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Is Pharmacy saturated? And should I still pursue Pharmacy as a career?

Discussion in 'Pre-Pharmacy' started by futuremedicalsavior, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. stoichiometrist

    7+ Year Member

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    How much do these pay, and are they as widespread as retail pharmacist positions?

    Even if these positions are widely available I can’t see how it is a good investment to take out $200k+ in loans and lose out in 4 years of earnings if these positions pay half the salary of a pharmacist and don’t even require a PharmD or license.

    Exit: *widespread
     
    #51 stoichiometrist, May 18, 2018
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
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  3. Secret_Informant

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    The average is about $40,000-$70,000 for a reporting analyst according to Glassdoor and multiple companies reviewed in Florida. Medical writer pays about $51,000-$69,000 depending upon the company you decide to work for. Some pay as high as $85,000 if you are experienced and "really good," but those are in major cities such as Boston, MA. The positions are not as widespread and you may have to move out-of-state to land them. Most medical writer positions require a BS degree only with experience; others for major pharmaceutical companies require a doctoral degree (MD or PhD) in addition to knowledge of regulatory affairs, recent publications, evidence-based research, and the ability to motivate teams. I am not sure if the PharmD qualifies for these jobs but it is worth asking; the skills may be transferable. Because our school's focus was on clinical pharmacy and the medical model of education, my pharmacy school had few opportunities on a pharmaceutical industry level but many opportunities in hospitals and in community pharmacy throughout the area.

    I am only going based off of the reported salaries, which are very small numbers, and the averages posted on those websites. Keep in mind the averages vary widely from company to company. No one reveals their salaries unless they are making lots of money: true with any profession including pharmacy.

    Because I am not employed in a retail pharmacy (and yes I have a PharmD), I cannot make an objective comparison. However, you can see for yourself the average salaries online and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as one source of information. Contrary to the BLS, the income range (not salary) for a PharmD could be as low as $30,000 or as high as $200,000 depending upon how much value you provide to the company and to the profession. Some "choose" to work per-diem and make $30,000 or less while others work for major pharmaceutical companies dwarfing the average reported salaries. No one tells me how much money they make regardless of how I ask the question; it is not a subject people like to talk about (even if I do).
     
    #52 Secret_Informant, May 18, 2018
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
    stoichiometrist likes this.
  4. Secret_Informant

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    Of note, you can teach for a test-preparation company or college on the side while in Pharmacy School or interim between jobs or while waiting for the Authorization to Test for the NAPLEX, MPJE, CPJE, and/or other required pharmacy licensing exams. Colleagues of mine taught for private tutoring as well including but not limited to: Chegg, Princeton Review, and Kaplan (not all at the same time due to conflicts of interest). They did this during school as well while keeping up with EVERYTHING ELSE. I work for one test-prep company not on this list.

    However, after talking with one test-preparation company recruiter, PCAT instructor positions are not in demand in Florida. I cannot speak for other states. If Florida is where you live, or if your state is oversaturated like Florida or worse, it is better to focus on MCAT to pay the bills for now, especially if you have taken it before; earned the qualifying score; and had a "change of heart" to pursue Medicine instead of Pharmacy. We can infer the reason behind the PCAT lack of demand based on the pharmacy market trends, the pharmacy school education bubble, and such issues alluded to already by various SDN members and pharmacist (PharmD, BS, or MS) job seekers.

    Hint: The issues are worse now than before 2014.
     
    #53 Secret_Informant, May 18, 2018
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
  5. Secret_Informant

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    I highly encourage you to read this entire post before responding.

    I am a PharmD who graduated 2 weeks ago who spoke with the Pharmacy Directors for two corporate hospitals in TX (Corpus Christi and El Paso locations). I went to pharmacy school in Florida (Go Figure), considering licensure for five states: NC, NY, TX, FL (for family support), and CO. I can only afford one: Florida. The positions for a Staff Pharmacist, from the words of the Directors and Hospital System in TX, require a pharmacist license (RPh) in that state before the applicant is considered; that system will not hire in lieu of being granted licensure by their Board of Pharmacy. This is true for the Largo, FL Central Supply Chain Pharmacy too. In other words, if I have my license for TX (or my chosen state) granted by their Board of Pharmacy, then I can be considered. Most retail pharmacies and independent pharmacies follow the same logic; no license, no pharmacist job. That is, unless the employer is willing to wait for me to obtain the license. The outcome of those applications was simple: "Not Under Consideration." I also had three rotations with that same company and earned As in all 3.

