high gpa not up to a 3.0 and I am going into the IT courses next semester. So i do not know my chances of getting a hospital job or residency out of school.
 
OP
H
Dec 27, 2011
14
0
Status
Pharmacy Student
So it sounds like you have 3-4 more years to go in pharmacy? What would be the time commitment for PA school if you dropped out right now? If it's four years or less then you may have nothing to lose. How many years of prereqs would you need? Are you even competitive enough to get into PA school?

If you're sure you want to be treating patients full time and not a pharmacist then you should immediately start contacting some of these PA programs for information. You could drop out now and be doing prereqs or whatever is needed in the next semester. You're going to be working for 30-40 years, so don't worry about losing 2 years of pharmacy school. Do what you like. Also, some people will mention your student loans, as long as they are all federal loans there is nothing to worry about. Look into PAYE/IBR http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans/pay-as-you-earn. Your loan payment will be the same whether you have 100,000 or 300,000 in loans.
Well I am in my 2nd year of pharmacy school so after next semester which starts this upcoming january and ends in may. I will only have 2 more years of school left thus making me anxious as to wether i should just drop out now or not. I have all the pre reqs for pa school besides 1 or 2 and i need the volunteer experience that programs require. I just feel I am stuck. I could drop out of pharmacy school then getting into PA school may be a problem. I got into pharmacy school by the grace of God or luck so i dont know if that will happen again upon applying to PA school. If i got in, I would not start until 2015 and I would finish decemeber of 2017 (If I continued pharmacy, I would finish may 2016) because the application deadline for 2014 admission has already passed.
 

Transformer

10+ Year Member
Feb 17, 2007
877
57
Status
Pharmacist
Try to obtain an intern pharmacist job at your local hospital. If no position is available, and you really want a hospital position, consider volunteering. And when an intern position opens up, they may give it to you if you've proven to be hard working and reliable.

FYI: Depending on the residency program, you will need to raise your GPA to at least a 3.2+ for an residency interview invite plus strong LOR, CV, LOI, etc. (Top programs may have a higher GPA cutoff)

thank you for your encouragement. My problem is there may be jobs available in hospital settting but i hear these jobs are competitive and one needs a high gpa and plenty of leadership roles in school. I do not have a high gpa not up to a 3.0 and I am going into the IT courses next semester. So i do not know my chances of getting a hospital job or residency out of school.
 
OP
H
Dec 27, 2011
14
0
Status
Pharmacy Student
Try to obtain an intern pharmacist job at your local hospital. If no position is available, and you really want a hospital position, consider volunteering. And when an intern position opens up, they may give it to you if you've proven to be hard working and reliable.

FYI: Depending on the residency program, you will need to raise your GPA to at least a 3.2+ for an residency interview invite plus strong LOR, CV, LOI, etc. (Top programs may have a higher GPA cutoff)
I hope I can raise my gpa up to that because it has been difficult for me to maintain a decent GPA. So if I dont have that GPA upon graduation that basically means I can't obtain a hospital job? and also is residency absolutely necessary to obtain a hospital job after graduation. I mean not a hospital outpatient job. I am referring to the hospital pharmacist job in which the pharmacist does not deal directly with the public, the ones that review patient charts, also help with IVs I am not sure if they are necessarily clinical pharmacist because not all of them do rounds. I wanted to know if one could obtain that position straight out of pharmacy school without a residency.
 
Oct 27, 2013
56
27
Status
Pharmacist
thank you for your encouragement. My problem is there may be jobs available in hospital settting but i hear these jobs are competitive and one needs a high gpa and plenty of leadership roles in school. I do not have a high gpa not up to a 3.0 and I am going into the IT courses next semester. So i do not know my chances of getting a hospital job or residency out of school.

Honestly, with the saturation, high GPAs/leadership roles (school-based) won't guarantee much b/c you as you are seeing, many Pharm.D.s all have those stellar credentials. Yes, these things are good for a residency, but in all honesty I would aim for staff hospital, make as many connections as possible and work your way up. Residency is just a "fast-track" into management/consultant gigs (which are your "dream" pharmacy jobs....

As supply greatly outweighs demand, merit is thrown out the window. It will boil down to "who you know" rather than "what you know".

Well I am in my 2nd year of pharmacy school so after next semester which starts this upcoming january and ends in may. I will only have 2 more years of school left thus making me anxious as to wether i should just drop out now or not. I have all the pre reqs for pa school besides 1 or 2 and i need the volunteer experience that programs require. I just feel I am stuck. I could drop out of pharmacy school then getting into PA school may be a problem. I got into pharmacy school by the grace of God or luck so i dont know if that will happen again upon applying to PA school. If i got in, I would not start until 2015 and I would finish decemeber of 2017 (If I continued pharmacy, I would finish may 2016) because the application deadline for 2014 admission has already passed.
Most of the allied health professions can do more than a pharmacist (diagnose, prescribe, and administer). If you can stand the sights/smells of: blood, pus, feces, urine, vomit, bone (don't ask), various vessels, and other bodily fluids/anatomy of people other than yourself, then by all means.....apply. But do your research first with regards to job prospects according to geographical areas....... Also, there are waaaay more loan repayment programs for PAs than for pharmacists.
 
OP
H
Dec 27, 2011
14
0
Status
Pharmacy Student
I hope I can raise my gpa up to that because it has been difficult for me to maintain a decent GPA. So if I dont have that GPA upon graduation that basically means I can't obtain a hospital job? and also is residency absolutely necessary to obtain a hospital job after graduation. I mean not a hospital outpatient job. I am referring to the hospital pharmacist job in which the pharmacist does not deal directly with the public, the ones that review patient charts, also help with IVs I am not sure if they are necessarily clinical pharmacist because not all of them do rounds. I wanted to know if one could obtain that position straight out of pharmacy school without a residency.
so basically I can get a staff pharmacist job right out of pharmacy school based on who I know and residency not needed? by staff pharmacist i mean I would like to work inpatient, not outpatient as that is compared to retail.
 
Oct 27, 2013
56
27
Status
Pharmacist
so basically I can get a staff pharmacist job right out of pharmacy school based on who I know and residency not needed? by staff pharmacist i mean I would like to work inpatient, not outpatient as that is compared to retail.

The people from my class (that I know of) who got into inpatient staff (I think it was just a handful), didn't do residency BUT had good connections. So, yes a new graduate can get into inpatient as a staff pharmacist (BUT YOU NEED TO HAVE A GOOD CONNECT). B/C of the saturation, many new grads are fleeing the human blender sector of retail. And b/c this is taking place, many many more people are applying to hospital. 1 staff position can easily generate 130+ applications for that ONE position.

Don't knock outpatient - you can use outpatient to get your foot in the door for inpatient if all else fails. Besides, I find outpatient to be the best of both worlds of retail/inpatient. That's just me though.....
 

Pharmpills

Accepted Pharmacy Student
10+ Year Member
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Oct 26, 2007
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i strongly feel your pain bc i am in retail and don't like it. here's the best advice i can give you. stick thru it and finish bc if you go down PA road you will add yearss to graduating and a ton of debt to your life. PA is no walk in the park and have a lot of liability. you can work part time as a pharmacist and be content if you work retail.
 

VCU07

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Thank you for sharing that moolman. Great read.
Please note, PA schools will not look favorably on someone that has dropped out of a professional program. If you leave, you better have a damn good reason if you are granted an interview for PA school. It's two more years...finish pharm school then get your PA...it's an extra two and a half years. This all depends on your financial and personal situation of course.
 
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