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In need of serious advice...

Discussion in 'Pre-Pharmacy' started by neogenesis713, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. neogenesis713

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    I am having a huge dilemma right now. I am currently a first year engineering student, but it doesn’t feel right to me.


    I am not fanatic about money, but I come from a certain background where I wished I could live without worrying too much about money. Hence, I truly believe that money is just as important as my work interest. (Especially with the current economic trend) I do not plan to live in giant mansion with 100K+ car, but I do want a decent life with 90-100K annual net income minimum.
    I know that I am not an idiot. I am pretty confident that after a decade of work experience (5-7 years of school + 10 years of work… so about 17 year-ish), I will be able to get that kind of income. Having a strict family and school environment, however, I am hoping to work with minimum interference from the boss. But at the same time, I am not yet confident of starting my own business.


    Because of this, I am thinking of finding my career in medical field. I am thinking of becoming a pharmacist. I will probably need 2 – 3 years, 4 years of pharm school and… 2 years or more for graduate studies. My parents, however, are discouraging this. This is their argument…


    1. Pharmacists don’t get decent pay to support the family. Maybe they are saying this because my dad makes quite a load of money as an engineer, (over 150K gross income) but I can’t say. I know pharmacists make around 100K, but the actual income after lists of taxation is like in 60K-ish. (In Canada, anyway. I am not sure about US, but they are taxed considerably as well… or so I heard) Engineers may make less than pharmacists, but they do make tons as they move up the rank with good reputation (Hence, salary eventually becomes higher than pharmacist) I don’t plan to live as well as my parents, but I am picturing a decent house, a new medium expensive car (ex. Honda SUV), decent computer/TV (with decent high speed internet and 20-ish channels, food and occasional eat-outs… and some surplus for savings. Is $65000-ish enough for that? Oh, and I’d imagine it’ll get more expensive if I start a family too…


    2. I tried to argue that medical career are more stable, but my dad says that from his experience… engineers with master+ from decent universities with a decade of working experience don’t have to fear layoffs. My parents fear that due to large corporations taking over pharmacist stores, (ex. Wal-Mart, superstore, etc.) pharmacists’ demand won’t last long. Even though economy says otherwise now, it makes sense to me. Almost all families I know buy prescription drugs from Superstore and Wal-Mart because it’s cheaper and convenient. It doesn’t take that much manpower to meet the demand… or are they wrong about this?


    3. Question of bonus and overtime pay. A lot of pharmacists/pharm students get excited about these… but how much are they? I know it depends on the employer… but is there an average estimate?


    4. Pharmacists make money based on how much drugs they sell… so they sometimes have to pressure themselves to sell more drugs to make profit… I find this unlikely in Western pharmacy stores… but is there some truth in this? (My family has Asian background…)

    I am doing some research, and I will be volunteering in pharmacy stores to understand more about what pharmacists do. (Though I’d imagine I will be doing some chores like putting drugs on the shelves and become cashier as well due to my lack of experience…) But I posted my dilemma because I hoped for some enlightening feedback from pharm students as well as pharmacists. Thanks for reading, and I thank in advance for your feedback~!

    - neogenesis713

    PS: I don't want to look like an arrogant guy, but I know I am capable of getting both degrees. I want to consider just the career in general, not the money/difficulty of the programs.
     
  2. diastole

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    You are going to have to work for decades. You could find yourself very unhappy if money is the major consideration in your choice of career. You might get lucky and love your job or you could dread going to work every day for the next 30 to 40 years. I would look at whether or not you find the work interesting and then consider money.

    As for the money, you will adjust your lifestyle to what you make. People making tons of money end up spending it on bigger mortgages, bigger car payments and more expensive stuff like food and clothes. Unless you are truly poor and there isn't enough to cover the bills, your lifestyle isn't hurt all that much if you live in a smaller house, with a less fancy car and a few less gadgets. Pharmacists and engineers both make enough for a comfortable life style. I would try shadowing people from both professions and go with what seems like a better fit for you, even if your parents aren't entirely convinced.
     
  3. ValeRx

    ValeRx PharmD
    Pharmacist 7+ Year Member

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    I just read a ton of jibberish to answer your whole entire post with one sentence:

    ITS YOUR LIFE, MAKE YOUR OWN CHOICES.
     
  4. WhiteSnows

    WhiteSnows Think Right and Grow Rich
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    i think you should do engineer because your dad can teach you a lot of things. Pharmacist is the one who helps people, but not for money only. If you want a job between 90 to 100k, consider business it will make you rich if you invest on a right place.
     