    Sidenote: Some nuclear pharmacies can train recent graduates, but only if that company has a position available and if you are willing to undergo the required Authorized Use training. Not every pharmacy student has a pharmacy job (or a job) of any kind lined up THE DAY AFTER the Commencement Ceremony or before. Even if they are hired, they are still waiting to be given hours to work.

    Some of my pharmacy colleagues (PharmD graduates) are still waiting for their Authorization To Test (ATT) from the Florida Board of Pharmacy; furthermore, we were not allowed to send our applications before our graduation date lest we receive a Deficiency Letter within two business days of applying. Why you may ask? Our Board of Pharmacy Contact experienced too many applications from the upcoming 2018 graduates, school notwithstanding. One pharmacy school in our state (information via a colleague of mine) provided their students an eight-day window to apply for licensure BEFORE graduation; their graduation was May 7. Our official graduation date was May 4; we were not allowed to send the application to the MQA until after May 4. We can apply to take the NAPLEX and MPJE via the NABP at any time. It was not the intention of our Experiential Director or any faculty or staff member to have this happen for us, but it happened to us anyways. Assuming what my colleague relayed was true information, the other school was allowed to apply for their pharmacist licensure on April 30th. Five extra days (assuming you send the application May 5) could mean the difference between residency acceptance or rejection because the acceptance into a residency program is conditional. In other words, the pharmacist license is required by a specific deadline. Pharmacy residents are in even tighter spots than graduates whom were not accepted. I'm fortunate I can apply to Community Colleges to teach as an Adjunct Instructor with a Master of Science degree; I have no knowledge of those with a Bachelor of Science or simply the PharmD prerequisites in a similar situation or those who have not earned residencies or fellowships post-PharmD.

    Our licensure is being delayed by sources beyond our control in addition to the job woes discussed on this thread and others. What are your suggestions for handling these situations other than "make yourself available," "relocate," and pass the licensure exams? Furthermore, how would you suggest we pass the time other than study for the exams or find jobs in the meantime for necessary income? I made myself available and continue to do so frequently with no offers or considerations beyond the initial online application process.

    One recruiter for a well-known pharmacy staffing agency, whom is not a pharmacist, also discussed with me over the phone the oversaturation as well as the increasing competitiveness for jobs. Oversaturation is not news to experienced pharmacists or to certain members of the public, just a circular argument that never ends unless our generation ends it.

    If you have any questions or concerns or if you feel my information is false, PM me and we can talk via a private conversation.

    Suggestions are welcome and expected. This oversaturation has gone on too long; a reality, not a phenomenon.
     
    #54 Secret_Informant, May 20, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
    lalaland33 likes this.
  6. Saisri_PharmStdnt

    Saisri_PharmStdnt Class of 2023

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    There are more Pharmacy jobs out there than just Retail. I currently work in a PBM, and it is why I'm now applying to Pharmacy school. My position as a pharmacist would be in a clinical setting, and there are many of them out there. Look into PBMs and Insurance and see if helping patients on a more national/global scale may be of interest to you as an alternative to face to face care. Many of the pharmacists I work with came from retail, or interned here and came straight here.

    For example, the large PBMs hire pharmacists for a variety of roles not limited to: Prescription Authorization, Appeals, Patient Care (talking to patients with multiple disease states), Quality Assurance, Fraud, etc!
     
  7. Secret_Informant

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    Because each of these positions involves insurance payments, prior authorization criteria, access pathways to care, and reducing drug spending, such positions were of interest to me during my PY1 year. Being a P&T Competition participant during pharmacy school also encouraged me to seek such roles. However, I was not allowed into those companies because I have not worked in a retail setting. I worked as a hospital pharmacy technician, but my experience was separated by 3-4 years before matriculating into pharmacy school; because I did not work retail, I was treated as if I had no experience at all and could not get into CVS, Walgreens, Elsevier, Mayo Clinic, or the US Department of Veterans Affairs (what we as pharmacists call the VA). If you have a disability that prevents multitasking, executive functioning, and empathy with or without reasonable accommodations, then retail and consequently PBM opportunities are not for you. Many of my colleagues have at least a few months to three years experience as a pharmacist (some with internships during pharmacy school) prior to earning these roles. Some had a rotation and attained that role after doing a stellar job.

