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Doctor vs. Pharmacist (Choice!)

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worriedperiod

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Bear with me, I may sound extremely delusional and stupid.
I have to pick between going to a 6yr PharmD program at a nearby college and going to Johns Hopkins University. If I go to Hopkins, I'll be premed (bio) I'm not obsessed with prestige.

My choice is basically between becoming a doctor and becoming a Pharmacist. Unless there are other secure, well-paying jobs you know of. I really had to search deeply to answer this question for myself.

My material & personal goals in life are as follows:
(1) a small decent house in a nice neighborhood.
(2) a car; I don't care about getting a BMW or Mercedes, I'd rather get a Toyota considering the fact that after 20 days owning either a Toyota or BMW, I'd feel the same.
(3) financial security: money-in-the bank, well-paying secure job, being able to retire safely, etc.
(4) satisfying personal life with family and friends
(5) decent job that does not interfere with your personal life
(6) I'm really not that materialistic, I don't want mansions, jewels, $1000 clothes, etc. I'm not a big spender, but I like investing money (stocks) and knowing that I have money when the need arises

If I go to the 6yr PharmD Program:
- I'll graduate by the time I'm 24
- I'll have a life and I won't be dead on the inside
- the PharmD program will be difficult, but I'll make it through
- I'll be interning in a pharmacy while in pharmacy school, making $14/hr, etc.
- I'll most probably have achieved the aforementioned goals by the time I'm 28 (correct me if I'm wrong) considering I'd be getting paid about 100k/yr, I ran the calculations
wink.gif

- life shouldn't be too difficult and I think I can count on not losing my job

If I go to Hopkins and attempt to become a doctor:
- will become a doctor when I'm 30-34 (depending on specialty)
- **** loads of debt
- dead on the inside
- EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to get into medschool, painful residency, don't know If I can make it through
- If I'm lucky, I'll make $350k+ and be able to pay of my debt and achieve the aforementioned goals
- work/personal life balance will be horrible; won't be able to pay attention to kids/wife/etc.
- will have to put my personal life behind and probably won't have kids until
my late 30s

I know what you're thinking, doesn't he care about helping people as a doctor or pharmacist?
They're noble professions that include mutual benefit of the highest order. What I mean is: the patient and doctor/pharmacist both benefit from the exchange of medicine for money.
I don't think most premeds/meds/residents who go to sleep at 2AM after studying tell themselves that they are doing this ONLY to help others. Determination, prestige, self-worth, and money together play bigger roles than simply helping others. There's a huge difference between saying you care about people and actually caring about people. Bottom-line: even if I became a doctor, I would do my job honestly and help my patients.
Helping others is a factor but not the main factor. I see it as a byproduct of a profession, not the chief intent of the majority entering the field.
Doctors are also not getting compensated as well as they used to and that is, statistically, their biggest complaint about the profession (HMOs and malpractice). I could argue about this forever but I'm open minded enough to consider all sides and understand others.
If helping other people as a doctor means sacrificing my personal life, 20s, bad hours, and not getting compensated properly after that, then I'm not interested. Also, doctors report 32% job satisfaction and about 75% say they would not encourage their children to become doctors.

I'm also worried about the future of these professions:
- will doctors begin to have better lives and compensation in the future due to some much-need national health care reform?
- will the pharmacy job market fall out of favor?

As for my own dimensions:
My personal interests: they fluctuate among many things every year, like finance, politics, history, research, etc.
However, I do lean towards the sciences.
My academics:
2010 SAT (700M, 660CR, 650W)
800s and 5s in Chem/Bio/PhysicsB
Moderate ranking and GPA.
I can be hardworking when needed and I don't really NEED to party/have fun.
However, I am susceptible to burnout and laziness; my GPA and SATs, which I did not study at all for, show this fact.

I understand that my science scores (800s and 5s in Chem/Bio/PhysicsB) are probably the norm for med school acceptances? (Yes, I know you take the MCATs)

I'm basically looking for a secure, well-paying job that does not entail sacrificing entire parts of your life and that is why I will probably pick the 6 year Pharmacy Program over Hopkins unless you guys know of any other job market with the same potential that I could enter?

I know that things like Radiology, Opthalmology, Anesthesiology, and Dermatology (ROAD to success) pay a lot and give you flexible hours but do they not have the most grueling competition?
Also, I'm trying to gauge myself among med school applicants and I understand that my science scores (800s and 5s in Chem/Bio/PhysicsB) are probably the norm for med school acceptances? (Yes, I know you take the MCATs)

Again, bear with me. An year ago, I did not anticipate this choice to be the problem it is.
 

MilkmanAl

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Well, this is really just a personal decision. If you're torn, go to Hopkins and decide after yougraduate. You can always go to pharm school, and that would only tack a year onto that 6-year program you're talking about.

After working in a pharmacy for a few years, I can tell you that I would never, ever want to be a pharmacist. The work is extremely interesting, but your choices of employment as I see them are 1) work in retail and be under constant pressure from the corporate types in charge of you who have absolutely no idea at all how a pharmacy works (seriously, it's like Office Space but in real life) or 2) work in a hospital and bust your *** all the time.
 

