Apr 6, 2010
5
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Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
This is my first post, about how I am not sure what I want to do with my life and why I am considering pharmacy among other things. If you want to advise me (harsh criticism welcomed) feel free.

I am 24 and trying to start my "career path". I graduated from college a few years ago (Biology degree, excellent school, high GPA), and unsure of what to do next, decided to take a break and have been a lab technician in a large hospital in NY doing clinical testing since. I feel like if I want to make more out of my career I should start now. My 3 considerations are Pharmacy, PhD, and Masters in Bio (and continue being a lab tech but with more $$).

I have a strong interest in science, biology and chemistry. I really like doing molecular work, but not sure if I want to be a lab tech forever or if I want to move on to something "better". I love learning about science (classes, textbooks) but I generally am bored by reading scientific papers/attending talks about people's research and don't know if I have a strong enough devotion to be a PhD. It is important to me to have a good lifestyle, with a 40 hour/week job, and decent pay. I wouldn't mind working longer if I choose to, but I have the impression that PhDs often MUST work long hours even when they have established careers, in order to publish and stay competitive.

On the other hand, pharmacists can work as many hours as they choose and of course the pay is great. I don't think I'm considering it just for the lifestyle since I really do enjoy chemistry, but do pharmacists really use their science knowledge regularly? And..I don't like working with customers, which makes me nervous about pharmacy.

Having time for a life outside my career is very important to me, and I don't want to be in school forever. Pharmacy has a pretty straightforward and relatively quick career path (for me 1 year of pre-reqs, 4 years of pharm school, pharmacist!), while PhD is less direct (5-6 years PhD, 2 years post doc, ?) where the ? could be basic research, industry, government job. Also I am not interested in basic research, so I am afraid of going this route and then not being able to get a job with a pharmaceutical company or similar.

So no idea if anyone is still sticking with me. I'd like my career to be in the sciences and be able to put my interest in bio/chem to some use. But I definitely don't want to sacrifice too much lifestyle for my career.
 

Monalyce

PharmD-to-be in 2013!
10+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2009
347
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Minneapolis, MN
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Pharmacy Student
Careful...as a pharmacist, you care for patients. Even if they are also customers, that's not the best way to describe what pharmacists do. If you're not a people person I would not suggest pharmacy.
 

VA77

7+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2010
322
255
231
VIRGINIA
Status
Pharmacist
You could always become a pharmacist and work parttime if you decide to pursue other endeavors. Do you have any desire for forensics? It's science related/decent hours/non-direct (i.e lab). If your really like chemistry, possibly an R&D job with a pharmaceutical company would fit but this would be going the PhD route. You don't like working with customer but what about students? Is teaching a possibility?
 

phathead

Future World Drug Lord
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Sep 13, 2009
3,773
9
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Pharmacy Student
This is my first post, about how I am not sure what I want to do with my life and why I am considering pharmacy among other things. If you want to advise me (harsh criticism welcomed) feel free.

I am 24 and trying to start my "career path". I graduated from college a few years ago (Biology degree, excellent school, high GPA), and unsure of what to do next, decided to take a break and have been a lab technician in a large hospital in NY doing clinical testing since. I feel like if I want to make more out of my career I should start now. My 3 considerations are Pharmacy, PhD, and Masters in Bio (and continue being a lab tech but with more $$).

I have a strong interest in science, biology and chemistry. I really like doing molecular work, but not sure if I want to be a lab tech forever or if I want to move on to something "better". I love learning about science (classes, textbooks) but I generally am bored by reading scientific papers/attending talks about people's research and don't know if I have a strong enough devotion to be a PhD. It is important to me to have a good lifestyle, with a 40 hour/week job, and decent pay. I wouldn't mind working longer if I choose to, but I have the impression that PhDs often MUST work long hours even when they have established careers, in order to publish and stay competitive.

On the other hand, pharmacists can work as many hours as they choose and of course the pay is great. I don't think I'm considering it just for the lifestyle since I really do enjoy chemistry, but do pharmacists really use their science knowledge regularly? And..I don't like working with customers, which makes me nervous about pharmacy.

Having time for a life outside my career is very important to me, and I don't want to be in school forever. Pharmacy has a pretty straightforward and relatively quick career path (for me 1 year of pre-reqs, 4 years of pharm school, pharmacist!), while PhD is less direct (5-6 years PhD, 2 years post doc, ?) where the ? could be basic research, industry, government job. Also I am not interested in basic research, so I am afraid of going this route and then not being able to get a job with a pharmaceutical company or similar.

So no idea if anyone is still sticking with me. I'd like my career to be in the sciences and be able to put my interest in bio/chem to some use. But I definitely don't want to sacrifice too much lifestyle for my career.
This is the case today, but that may not be the case in the long run. The pay schedule in pharmacy is... well its greatly messed up and is in the process of righting itself.

My former research problem was in the same predicament as you and she has since decided to get her masters in pharmacology. She kinda took the middle road and already has a few decent jobs lined up for her when she's done in a year now. She may or may not go for a PhD, but she's quite happy with her choice.
 