  5. StaphRx

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    Ok, aside from the money factor (pretend it's not a part of your decision), would you consider engineering or pharmacy, based on your interest and if you see yourself doing it for life...If money really wasn't an issue, but it should be if you're planning on living carefree, then make sure it's something you enjoy. I never use to believe that when people told me to do something I enjoyed. I figured if it's something acceptable and respectable, I'd be okay with it, but from experience now, it's gotta be a career you can serious see yourself somewhat enjoying and liking, or else you'll regret it and probably end up changing your mind and wasting more money changing careers, or being miserable all your life.

    And by the way, as a female, not that it matters for any profession, I see myself working and still being able to have a family, kids and a job where I am home by a certain time to prepare dinner and be with family everyday.

    If Pharmacy doesn't work out for me, and I end my advancement in any educational degree, I hope it's not the case, then I'd at least have an engineering degree (only a BS) and I really hope that I can do as well as your parents do, 150K? That's actually pretty good, if your dad enjoys his job! May I ask what kind of engineering he does? I might need a backup plan if I don't get into any PharmD programs! =)

    Good luck deciding what path you'll take. Just go for it, as soon as you've thought it over. Any educational path is always good.

    By the way, you've got me thankful for my current Bsci degree in engineering. I guess if things don't work out for me, my background isn't a total waste. Both my sister and I graduated with engineering degrees from an ivy-league and both are actually in the medicine field, because it IS stable, even in this economic crisis. People always need doctors/dentists/healthcare professions. But from what your parents pointed out, I guess they see that an engineer is also stable; which is good to know. I never really knew that. =)
     
    #5 StaphRx, Jan 2, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009
  6. wolfpackhal

    wolfpackhal UNC PharmD class of 2013
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    Pharmacy and engineering are both great fields that will be in high demand for a long time, especially the decades to come. Engineering is needed to improve our cars, transportation systems, create more modern and effiecient buildings, new medical and research equiptment etc. and pharmacy for the increasing demand for healthcare and development of new medications, etc. As a pharmacist, you have every bit as much of an opportunity as an engineer to work up in the system and make even more money. You do not have to simply be a retail pharmacist stuck at a "lowly" 120,000 salary. Please... whatever you do, chose what you want to do whether it be engineering, pharmacy, another medical profession, or something else. A pharmacist salary will def. give you the lifestyle you want. And think about this: if you are married to someone making even $1-100,000+ your lifestyle will be that much greater.

    Also, coming from a 100,000+ income house myself I understand there can be struggles even that that level, but you need to wake up if you think a pharmacist making 100,000+ can not support their family. I do not know for sure, but the average American household income is probably something like 30,000-40,000
     
    #6 wolfpackhal, Jan 2, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009
  7. xscpx

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    Most of these are really idiotic...

    1. Pharmacists where I live make 120+; any income of the range, regardless of profession (pharm or eng) has taxes, get over it

    2. Um....Supermarkets, Walmart, etc all need pharmacists too. The more demand the more pharmacists needed. Even if all the buisness went to Walrmart, they would have to hire a proportionate amount of pharmacists.

    3. All overtime is time and a half. The only difference in salary, and this also goes for ALL professions.

    4. TOTALLY moronic. A pharmacist cannot sell a prescription drug without a prescription! The pay is hourly/salary and has nothing at all to do with number of drugs sold.


    Pretty much all I have to say is grow up, make your own decisions. Volunteer in a pharmacy, shadow an engineer, and figure out what it is you want to do. Engineering can mean 10000 things. There are all different forms i.e chemical, urban, electrical, all which have different base salaries. And I hate to tell you, but very few engineers with an masters make 150k+, especially right out of school. Most civil engineers make like 40k base.
     
  8. Storm90

    Storm90 Accepted Pharmacy Student
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    If money is really important to you, you'll always be miserable. Do what you enjoy. That's why I am interested in pharmacy. If you like engineering, do engineering. If you enjoy pharmacy, do pharmacy. If you like sitting on the street panhandling, do that. Whatever you do, do it because you want to, not because your parents want you to.
     
  9. Cram Happy Er

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  10. neogenesis713

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    Yes, I am still naive and uncertain undergrad. I know I may look like an idiot. (Yes, maybe I am an idiot) I did, however, managed to pick up some useful stuff here... so thanks for great feedback. I think I will transfe to science ASAP.

    BTW, does it matter where I get my pharmacy degree? Being an engineering student, I know getting a degree in Waterloo will offer good career advantage... but I know doctor/dentistry degree... don't care as long as they have a degree...