Mobius1985

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You've convinced me that you would rather be a pharmacist. Don't do something that would make you 'dead on the inside'.
 

sunny1

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If I go to the 6yr PharmD Program:
- I'll graduate by the time I'm 24
- I'll have a life and I won't be dead on the inside
- the PharmD program will be difficult, but I'll make it through
- I'll be interning in a pharmacy while in pharmacy school, making $14/hr, etc.
- I'll most probably have achieved the aforementioned goals by the time I'm 28 (correct me if I'm wrong) considering I'd be getting paid about 100k/yr, I ran the calculations
wink.gif

- life shouldn't be too difficult and I think I can count on not losing my job

If I go to Hopkins and attempt to become a doctor:
- will become a doctor when I'm 30-34 (depending on specialty)
- **** loads of debt
- dead on the inside
- EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to get into medschool, painful residency, don't know If I can make it through
- If I'm lucky, I'll make $350k+ and be able to pay of my debt and achieve the aforementioned goals
- work/personal life balance will be horrible; won't be able to pay attention to kids/wife/etc.
- will have to put my personal life behind and probably won't have kids until
my late 30s

I'm basically looking for a secure, well-paying job that does not entail sacrificing entire parts of your life and that is why I will probably pick the 6 year Pharmacy Program over Hopkins unless you guys know of any other job market with the same potential that I could enter?

First of all, I don't think pharmacy as a field is doing to die out. Ever.

Secondly, let your own words guide you. Right now, you present the medicine option as "dead inside." You're letting presumed wages of a premium specialty tantalize you (overblown salary expectations). The work/life balance is a challenge but doable. So yeah, you're making some incorrect assumptions. However, perhaps that's because your heart and mind are truly saying medicine is not for you.

I have a friend who did the 6 yr PharmD program and she's happy. There are many job opportunities and she did some cool internships. Right now she works in research. So I would add research and pharm companies to the list of job opps the other person posted. She's one of those lucky people who just always knew even from high school what she wanted to do with her life.* My husband was the same way. It took me much longer to figure out my own professional goals personally, and they changed a lot along the way.

You don't mention where the PharmD program is -- is there a possibility that if you get in the program and if you decide you don't like it that you could change majors? Or, is there a school you've been accepted to that lets people apply to their pharmacy program after a year or two in college?

I think you should read around on some pharmacy forums or talk to other PharmD students. Explore how binding the 6 year program is. Look into the pharmacy programs at other colleges that accepted you. Do they let you enter later?

Nothing in your post indicates to me that you have a true interest in medicine. Of course, a few years from now (heck, maybe even after completing your PharmD degree), you might feel differently. Just know that if you have a strong interest in medicine then, there's nothing stopping you from pursuing it at that point. You don't have to be a 20 year old undergrad student to apply to med school. But you sure as heck should know if you want it. You're still in high school and you don't have enough information to make this decision. I'd also recommend talking to some students, especially premeds, at JHU to see how they like the school as an undergrad.

*Of course she recently told me she hopes to marry soon and then be a stay-at-home mom for a while. I guess if you had a scholarship to get your degree and your husband makes enough money, then you have options like that available to you without overbearing school debt.
 

worriedperiod

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Yeah, then I'll probably pick Pharmacy considering how 15 yrs of grueling education after high school is just not worth it for the ending payoff. Like I said, I really don't want a $10 million house and I want basic financial security with a satisfying personal life.
Thanks guys...do you know of any other well-paying job with a guaranteed return for hard work (like Pharmacy)?
 

Chemist0157

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    You really sound like you want to be a pharmacist when you list things about each decision.

    I don't know if you meant to do so, but your post does have that tone.
     
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    Go to Hopkins, and find out what you really want to do. You can always go to pharm school after undergrad, if thats what you still want to do. I would try not to make career decisions as a 18 year-old high school student.
     

    Bacchus

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    If that Pharmacy school is USP (since its one of the few non-PCAT requiring, direct entry schools left in the country) I'd go there ;). You could always be "pre-med" at USP.
     

    ninjapenguin

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    Pharmacy. It may be repetitive and boring but you'll be able to enjoy your free time more than any doctor.
     

    scattun

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    If I go to Hopkins and attempt to become a doctor:
    - will become a doctor when I'm 30-34 (depending on specialty)
    - **** loads of debt
    - dead on the inside
    - EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to get into medschool, painful residency, don't know If I can make it through
    - If I'm lucky, I'll make $350k+ and be able to pay of my debt and achieve the aforementioned goals
    - work/personal life balance will be horrible; won't be able to pay attention to kids/wife/etc.
    - will have to put my personal life behind and probably won't have kids until
    my late 30s

    Um, I'm not really seeing any positives in your list of "Things that will happen if I go to Hopkins." Unless of course you count the money, but is that one positive worth the six negative you have listed?
     

    DocPsychosis

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    Have you considered not going to an expensive private school? Good state universities offer a comparable education at a much lesser cost. They are also quicker to offer scholarships. I went to TAMU, and am doing as well as or better than most of my medical school peers now despite having no previous debt and having not drained my parents dry. That would fix the debt part of your equation, at least.
     

    tomtom101

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    To the OP, I am currently making the same decision you are. I am in my 2nd year of a 6 year pharm program and I am also taking premed classes. I have a serious interest in helping people and don't mind putting in the hard work in going to medical school, but I also want to be able to spend time with my family and make a great income which is what pharmacy can provide. I just would hate to pick one career over the other and realize that I made a huge mistake later.
     

    pinkblue

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    - dead on the inside

    ..a little dramatic. lol
    Why would an intelligent person like you consider a career that you think would make you "Dead on the inside"? Do something you can be happy doing for the next four decades of your life.
     

