Which path should I take?

  • PharmD only then go to work

    Votes: 1 25.0%
  • Get your PhD

    Votes: 3 75.0%

  • Total voters
    4

ipreferyoucallmedr

PharmD Wanna Be
5+ Year Member
Jul 24, 2012
3
0
USA
Status
Pharmacy Student
Hello everyone! I am a current P2 who works as an intern at a big chain and I hate it. Luckily, I have found that I love love love health outcomes research. I've been given the opportunity to apply to get a PhD immediately after finishing my PharmD (basically it's a program where I get a little bit of a head start on the PhD during my PharmD summers). The PhD would take about 3.5 to 4 years and pay $40k/year. The tuition would be waived but I'd have to pay a few fees. Basically I could net ~$38,000/year for 4 years while studying to get my PhD to get my dream job. When done I'd make about ~$90-100k/year in the type of job that it would lead to. If I work at a chain store I could make over $120/year but hate my life. I like money and I'd like to pay off my school loans at some point, but I also would like to enjoy my job.

What would you do in my situation? I will have about $100k in loans to pay off when I graduate with my PharmD so there's also that to consider since I'll need to start paying those off. Please help. I've tried making pro/con lists over and over but just can't decide.
 

Digsbe

7+ Year Member
Aug 6, 2011
1,368
994
Status
Pharmacist
I would set up an analysis on what you want out of life and what your priorities are. Do you want to make more money to support hobbies/wealth building/investment or do you want to make less and work a job you find fulfilling? What kind of lifestyle and schedule do you want? I'd imagine health outcomes research is an 8 hour per day job, whereas retail is longer shifts and less days (usually). You should also consider the opportunity cost, each year you earn your PhD you are losing money on potential pharmacist salary (roughly 70-80k a year). Your interest on student loans may build too if you don't actively pay them off while doing your PhD.

I'd just examine what you want out of life and then make that decision for yourself. Just consider the opportunity cost and lifestyle implications as well and determine if you want to live for your job or if you want your job to supplement your life (meaning it gives you money and you don't necessarily like it).
 

npage148

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
May 2, 2005
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I got my phd in pharm sci right after pharmd. Applied to 3 university positions and did a 1 year post doc. Dumped it and now I do retail
 
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ipreferyoucallmedr

ipreferyoucallmedr

PharmD Wanna Be
5+ Year Member
Jul 24, 2012
3
0
USA
Status
Pharmacy Student
I'd just examine what you want out of life and then make that decision for yourself. Just consider the opportunity cost and lifestyle implications as well and determine if you want to live for your job or if you want your job to supplement your life (meaning it gives you money and you don't necessarily like it).
That's what I can't decide right now. If I work retail then I feel like I won't have a life at all because of the terrible hours. I know there are other options but I really want a job where I can be home for dinner most nights and actually see my family.
 

npage148

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
May 2, 2005
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Are you gonna really get that "dream job" and is it gonna entail working 60 hours a week (academia) an get cut when you can't get funding (currently less than <10%) or have A job that get outsourced to the western CROs (industry) or be at the whim of republican cost cutting congress (govt)? What is your dream job and what setting and will you be happy living there (San Fran/la jolla , Boston, the DC area) ? Can you deal with a 60 min commute?
 
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npage148

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
May 2, 2005
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You can also work part time as a pharmacist while doing your phds
 
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ipreferyoucallmedr

ipreferyoucallmedr

PharmD Wanna Be
5+ Year Member
Jul 24, 2012
3
0
USA
Status
Pharmacy Student
You can also work part time as a pharmacist while doing your phds
Yeah I was definitely consider doing some weekend work while getting the second degree. Still thinking about your questions from yesterday's reply...
 

BidingMyTime

Lost Shaker Of Salt
10+ Year Member
Oct 2, 2006
3,672
2,751
Illinois
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Pharmacist
Seems like a no-brainer, you've listed lots of reasons why you want a PhD job, and no reasons why you would want to stay as an RPh. However, npage brings up a very pertinent question, what are the chances of your actually getting a "dream" job, after you finish your Ph.D? There are lots of unemployed/underemployed Ph.D.'s.
 
