7+ Year Member
Jan 8, 2010
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student

Looking for some help or advice. I got my PharmD in NY, but moved to the Bay Area afterward. I didn't get my license right away because I got a position for which I didn't need to be licensed and I thought I was going to continue that career route (industry, etc.). I ended up getting laid off.

I took a pharmacy tech position with CVS while waiting for my Cali Intern permit, with the promise of being made intern once I got it. I got it within a couple of weeks and then waited for a few months while the system/my position/pay rate were being "updated". That never happened and I was told that CVS policy is not to have grad interns once they have been out of school for more than a year and my only options were to continue working as a tech, with that pay rate, until I am licensed as a pharmacist or leave and come back when I am licensed.

I left for Walgreens, who didn't have such a 1-year rule and got an intern position, I stayed there for 1.5 months and left for personal reasons.

I've been away from the pharmacy world for almost a year now starting some random positions. I've passed the NAPLEX, but failed the CPJE. I'm authorized to retake, but am having a tough time getting motivated seeing my options for what I could do with it (saturation in the bay area, bad experiences).

What other options are there for me as a grad intern a few years out of school? I don't think I could/would want to return to Walgreens. Would consider CVS, but still need to get licensed for that and would just get thrown right in as a pharmacist with a lot of "retail rustiness". Anyone have experience or know what it looks like with Safeway, Rite Aid, Costco, hospitals, others? As far as I can tell, there are no grad intern positions available. How competitive are academia jobs now, following residencies or fellowships?

I think I may want to get into the industry, but don't really have any connections or know a good place to start. Also, I'm more interested in things like marketing, sales, medical communications, project/product management, consulting. Any advice in these areas?

I'm also at a point where I am pretty much open to anything, as long it has long term growth potential. Thank you for reading and for any comments or advice from you guys.


10+ Year Member
May 26, 2009
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
No. Stop applying to be techs and hoping they'll give you a break. You need to get real with yourself and pass the law exam and get licensed. That should be your number 1 priority right now. The saturation and all the other bs stuff that you claim can come after this first critical step. If you keep applying to these companies and leaving everyone with a bad taste, you will run out of options quickly.

If you're not willing to do that then I think you're stuck doing whatever jobs that don't need license obviously.


Opinions are my own
15+ Year Member
Aug 23, 2005
If you are a US citizen, have you considered going into government? There are project management jobs at FDA that you might qualify for. Although a pharmacist license isn't required for PM jobs, it will still help and look good on your resume, so it's a good idea to focus on getting licensed first. Most PM jobs with FDA are in Silver Spring, MD, so you'd have to be willing to move across the country (and pay for relocation yourself). FDA (and other HHS agencies such as CMS) has limited positions in the Bay Area that you might qualify for as well (most FDA jobs in the Bay Area are CSO/inspection type jobs). If you decide to explore government jobs, expect it to take several months to over a year to actually start the job, depending on how you go about it (submitting applications to usajobs.gov usually takes the longest, calling up someone you know personally who is connected with the hiring official for a direct hire position usually takes the shortest amount of time, but still on the scale of a few months).

And if you are open to pretty much anything, you could always join the military (as a non-pharmacist; you need a license to commission as a pharmacy officer), assuming you have no disqualifying medical conditions.
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