    GatorMD60

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    I think your biggest problem is that you think you can make an accuate decision about what you want to do with the rest of your life, while you are still in HS. That is stupid. I would suggest going to hopkins and investigating. Take some extra classes and see what you love. I never would have guessed that I would fall in love with medicine. I was an engineering student and was 100% sure I was where I wanted to be. A LOT of my friends have switched out of premed, not because of the difficultly, but because they found something else. One of my roommates is in Pharm school and is going to apply to med school when she graduates because she has changed her mind, but she is too invested to get out now. So, take your time. There is no rush. 30 is young and you will have the rest of your life to enjoy your job or you could get out at 24 and hate or be complacent with your job. I think finding what you truely LOVE and then finding a way to get paid to do it, is what you need to aim for. You are too young to make a life decision. Take time and be a college student. Stop rushing yourself into the real world... its over-rated.
     

    fastnfurious

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    the people who rush into things blindly are the ones who usually end up switching careers later, thus actually wasting time. so my suggestion is to just take your time while your are in college and figure it out.

    Start to do some shadowing b/c this is the only way to see what a professional does. And just a reminder, reading a job description online can give you false impressions ;), so don't base your career decision off that .. . good luck!
     

    paranoid_eyes

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    go into medicine. it's just so much more fun than pharmacy...
     

    LucidSplash

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    From the tone of your post, I say you've basically already made up your mind. Do the Pharm program. If the worst possible outcome is that end up deciding you want to do medical school, you'd have a PhamD under your belt and will DESTROY the heavy pharm component to 2nd year.

    I have a friend who is a pharmacist. He went to pharm school after not getting into medical school and describes not getting into medical school as "the best thing that ever happened to him." He works like crazy (has no family really right now) but he has a decent house, car, and his fishing boat (a priority for him, but obviously that's because that's his interest). I think you could be happy in pharmacy and based on what you've written I think pharmacy is the better choice.

    However, the important thing to remember is that just because you'll get a degree in Pharm does NOT mean that you're locked into that career forever. MANY people take a gap year or more off between UG and med school and if you decide you want to do med school when you're through with pharm, you'll probably have most of the prereqs done anyway. Best of luck and take care.
     

    Ella Shepherd

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    Bear with me, I may sound extremely delusional and stupid.
    I have to pick between going to a 6yr PharmD program at a nearby college and going to Johns Hopkins University. If I go to Hopkins, I'll be premed (bio) I'm not obsessed with prestige.

    My choice is basically between becoming a doctor and becoming a Pharmacist. Unless there are other secure, well-paying jobs you know of. I really had to search deeply to answer this question for myself.

    My material & personal goals in life are as follows:
    (1) a small decent house in a nice neighborhood.
    (2) a car; I don't care about getting a BMW or Mercedes, I'd rather get a Toyota considering the fact that after 20 days owning either a Toyota or BMW, I'd feel the same.
    (3) financial security: money-in-the bank, well-paying secure job, being able to retire safely, etc.
    (4) satisfying personal life with family and friends
    (5) decent job that does not interfere with your personal life
    (6) I'm really not that materialistic, I don't want mansions, jewels, $1000 clothes, etc. I'm not a big spender, but I like investing money (stocks) and knowing that I have money when the need arises

    If I go to the 6yr PharmD Program:
    - I'll graduate by the time I'm 24
    - I'll have a life and I won't be dead on the inside
    - the PharmD program will be difficult, but I'll make it through
    - I'll be interning in a pharmacy while in pharmacy school, making $14/hr, etc.
    - I'll most probably have achieved the aforementioned goals by the time I'm 28 (correct me if I'm wrong) considering I'd be getting paid about 100k/yr, I ran the calculations
    wink.gif

    - life shouldn't be too difficult and I think I can count on not losing my job

    If I go to Hopkins and attempt to become a doctor:
    - will become a doctor when I'm 30-34 (depending on specialty)
    - **** loads of debt
    - dead on the inside
    - EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to get into medschool, painful residency, don't know If I can make it through
    - If I'm lucky, I'll make $350k+ and be able to pay of my debt and achieve the aforementioned goals
    - work/personal life balance will be horrible; won't be able to pay attention to kids/wife/etc.
    - will have to put my personal life behind and probably won't have kids until
    my late 30s

    I know what you're thinking, doesn't he care about helping people as a doctor or pharmacist?
    They're noble professions that include mutual benefit of the highest order. What I mean is: the patient and doctor/pharmacist both benefit from the exchange of medicine for money.
    I don't think most premeds/meds/residents who go to sleep at 2AM after studying tell themselves that they are doing this ONLY to help others. Determination, prestige, self-worth, and money together play bigger roles than simply helping others. There's a huge difference between saying you care about people and actually caring about people. Bottom-line: even if I became a doctor, I would do my job honestly and help my patients.
    Helping others is a factor but not the main factor. I see it as a byproduct of a profession, not the chief intent of the majority entering the field.
    Doctors are also not getting compensated as well as they used to and that is, statistically, their biggest complaint about the profession (HMOs and malpractice). I could argue about this forever but I'm open minded enough to consider all sides and understand others.
    If helping other people as a doctor means sacrificing my personal life, 20s, bad hours, and not getting compensated properly after that, then I'm not interested. Also, doctors report 32% job satisfaction and about 75% say they would not encourage their children to become doctors.

    I'm also worried about the future of these professions:
    - will doctors begin to have better lives and compensation in the future due to some much-need national health care reform?
    - will the pharmacy job market fall out of favor?