Apr 6, 2010
5
0
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Careful...as a pharmacist, you care for patients. Even if they are also customers, that's not the best way to describe what pharmacists do. If you're not a people person I would not suggest pharmacy.
True, sorry for the mistake! In any case, I don't think I would like dealing with patients either. Definitely not a people person by any means... although I do like working with my coworkers/lab mates.
 

phathead

Future World Drug Lord
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Sep 13, 2009
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True, sorry for the mistake! In any case, I don't think I would like dealing with patients either. Definitely not a people person by any means... although I do like working with my coworkers/lab mates.
Pharmacy is all about 'dealing with patients'. Often you are the one explaining things in lay terms to patients.
 
Apr 6, 2010
5
0
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
You could always become a pharmacist and work parttime if you decide to pursue other endeavors. Do you have any desire for forensics? It's science related/decent hours/non-direct (i.e lab). If your really like chemistry, possibly an R&D job with a pharmaceutical company would fit but this would be going the PhD route. You don't like working with customer but what about students? Is teaching a possibility?
Thanks for your input! Forensics is an interesting option.. I have not considered that. If I was to do this I think I would pursue a Masters in molecular bio so as to not limit myself.

I'd like to work for a pharmaceutical company! I just worry that say I get my PhD and then don't find a job with one (I hear it is very competitive). Maybe I'd be better off with a Master's degree to get this type of job?

Teaching... maybe in the future, once I know enough about something to be qualified to teach it!
 

rxlea

Almost a unicorn
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7+ Year Member
Aug 9, 2009
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If you don't like customers, then retail/community pharmacy is certainly not for you. There are other sectors of pharmacy you can work in but I am not sure if by saying you don't like customers you are saying you don't like dealing with people or people's problems. If it is indeed that you don't like dealing with conflict or stressful situations involving people, then pharmacy is definitely not for you. However, if you like helping people but like working more "behind the scenes", a staff pharmacist position at a hospital might be for you. There are other areas you can consider- there is a lot to do with a PharmD. But, you have to like interacting with people/colleagues no matter what job you have in healthcare because, generally, you will have to work in a team.
 
Apr 6, 2010
5
0
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
My former research problem was in the same predicament as you and she has since decided to get her masters in pharmacology. She kinda took the middle road and already has a few decent jobs lined up for her when she's done in a year now. She may or may not go for a PhD, but she's quite happy with her choice.

Former research problem? LOL do you mean technician?

What kind of jobs does a masters in pharmacology lead to? I will look into this but is it more focused than just biochemistry?
 

phathead

Future World Drug Lord
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Sep 13, 2009
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Former research problem? LOL do you mean technician?

What kind of jobs does a masters in pharmacology lead to? I will look into this but is it more focused than just biochemistry?
LMAO I meant partner. Don't tell her that :p

It's pharmacology, not biochemistry. It's focusing on drugs in the body. I can ask her about jobs later tonight, I know she was shadowing someone at Merck not too long ago.
 
Apr 6, 2010
5
0
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
If you don't like customers, then retail/community pharmacy is certainly not for you. There are other sectors of pharmacy you can work in but I am not sure if by saying you don't like customers you are saying you don't like dealing with people or people's problems. If it is indeed that you don't like dealing with conflict or stressful situations involving people, then pharmacy is definitely not for you. However, if you like helping people but like working more "behind the scenes", a staff pharmacist position at a hospital might be for you. There are other areas you can consider- there is a lot to do with a PharmD. But, you have to like interacting with people/colleagues no matter what job you have in healthcare because, generally, you will have to work in a team.

Thanks for your perspective. While I want to help patients, I do not think I would enjoy communicating with patients and explaining their medicines to them. I guess you could say I'd rather work behind the scenes. I do like working with co-workers and on a team though!
 

Monalyce

PharmD-to-be in 2013!
10+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2009
347
0
0
Minneapolis, MN
Status
Pharmacy Student
I'd consider looking into options like an MS in social and administrative pharmacy or experimental and clinical pharmacy. My inkling is that the pharmacy curriculum may not be for you.

In regards to pharmacy being "a straightforward and quick career path", this is less and less true. Many PharmD's pursue residencies (1 or 2 more years) or take years to move up within the area they wish to work in. A PharmD doesn't grant you a guaranteed convenient, well-paying, enjoyable job...you'll have to work for it, even if it is less years than a PhD. Just something to keep in mind.
 
Mar 19, 2010
29
0
0
Status
Pre-Pharmacy
I had the same trouble, since I enjoyed doing research and enjoy working in a pharmacy. However, I love helping people more and want to work personally with patients. So I ended up chosing pharmacy. It sounds like you would enjoy doing a PhD more, if you enjoy doing research. If you look up the professors at the pharmacy schools you will see that those who do research do not always have a PharmD, but all have PhD's. Outside of research and teaching (like retail, hospital, and consulting), a pharmacist probably won't apply scientific knowledge very much. As any retail or hospital pharmacist how often they use what they learned about amino acid residues and you'll see what I mean.
The curriculum for professional school is just as rigorous as graduate school (long hours slaving away no matter what).
If you want to make the next miracle drug, go PhD. If you want to consult the recipients of the next miracle drug, go PharmD.
 

elevenphoenix

fresh grad dying for tips on NAPLEX. HELP :(.
Nov 21, 2009
52
0
41
San Antonio, TX
Status
Pharmacist
There is such a narrow job market in the area of forensic science, I wouldn't waste time even considering it...trust me, my B.S. is in Forensic Science and that's why I'm stuck teaching high school chemistry and desperately trying to get into pharmacy :/