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LabrattoRx

Membership Revoked
Removed
Nov 21, 2015
96
7
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hello everyone! I am a current P2 who works as an intern at a big chain and I hate it. Luckily, I have found that I love love love health outcomes research. I've been given the opportunity to apply to get a PhD immediately after finishing my PharmD (basically it's a program where I get a little bit of a head start on the PhD during my PharmD summers). The PhD would take about 3.5 to 4 years and pay $40k/year. The tuition would be waived but I'd have to pay a few fees. Basically I could net ~$38,000/year for 4 years while studying to get my PhD to get my dream job. When done I'd make about ~$90-100k/year in the type of job that it would lead to. If I work at a chain store I could make over $120/year but hate my life. I like money and I'd like to pay off my school loans at some point, but I also would like to enjoy my job.

What would you do in my situation? I will have about $100k in loans to pay off when I graduate with my PharmD so there's also that to consider since I'll need to start paying those off. Please help. I've tried making pro/con lists over and over but just can't decide.

A Phd is a serious commitment and often times there is an extraordinarly large amount of uncertainty in regards to generating data, mentor student relations, and time it takes to finish. What you have described is abest case scenario for a PhD, and you'll see while you may hate retail it is more clear cut, ie multiple choice exams etc. I have seen people do a PG1,2 and then a fellowship (which is equivalent of doing a post doc), and the advantage of doing a PharmD fellowship is the ability to focus on clinically based research and automatically makes you in more select company. I have also seen people get drained by PhD mentors while in grad school. So really examine your interests. If stuck on a deserted island, a group of PharmD's would probably get back, while the PhDs would be arguing until death. If you truly wish to pursue research I'd focus on finding that professor/s at your college who are engaged and currently publishing journals at your school and getting as close to them as possible. It may be in hyour best interest to really take advantage of your current situation. Getting coauthored in journals will help obtain a residency. But really I'd start there and talking to people at yoru school.
 
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Jbrl

2+ Year Member
May 7, 2015
334
283
What settings do you envision yourself working in with an HEOR PhD? Pharma? Academia? Hospital? I'd personally get a PhD if I were you; you just need to make sure you don't stay in Post-Doc hell. As an alternative route, if you have experience in HEOR already - internship, research, etc. - there are pharma fellowships that will train you, though from what I've heard you will need to get an MPH/PhD later on to move up.
 

LabrattoRx

Membership Revoked
Removed
Nov 21, 2015
96
7
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Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I think my main point is that (not knowing much about HEOR or your credentials), I'd caution you when pursuing a PhD program that is paying you 40k, and will get you out in 3.5 years. Seems a bit fishy, or is very competitive, or, is demanding that the knowledge you got in pharmacy school will help you out in the program. In any case I'd definitely see what journals this particular PhD program publishes in, and see if you can envision contributing to the field. Ask, what are they paying me for, especially in conjunction with the degree, and as someone mentioned, what will I be doing with this degree? A PharmD, IMHO, is not bad.
 

Jbrl

2+ Year Member
May 7, 2015
334
283
I think my main point is that (not knowing much about HEOR or your credentials), I'd caution you when pursuing a PhD program that is paying you 40k, and will get you out in 3.5 years. Seems a bit fishy, or is very competitive, or, is demanding that the knowledge you got in pharmacy school will help you out in the program. In any case I'd definitely see what journals this particular PhD program publishes in, and see if you can envision contributing to the field. Ask, what are they paying me for, especially in conjunction with the degree, and as someone mentioned, what will I be doing with this degree? A PharmD, IMHO, is not bad.
So true. Friend of mine quit her PhD program after a year because she couldn't handle her PI's temperament. Another person I know keeps getting roped into more projects so she's been doing it for 5 years and counting. Definitely something to think about... All-in-all given his goals it makes sense to get supplemental education or fellowship though. Just needs to make sure the research department he's joining is right for him. HEOR is teeming with Masters/PhD students in Biostats/epiemiology-related fields. Here's a snippet from an ad:

Associate Director, Health Economics & Outcomes Research
Position Qualifications: • Advanced degree (PhD, MD, MPH, or PharmD) in a scientific discipline. A clinical background should be supplemented with advanced quantitative training demonstrated by an MPH or MS in a relevant field.
 

monkieez

@(^_^)@
7+ Year Member
May 20, 2010
199
19
Status
Pharmacist
Have you considered fellowships? There are plenty of fellowships in health outcomes research that are one to two years in length, but are generally competitive as they have only one to two spots. Most are at a pharmaceutical company. It may or may not be the right option but something to consider. Since you are only a p2 there is still find time to contact different companies and see if there are managed care summer internships you could do, but you would need to look into those ASAP since it's already December.