    As for my own dimensions:
    My personal interests: they fluctuate among many things every year, like finance, politics, history, research, etc.
    However, I do lean towards the sciences.
    My academics:
    2010 SAT (700M, 660CR, 650W)
    800s and 5s in Chem/Bio/PhysicsB
    Moderate ranking and GPA.
    I can be hardworking when needed and I don't really NEED to party/have fun.
    However, I am susceptible to burnout and laziness; my GPA and SATs, which I did not study at all for, show this fact.

    I understand that my science scores (800s and 5s in Chem/Bio/PhysicsB) are probably the norm for med school acceptances? (Yes, I know you take the MCATs)

    I'm basically looking for a secure, well-paying job that does not entail sacrificing entire parts of your life and that is why I will probably pick the 6 year Pharmacy Program over Hopkins unless you guys know of any other job market with the same potential that I could enter?

    I know that things like Radiology, Opthalmology, Anesthesiology, and Dermatology (ROAD to success) pay a lot and give you flexible hours but do they not have the most grueling competition?
    Also, I'm trying to gauge myself among med school applicants and I understand that my science scores (800s and 5s in Chem/Bio/PhysicsB) are probably the norm for med school acceptances? (Yes, I know you take the MCATs)

    Again, bear with me. An year ago, I did not anticipate this choice to be the problem it is.

    I can see that you prefer pharmacy over medicine, so go with that. :) Being a doctor will most probably interrupt your personal life in the ways you don't want.

    Speaking of Radiology...a friend of mine is going to be taking Radiology soon for college. She says it'll be her pre-med degree. You could take that, too if you still can, even without proceeding to med school after that. Just a thought. :)
     

    chudog15

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    wtf does 'dead on the inside' mean?
     

    sunny1

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    Yeah, then I'll probably pick Pharmacy considering how 15 yrs of grueling education after high school is just not worth it for the ending payoff. Like I said, I really don't want a $10 million house and I want basic financial security with a satisfying personal life.
    Thanks guys...do you know of any other well-paying job with a guaranteed return for hard work (like Pharmacy)?

    The ending payoff still would not give you the ability to purchase a $10 million house. I assume you were exaggerating. Even a $1 million house would have been exaggerating if we're talking about a one-income household.

    What's your definition of well-paying? You seem extremely preoccupied with salaries for a high schooler. Is this the only reason you're thinking about Pharmacy??

    Basically, the beauty of many college degrees is that you are the limiting factor, not your degree. Meaning you can major in a variety of things and still be desirable to employers so long as you have transferable skills proven through activities like meaningful employment during college, interesting internships, or leadership roles, etc. Some majors will give you more direct, applied skills than others depending on what kind of job you might be interested in.

    You mentioned finance early on. And you're obviously interested in money, lol. Have you considered a business major? But if you don't know what you're really interested in...then perhaps take the first year of college to look around. Heck, many people don't even finish college knowing what they'll do forever.
     

    jwtaylor

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    i have to seriously advise you to not make your mind up about this issue yet. you could enter school and take a class (humanities, social sciences etc.) and completely change your mind. if you're worried about wasting time, here's the ultimate waste of time: going to an excellent school and not taking as many interesting classes as you possibly can. college should be an educational experience...not exclusively technical training. i entered school as a neuroscience major, changed to psychology, and now im a philosophy major. i'm taking whatever classes i want. if you want to go to medical school then take the pre-reqs, but leave room for other things. shadow some pharmacists and some physicians during your first year, or even this summer. keep a WIDE open mind. in deciding between medicine and pharmacy there is some overlap in the first year as far as what courses will further the educational requirements of both (i.e. bio, chem, physics etc.). if bio is what truly interests you then go ape-****! take as many bio classes as you can and live it up. however, if you see a bio major only as a means to an end then you will be a miserable undergrad. a miserable undergrad will more often than not translate into subpar grades. and you know how pharmacy and med schools view applications from miserable undergraduates? from the waste bin.

    keep an open mind, read some great books, learn a damn language - just stay interested in what you're doing. there are other careers besides med and pharm. with as much job security and potentially better pay. put your heart into it, or the only thing you'll be doing with your toyota is driving it off of a bridge. don't feel pressured into making one single decision before you've even started school. that's just silly and unnecessary.

    and just a general tip about life: i see so many freshman entering school with their lives all planned out. AFTER this semester they'll finally be happy, then AFTER they graduate they'll finally be happy, then AFTER med school they'll finally be happy, then AFTER residency they'll finally be happy, finally AFTER retirement they'll be happy. retire on friday, die on saturday (tombstone reading: here lies John Doe, hope he's happy now). so here's an idea: blow your own mind and enjoy the journey comrade. trust me, you'll get to where you want to be (just don't be afraid to take the time to figure out exactly where that is).
     

    WildlifeSaver

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    Do you know what pharmacy is all about? Do you know what medicine is about? Are you undecided? Here is me I have been very undecided for what I want, so I am trying to answer questions to myself to figure it out. Your so young and you shouldn't make such a drastic decision now unless you are 100% sure with yourself. Giving up an opportunity in an undergrad like Hopkins I would not give it up. Enjoy all the aspects of everything, you won't regret it.