    As well, how hard is it to get in pharmacy school from your experience? I thought I would be ok because my GPA is 3.8 right now (Which may not mean much cause I just finished one term..) U of Alberta has one of the best pharm school (100 years old) in Canada...and it accepts 130 with 3.5 min GPA...

    Your welcome of calling me an idiot. I eat pressure for breakfast everyday...

    - neogenesis713
     
  11. Kruton

    Kruton Professionally Rad
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    If you have all of your pre-reqs done with that 3.8 (I may be reading something incorrectly) I would say you have a great shot at Pharmacy School. Just make sure you get a decent PCAT.

    From what I have picked up on here, established, traditional schools are generally more respected than newer, for-profit, private institutions. But I have just about exhausted my knowledge as I am still in HS worrying about undergrad.

    But GL to you in whatever you decide to do. Do what you really want, both are great careers.:thumbup:
     
  12. SHC1984

    SHC1984 Membership Revoked
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    If money is the only thing you care about then go into dentistry. People that only care about money and nothing else go into dentistry. however, ONLY go into dentistry IF your parents are paying for your tuition AND private practice!!! or else you will be million+ in DEBT and hating life! :laugh:

    If you don't like touching people or seeing nasty **** like myself AND you only care about money and nothing else...then go into business. Investment bankers, commerical real estate agents, CEO, hedge fund analyst etc. have the POTENTIAL (I say potential NOT guarntee! please don't misread!) They have the POTENTIAL to make a lot more $$$ then pharmacist. People that are looking to get super rich shouldn't go into pharmacy...Investment banking is the better way to go. good luck!
     
  13. xscpx

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    Just so you know, Canadian pharmacy schools don't accept non-Canadians easily. UBC for example, does not admit international students at all.
     
  14. neogenesis713

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    It's all good. I am currently attending Canadian university as a permanent resident anyway...
     
  15. cdpiano27

    cdpiano27 Senior Member
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    I think neogenesis713 is a Canadian citizen of South Korean descent. So that should not be a concern.
     
  16. Epenth

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    This hit the bullseye.

    Working in pharmacy requires interest and motivation. If you don't have this, you won't be happy and will end up dreading work. Personally, pharmacy is very interesting and I'd love to work in the field for the rest of my life. But this doesn't apply to everyone else because I've talked to people who just hate the job and hate going to school for 6-8 years "to end up ringing up someone else's canned food at the cash register." But I don't see it this way because there are other wonderful aspects to pharmacy.
     
  17. neogenesis713

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    The issue is that it's difficult to know exactly whether it will be right for me or not. I start volunteering next week... so I'll see if that will help. I did work in ER of my local hospital... and I am happy with everything except for hospital bureaucracy.

    Well, Kruton... my GPA applies only to my first term of engineering... and I think only 3 out of 5 courses I took are related to pharm requirement. (First year chem, calc and physics... but not sure since these courses focus on engineering prospective...) I'm sure there are more science students than my engineering, so it may get a bit more difficult... but who knows. Highest min. GPA is 3.5 (From U of Alberta), so 3.6-3.7 should be a safe average... maybe?

    I do know that traditional schools are more respected, but I wonder if your university makes a huge influence when searching for job. I know in engineering field, your school will make some impact (Reason why I went to Waterloo... US schools are so expensive) but I am pretty certain that your career is guranateed if you are a doctor, regardless of where you got the degree. (Can you imagine unemployed doctor these days LOL)

    What I want to know is whether the school has any signifcant impact for pharmacist students looking for job. I heard that 70%-ish end up in retail store while the rest gets more interesting and high paying jobs... (Not sure about this info... so don't start flame on this)

    SHC1984, I could use some nice income... but I believe I already expressed my concern that money isn't all I want. (Otherwise, I would probably stick with engineering cause pay's better after a decade or so...) Pharm income is decent, and maybe I'll get lucky with overtime/bonus. (Still don't know the estimate... grrr...)

    Once again, I did mention that business is out of option. Maybe I will play with stocks a bit with my savings once I settle in, but business isn't my thing. I am not that sharp, and I hate the lack of job security in business.
     
  18. wolfpackhal

    wolfpackhal UNC PharmD class of 2013
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    With a PharmD, I do not think it really matters where you got it from, but fully accredited U.S. schools are probably the better choice if you want to be a pharmacist in the U.S.

    Also, I think retail tends to be the higher paying job area for pharmacists. Those "more interesting and higher paying jobs" are kind of like engineering where you will start below 100,000, but potentially work your way up to a really nice salary. Ultimately, it is up to you and how hard you work....you can make big bucks in either field.
     