    Also just to let you know if you are going into pharmacy to be a pharmacist its more of a job then a career. Now if it was a pharmacologist or medical scientist blah blah then that is different. Medicine is more of a career because you can do so much more with it and continue down so many paths. I am a pharmacy tech and I will tell you I put that on my list as third backup choice to a career (pharmacist), but now I would never be a pharmacist now seeing what I do (I am in retail). Pharmacist also agree with me that it is a job more. I talked to so many different pharmacist in South Jersey because we have floaters on a day I work. Many are not really happy they choose this. Many give answer like "its okay..", rarely when I ask them about it they say they "love it". So just expose yourself and make is widely in all areas of interest.
     

    mongrel

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    Since you like to have people tell you what to do, pharmacy might be a good fit for your personality.

    lol

    But I agree with the remarks on not making a definite career decision right out of high school. I know a couple people who went into a 6-yr pharmacy program straight from high school and who are now rethinking (wishing they were in med school or something altogether different). At least, I hope you've been working in a pharmacy and shadowing doctors during high school to know a little more about each profession. "Dead on the inside" is a pretty strong opinion to stamp on entire career-- especially coming from a high schooler.
     

    SaveThisLabRat

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    Dude, if you're going to be "dead on the inside", I'd suggest you do something else.
     

    JAMHO11

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    personally, i would definitely not want to be a pharmacist. I've been a pharm tech for a year now and i always dread stepping into that pharmacy. Of course a pharmacist pay check would give me a little more motivation, but the young pharmacists ive worked with always say they cant believe they went to school for that long to still have to deal with all the bulls**t of retail and b***ching patients. The upside would be the hours (def. depending on the pharmacy) and the amount of time off. But when you think about it, if the only good thing about a job is not having to be there that much, it is worth the time that you do have to be there? just my opinion.
     

    DeadCactus

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    Personally, I think you just wrote a small essay asking strangers who don't give a damn about you to make an important life decision. In addition, rather than just defer to the general wisdom of the masses, which you've already declared far more competent at choosing a career for you than you yourself are, you decided to make the only options two of the single most unimaginative careers possible. It's as if you flipped open a kindergarten book on "What do people do?" and picked the first two cartoon characters wearing a wristwatch as your career options.

    I guess what I'm getting at is, it doesn't matter what we think you should do. If this decision is beyond your means, you'll find some way to everything up...
     

    WildlifeSaver

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    personally, i would definitely not want to be a pharmacist. I've been a pharm tech for a year now and i always dread stepping into that pharmacy. Of course a pharmacist pay check would give me a little more motivation, but the young pharmacists ive worked with always say they cant believe they went to school for that long to still have to deal with all the bulls**t of retail and b***ching patients. The upside would be the hours (def. depending on the pharmacy) and the amount of time off. But when you think about it, if the only good thing about a job is not having to be there that much, it is worth the time that you do have to be there? just my opinion.
    I see how we agree:D
     

    ChubbyChaser

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    Umm, why not just pick the school you like the most??? Dont go into college with a one track mind. Be willing to explore other fields. If you go to hopkins you can still do Pharmacy in 6 years, I am pretty sure atleast.

    O one more thing. Getting into medical school may be more difficult, but Pharmacy school is no joke either. Im not sure about most schools, but I know the one im at has 2000+ applicants for 100 spots.

    You also dont have to go into retail Pharmacy there are other options.
     

    nu2004

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    worriedperiod said:
    If I go to Hopkins and attempt to become a doctor:
    - dead on the inside
    - work/personal life balance will be horrible; won't be able to pay attention to kids/wife/etc.
    - will have to put my personal life behind and probably won't have kids until
    my late 30s
    and your source for this is... ?

    worriedperiod said:
    Bear with me, I may sound extremely delusional and stupid

    bingo.
     

    fungikid

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    Give the OP a break. He's just going through a hard time making one of the biggest decisions of his life. I know that as choosing a university/program is a daunting task for a high schooler. I don't think he wants people to TELL him what to do, but rather make comments on the progress he has made so far on making the decision.

    Pharmacy is not as bad as some make it out to be. There are people who are dissatisfied with their work in every profession. I know medical students and physicians who regret going to medical school, only to find that their only way out of their massive debts was to graduate and start their residency to make some dough. Of course, there are pharmacists who wish they'd gone to medical school. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Both of my high school biology teacher's parents were physicians and he personally went through two years of medical school before dropping out and pursuing a career in teaching. He told me that as a doctor, you make a lot of money, but you don't get a lot of free time to spend that money. So you really need to like what you do at work, because most of your time will be dedicated to it.

    Pharmacy CAN be a career and not just a job. You can work your way up to managerial positions, or specialize in an area like cardiology and work in a hospital. Both medicine and pharmacy are honorable careers and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Shadow a physician and a pharmacist and get a feel of which profession is right for you. Good luck with your decision!
     

    Snake Doctor

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    I was face with this exact decision a few years ago, albeit different schools but very parallel.

    The great thing about going to JHU is that you can truly decide what you really want to do. However, a word of caution... you may end up quite confused. You may be pre-med one day, pre-law another day... who knows? That uncertainty is also the beauty of it. To top it off, there is a lot of pressure to do well because you basically gave up your seat at the school of pharmacy. At least for me, it would be quite embarrassing if I don't end up at the same level of pharmacy.
    Honestly, I say go with the pharmacy because you have less uncertainty. There is no guarantee that you will be at the top of your class at JHU. If you end up struggling at JHU, it'll be one of the worst decision you made in your life because you'll end up not even making close to the salary of a pharmacist. With that said, it all depends on whether you find pharmacy to be enjoyable. As you age, you'll realize that there are other priorities in life, especially if you have a significant other because you would definitely want to settle down asap, buy her (or him) a nice ring, purchase a new car... etc but most importantly lifestyle. Believe me on this, life style will matter once you start realizing reality. When I was in your position, I said what the hell and forgo my seat at the school of pharmacy because I was all caught up with the whole prestige crap. After all, medicine is at least 7 years AFTER undergrad. before you start making the good money. Otherwise, you'll be moonlighting just to survive. It's a long journey with a lot of uncertainty. Luckily for me, I am now interested in medicine for the right reasons (not because it was prestigious, for example), especially since you are given the opportunity to learn and know world class researchers, and it turns out that I made a great decision, personally. As for you, carefully reassess your priorities in life. My best advice is to shadow some doctors and pharmacists before the deadline to make your decision as well as talk to these professionals in a variety of specialties (pharmacy has many specialties as well). Good luck! PM me if you have any questions. This is not an easy decision and will be one of the biggest decisions you will ever make.
     

    drcoxer

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    dude, screw pharmacy.

    you can be a doctor, but a dentist or orthodontist. you get easy hours, just as easy as pharmacy and you make BANK
     

    atomi

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    Again, bear with me. An year ago, I did not anticipate this choice to be the problem it is.

    So essentially in that big, long post you're saying you want to make a lot of money without doing a lot of work.

    I would chose chiropractor school over medical school for that.

    But there's really only one answer here: Real Estate commissions. And you don't even have to go to school.
     

    atomi

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    Thanks guys...do you know of any other well-paying job with a guaranteed return for hard work (like Pharmacy)?

    There is no such thing as a guaranteed return for hard work. You completely misunderstand the concept of risk vs. reward. If you want stability in your job, you sacrifice earning potential. If you want that $10million dollar house (which you do, you just feel ashamed about admitting it), then you will have to take on serious risks. A specialist physician is one of probably 5 professions in the world where you can still become wealthy by "working for the man" (i.e., someone paying you a salary). The others that come to mind are:

    1. Law firm senior associate
    2. Major airline captain
    3. Corporate VP
    4. Consultant

    Every one of these professionals are still paid by someone to do a job (the same exact way the guy at taco bell is paid by somebody to do a job), but it's a very high salary and they assume serious risks and are willing to compromise other things to get to their position.

    The more common and traditional way of becoming wealthy involves taking even bigger risks. These are people who are willing to lose it all and put their life and soul into their business investments (whether real estate, sales, equities, private partnerships, proprietorships, and even scams for the morally compromised). You can enter into this realm from any walk of life -- whether it's a doctor opening up his own private practice and expanding it as it grows or whether it's an engineer starting his own consulting firm, or a former homemaker turned real-estate broker now seeking investors for a development, etc.

    And then there's the old-fashioned way of becoming wealthy: inheriting the money. This is what most people think of when they think of riches, aka the good life. Unless you were born into this lifestyle, it is extremely unlikely that you will ever live it, no matter how wealthy you become through the previous methods. Not until retirement anyway.

    The point is, there is a 99.9% chance you're going to spend the rest of your life working for the man. So pick something you enjoy. A $120k pharmacist salary vs. a $80k college professor salary isn't going to make a bit of difference if you hate pharmacy and really wanted to teach students. Trying to get wealthy by working for the man and comparing salaries is a waste of time and a trap gifted young kids always fall into - "oh, I HAVE to become a doctor or lawyer so I can be rich." If you want to be a doctor, fine, but just realize you'll still be earning a salary (unless you go out own your own and assume more risk), so make sure it will be something you enjoy.

    Working for the man can lead to quite a satisfying life, but only if it is work you want to do. Past a minimal level, salary amount makes very little difference. Just ask all those people who left good jobs to go back to law school so they could make more money. See how happy they are now.
     

    sunny1

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    Pharmacy CAN be a career and not just a job. You can work your way up to managerial positions, or specialize in an area like cardiology and work in a hospital.

    This is true. I used to work in a Peds Hem/Onc department of a hospital and we had our own personal clinical pharmacist for our department who would see families, talk to them about the different drugs, etc. She was busy and she liked her job. The physicians respected her as their equal.

    Pharmacy isn't just standing behind the counter of a Walgreens overseeing everything.
     

    WildlifeSaver

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    Give the OP a break. He's just going through a hard time making one of the biggest decisions of his life. I know that as choosing a university/program is a daunting task for a high schooler. I don't think he wants people to TELL him what to do, but rather make comments on the progress he has made so far on making the decision.

    Pharmacy is not as bad as some make it out to be. There are people who are dissatisfied with their work in every profession. I know medical students and physicians who regret going to medical school, only to find that their only way out of their massive debts was to graduate and start their residency to make some dough. Of course, there are pharmacists who wish they'd gone to medical school. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Both of my high school biology teacher's parents were physicians and he personally went through two years of medical school before dropping out and pursuing a career in teaching. He told me that as a doctor, you make a lot of money, but you don't get a lot of free time to spend that money. So you really need to like what you do at work, because most of your time will be dedicated to it.

    Pharmacy CAN be a career and not just a job. You can work your way up to managerial positions, or specialize in an area like cardiology and work in a hospital. Both medicine and pharmacy are honorable careers and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Shadow a physician and a pharmacist and get a feel of which profession is right for you. Good luck with your decision!
    I don't know if you took what I said about the pharmacy thing and it being a job and not a career. I never said pharmacy was a job...SAID being a pharmacist is more of a job. There are many things one can do with a PharmD degree. If you are really looking for that long career thing I think its more medicine then going to pharmacy school. Many pharmacist tell me its a job and sure because its retail and yes pharmacy has in all aspects advantages and disadvantages. Many rewards come along with being a pharmacist because often people go into the pharmacy asking about what to take and so what. Pharmacist are being more like sale reps too because the government wants to make it so difficult with all the insurance..