  19. SHC1984

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    I didn't know engineers can make 150K a year. All the people I know are making around 50K a year....but they are NEW to the job. How long does it take to make 150K a year as an enigneer??? Just wondering...

    Pharmacist make around 110K a year in retail. Thats working 40 hrs a week. If you work more then you get more...HOWEVER, I don't think there is a huge shortage like some of the people are saying here...Just ask anyone from Florida...they will tell you how it really is...so 30-40 hours a week is about how many hours you will get at a retail pharmacy.

    Pharmacy managers make more....and if you are a district pharmacy manager (in retail settings) you make even more...but all that takes time.

    Have you considered dentistry? I was in dental school for a few months before I dropped out....I have a weak stomach and can't handle anything disgusting...but if you don't mind nasty stuff and your parents are welling to pay 300K for your tuition and help you open up a private practice then dentistry is definetly a GREAT way to make a lot of money.
    Good luck! :)
     
  20. MarisaPharmD

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    If it's really about money, mayb you should consider an M.D.
    True, after tax you will only net about 60k so with a family of 4 it won't seem like much.
    Definitely work of volunteer in the health field before making a lifelong decision.
     
  21. SHC1984

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    Dentists (especially Orthodontists and Oral surgeons) make a lot more money than a MD.
    People should go for MD if they like respect and presitage.
    People should go for Dentistry if they like to make alot of money AND don't mind the nasty work. ;)
     
  22. xscpx

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    I think it depends where you are in Florida...We are in quite a shortage where I live.
     
  23. cdpiano27

    cdpiano27 Senior Member
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    Waterloo is a great school. It has now a new pharmacy school, a top notch engineering department, and top notch actuarial science/statistics department. In fact, in the actuarial field, Waterloo basically has a MONOPOLY about who gets into the insurance companies. Very few people from other colleges can get an entry-level job in this field in Canada because Waterloo is THIS established in the field. Perhaps Waterloo has this amount of influence on the job market for engineers as well. Now back to pharmacy. Unless you want some highly specific specialty in the pharmaceutical industry or clinical setting, then the school will not matter so much. Simply go to the school that will cost the least. You can get a pharmacy degree much cheaper in Canada than in the US, especially if you go to UWaterloo or UToronto (I assume your providency residence is Ontario, correct?)
     
  24. CaptainCurl03

    CaptainCurl03 Ohio State pharm student
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    your father seems to have brainwashed you, but at the same time you are canadian so the healthcare system works very differently up there.

    main point - do what you want, not what your dad tells you will be best for you

    tidbits of info - tax is a lot lower in the us than in canada, you will be left with more than 60k after taxes

    pharmacists make more than engineers in the us
    pharmacists can advance and can specialize
    retail pharmacists make about 10k more than hospital unless you are a specialist
    hospital pharmacists managers make about 10k more than staff hospital pharmacists
    i started out majoring in chemical engineering and didn't realize how different engineering and pharmacy really are. i think you will know which is right for you after a year or so (biochem is probably the closest major to pharmacy but you really need to volunteer in a retail and hospital setting so you can see if pharmacy is right for you).

    bottom line - if money is your priority than you will be fine as a pharmacist. pharmacists live well esp if you marry someone who also works - then you will really be fine no matter what their job is.

    it sounds like you really need to do a lot of exploration. get out there and check things out. you can pretty much go anywhere and ask to shadow someone for a day (not that same day of course but schedule a date - everyone's been in your shoes trying to figure out what they want to do with their life so they'll be willing to help).

    good luck with everything. just remember, be proactive - it's your life, you can do whatever you want.
     
  25. bluesickle

    bluesickle ... it begins
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    Yeah but not everyone can choose to be an orthodontist or an oral surgeon. Don't you also have to go to medical school after finishing dental school too?
     
  26. SHC1984

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    Yes, Oral surgeons finish 4 years of DDS and then go 6 years....when they finish they will be DDS/MD. Great if you love presitage. LOL...

    Orthodontist 4 years of dental school and 3 years of ortho residency...

    You are right most people WILL NOT get those two residencies and will be stuck doing general dentistry which really sucks, but if you are lucky as a general dentists you can also make a lot of money if you gear your practice towards cosmetic dentistry (implants=$$$). But the work is extremely gross.

    The point is if the OP is soooooo set on make a lot of money and his family is paying for his full tuition then dentistry is the way to go. Dentistry doesn't guarntee a lot of money but there is a potential in making a lot of money.

    But personally I still think pharmacy >> dentistry >>>>>>> medicine. :laugh:
     

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