    Everyday you do get something out of it when a pregnant women comes in and ask "what do I take"...Nothing wrong with being a pharmacist vs being an MD or something..both are respected very well. I just personally think MD school is more harder to get into and leads to the never ending of choosing your education. A career is something that also continues. And yes pharmacy you always have to stay up to date with drugs and do workshops blah blah.., but its not the same. Thats my opinion
     

    worriedperiod

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    I've read all of your replies but due to constraints, I couldn't login and reply.
    I've shadowed few doctors and a pharmacist.
    Here's my analysis:

    Most of the high schoolers, premeds, and even med school students (I've been to two of the top-5) I know have this screwed up and romanticized view of being a doctor where after they finish all of their grueling training, they will have a 9 to 5 job, make $500k, live in condos, and face patients grateful for solving their problems (they expect no complications). These are genuinely intelligent people who very well have the capacity to make it to and through medical school. High schoolers and premeds make nothing of the average $150k of med school loans. They know nothing of and even belittle the taxes, the malpractice, the bureaucratic nonsense, the stress, the toll on your personal life, and the fact that they have to delay their personal life. They believe that they will take home $40k paychecks a month and never be sued. While this may be true for a few doctors, a good lot of them are not happy. This is funny because every single person I know of in the medical field or in the process of entering the medical field does nothing but complain. Forget what salary.com says, you won't be taking home $350k as a first-year specialist. The taxes, malpractice, student loans, training, stress, and payoff are not worth it. A career in medicine is not worth it unless you know exactly what you are getting yourself into and understand the risks and rewards. It doesn't matter if you love medicine, if you don't love the lifestyle, then you are in for one hell of a disappointment. You cannot go into medicine saying "after premed, I'll be fine, after med school, I'll be fine, after residency, I'll be fine", you must even enjoy the journey. The entire thing is a journey and not a destination at all. In real life, all I see from preMDs and MDs is constant complaining and bitterness even from the well-paid.

    The reason I think this happens is because kids grow up in a safety-bubble created by their parents and schools where they expect to excel in the real world since they worked hard and virtuously in their bubbles. I took the time to research and look outside my bubble and saw that the outside world is quite different. In fact, it doesn't even reward virtue, but that's another matter.

    If you have the academic skill and desire a good lifestyle with low stress and are not obsessed with being a doctor, then becoming a pharmacist is much better. On the other hand, if you are obsessed with being a doctor and know exactly what you are getting yourself into, then be my guest.

    What do I like being, a doctor or a pharmacist?
    I (selfish, I know) like the lifestyle of a pharmacist much more.
    What excites me more?
    They both excite me and the ups and downs balance each other out.
    I see both careers as being a combination of practicality, professionalism, education, technology, bureaucracy, and public interaction. I like the balance much more in Pharmacy.

    And whether or not I will be satisfied with my job? Every single person around the age of 40 that I known of from a doctor, to teacher, to accountant, says that their job is "okay." And that is all I expect to say when I'm 40. I don't expect to be thrilled to go to work every single day at that age. Also, in being a Pharmacist, unlike in being a doctor, I am not immersed in a single purpose. I have the ability to pursue side interests like educating myself about world affairs, politics, philosophy, psychology, financial investment, reading, etc. (they change every 6 months).

    My best case scenario:
    (1) I become a pharmacist in 5 to 6 years.
    (2) In my 20s I plan to work a lot and settle down with a house, car, etc. on Long Island.
    (3) Max out my 401k, IRA, have a 529 plan, a cash safety net, etc.
    (4) See if I can move up the ladder in my job.
    (5) Ease my hours in my 30s and onwards.
    (6) Meanwhile, I continue with my personal life and pursue any side interests.
    (7) Retire.
    (8) DIE

    I know I can achieve this. Like I said, I'm not aiming to be a millionaire (although my retirement funds should probably be worth quite a lot by then). These predictions are obviously made with the hope that nothing bad happens with my personal life and that the American Empire doesn't screw itself over.

    P.S.: You know exactly what I mean when I say 'dead on the inside'. We've all felt that way at some point in our lives.
     

    sunny1

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    Most...have this screwed up and romanticized view of being a doctor where after they finish all of their grueling training, they will have a 9 to 5 job, make $500k, live in condos, and face patients grateful for solving their problems (they expect no complications).

    P.S.: You know exactly what I mean when I say 'dead on the inside'. We've all felt that way at some point in our lives.

    You're funny. And really dramatic. I like how the romanticized dream home is a condo.

    Here's the forum for you now that you've made your decision. Good luck going forward.
     

    worriedperiod

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    You're funny. And really dramatic. I like how the romanticized dream home is a condo.

    Here's the forum for you now that you've made your decision. Good luck going forward.

    I have a brilliant friend at a top university who talks about owning condos in Florida after his bank account starts flooding when he becomes a doctor. Mind you, the guy already got a 39 MCAT but I was surprised to hear such a thing. He is intelligent and would make an excellent doctor, but like a lot of people in his age range, he's extremely delusional and not practical at all about what the real world is like. He may very well succeed but reality is quite different. Doing well in academics does not translate into doing well in the real world.
     

    Tizoc

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    Also, in being a Pharmacist, unlike in being a doctor, I am not immersed in a single purpose. I have the ability to pursue side interests like educating myself about world affairs, politics, philosophy, psychology, financial investment, reading, etc. (they change every 6 months).
    You know, I'm pretty sure most pre-meds and med students are not immersed in single purposes. At least, the ones I know aren't (and to a lesser extent, I'm not...I think).

    FWIW, you should change your Forum name. You shouldn't be worried, you like Pharmacy and want to give it a shot. Go for it!
     

    SaveThisLabRat

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    Yeah... this was a complete waste of a thread. It's been obvious from the first post you want to do pharmacy.

    Good luck to you.
     

    doctormo90

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    i noe how u feel because im havin the same problem choosing between pharmacy and medicine.. im in a 7 year medical program right now.. im only in my freshman year takin 21 credits a semster but i already feel overwhelmed.. im in it for the prestige , money and profession and its always what i wanted to do since i was a kid but i noticed how difficult it is to make it and that it would take so much time from me to become a doctor and thats why im thinking of transferring and doing the pharmd program but im still having doubts if its the right thing to do or not..
    Bear with me, I may sound extremely delusional and stupid.
    I have to pick between going to a 6yr PharmD program at a nearby college and going to Johns Hopkins University. If I go to Hopkins, I'll be premed (bio) I'm not obsessed with prestige.

    My choice is basically between becoming a doctor and becoming a Pharmacist. Unless there are other secure, well-paying jobs you know of. I really had to search deeply to answer this question for myself.

    My material & personal goals in life are as follows:
    (1) a small decent house in a nice neighborhood.
    (2) a car; I don't care about getting a BMW or Mercedes, I'd rather get a Toyota considering the fact that after 20 days owning either a Toyota or BMW, I'd feel the same.
    (3) financial security: money-in-the bank, well-paying secure job, being able to retire safely, etc.
    (4) satisfying personal life with family and friends
    (5) decent job that does not interfere with your personal life
    (6) I'm really not that materialistic, I don't want mansions, jewels, $1000 clothes, etc. I'm not a big spender, but I like investing money (stocks) and knowing that I have money when the need arises

    If I go to the 6yr PharmD Program:
    - I'll graduate by the time I'm 24
    - I'll have a life and I won't be dead on the inside
    - the PharmD program will be difficult, but I'll make it through
    - I'll be interning in a pharmacy while in pharmacy school, making $14/hr, etc.
    - I'll most probably have achieved the aforementioned goals by the time I'm 28 (correct me if I'm wrong) considering I'd be getting paid about 100k/yr, I ran the calculations
    wink.gif

    - life shouldn't be too difficult and I think I can count on not losing my job

    If I go to Hopkins and attempt to become a doctor:
    - will become a doctor when I'm 30-34 (depending on specialty)
    - **** loads of debt
    - dead on the inside
    - EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to get into medschool, painful residency, don't know If I can make it through
    - If I'm lucky, I'll make $350k+ and be able to pay of my debt and achieve the aforementioned goals
    - work/personal life balance will be horrible; won't be able to pay attention to kids/wife/etc.
    - will have to put my personal life behind and probably won't have kids until
    my late 30s

    I know what you're thinking, doesn't he care about helping people as a doctor or pharmacist?
    They're noble professions that include mutual benefit of the highest order. What I mean is: the patient and doctor/pharmacist both benefit from the exchange of medicine for money.
    I don't think most premeds/meds/residents who go to sleep at 2AM after studying tell themselves that they are doing this ONLY to help others. Determination, prestige, self-worth, and money together play bigger roles than simply helping others. There's a huge difference between saying you care about people and actually caring about people. Bottom-line: even if I became a doctor, I would do my job honestly and help my patients.
    Helping others is a factor but not the main factor. I see it as a byproduct of a profession, not the chief intent of the majority entering the field.
    Doctors are also not getting compensated as well as they used to and that is, statistically, their biggest complaint about the profession (HMOs and malpractice). I could argue about this forever but I'm open minded enough to consider all sides and understand others.
    If helping other people as a doctor means sacrificing my personal life, 20s, bad hours, and not getting compensated properly after that, then I'm not interested. Also, doctors report 32% job satisfaction and about 75% say they would not encourage their children to become doctors.

    I'm also worried about the future of these professions:
    - will doctors begin to have better lives and compensation in the future due to some much-need national health care reform?
    - will the pharmacy job market fall out of favor?

    As for my own dimensions:
    My personal interests: they fluctuate among many things every year, like finance, politics, history, research, etc.
    However, I do lean towards the sciences.
    My academics:
    2010 SAT (700M, 660CR, 650W)
    800s and 5s in Chem/Bio/PhysicsB
    Moderate ranking and GPA.
    I can be hardworking when needed and I don't really NEED to party/have fun.
    However, I am susceptible to burnout and laziness; my GPA and SATs, which I did not study at all for, show this fact.

    I understand that my science scores (800s and 5s in Chem/Bio/PhysicsB) are probably the norm for med school acceptances? (Yes, I know you take the MCATs)

    I'm basically looking for a secure, well-paying job that does not entail sacrificing entire parts of your life and that is why I will probably pick the 6 year Pharmacy Program over Hopkins unless you guys know of any other job market with the same potential that I could enter?

    I know that things like Radiology, Opthalmology, Anesthesiology, and Dermatology (ROAD to success) pay a lot and give you flexible hours but do they not have the most grueling competition?
    Also, I'm trying to gauge myself among med school applicants and I understand that my science scores (800s and 5s in Chem/Bio/PhysicsB) are probably the norm for med school acceptances? (Yes, I know you take the MCATs)

    Again, bear with me. An year ago, I did not anticipate this choice to be the problem it is.
     
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