    Take-home message: One has to "do" retail first, then apply to PBMs once the said individual has experience, regardless of whether an intern or a pharmacist. Some people cannot handle the retail setting for whatever the reason to get their "foot in the door" into a PBM or land a position to see if it is right for them. For those fortunate enough to earn internships, it is as if you have to do the bad stuff in order to get the good stuff later.

    What is your proposal on how to handle access to training issues?
     
    #56 Secret_Informant, May 21, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
  8. Saisri_PharmStdnt

    Saisri_PharmStdnt Class of 2023

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    I work for CVS Health out of Phoenix. I can tell you that we have absolutely hired pharmacists into the PBM setting without retail experience. Some work out, some don't. From what I have seen and heard, here's what I suggest:

    • Make it known that your interest doesn't like with single-patient care, but patient care on a more global level.
    • I would not focus on the reasons you don't want to work retail, but emphasize what makes you a qualified candidate for a PBM
    • Residencies and/or types of rotations matter! - if you're planning on applying without previous retail experience, the experience you gain in your rotations and/or residency matters because it shows you put thought and preparation into the role.
    • Be well spoken.
    • Ask what would make you an even better candidate - before finding out whether or not you got the job.
    • Referrals help with at least getting you that interview :)

    I'm not going to sell you on the company I work for or any company, but if you want more info on CVS Health, you can PM me and I can see what I can help you with :)
     
    lalaland33 likes this.
  9. UGAZ

    UGAZ SDN Gold Donor
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    To the original question: YES , Pharmacy is saturated. Some areas are more saturated than others, but the bottom line is you have to fight hard for a job.
     
  10. BidingMyTime

    BidingMyTime Lost Shaker Of Salt
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    One option, if you have a BS degree, I would take whatever classes are needed to be certified as a teacher. If you don't have a BS degree, you could look for a job teaching community college classes (like pharmacy calculations to nursing students), or for a teaching job at a pharmacy technician school (both of these jobs will probably be part-time and low-pay.)
     
  11. ExpressMaiL

    ExpressMaiL alea iacta est
    Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

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    I recommend you explore these options:

    1. PA
    2. NP
    3. Family med/internal med in an accelerated program + loan forgiveness
    4. tech-related industries
     
  12. BidingMyTime

    BidingMyTime Lost Shaker Of Salt
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    Reality is, 30% of pharmacist jobs are in hospital, and 65% in retail. The vast majority of pharmacists will be working in 1 of these 2 areas. Of the remaining 5% of pharmacist jobs, 4% are in LTC. Only 1% are the "unicorn" jobs in PBM's or industry, etc. These jobs are extremely competitive. Nobody should go into pharmacy planning to work one of these jobs, because unless they have a parent who owns the company, chances are they will not be working in 1 of those jobs. Retail or hospital are the only realistic job options for the majority of people (with the majority of those jobs being in retail, so nobody should go into pharmacy, unless they would be satisfied working in retail.)
     
  13. Pharm0112

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    What is wrong with retail? Sure, the job could be a little stressful, but that is why retail pays more than any others and more job security. I dont know what you guys are complaining about. If you do not like it, just quit. Dealing with patient is the nature of this job.

    Do not listen to these people in this forum, false statements at all time. Pursue this field if you love this field, period
     
  14. stoichiometrist

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    Many of the same people who claim they "love" the field are the same ones who never bothered to work in a pharmacy before going to pharmacy school, then realize that retail is not for them after 2 years into school.
     
  15. Saisri_PharmStdnt

    Saisri_PharmStdnt Class of 2023

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    I work for CVS Health, but for the CVS Caremark - PBM side. I'm also in my 40s, and I'll be a lot closer to 50 when I graduate, so no.. personally I don't want to work retail, but I think it's a fantastic opportunity for many people. I can only speak for myself, but I do like to remind people that retail pharmacists aren't the only pharmacists. Some people really just don't realize that.
     
  16. sozetone

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    There is no way to talk these kids out of going into pharmacy. They have to learn for themselves. The millenials especially are out of touch with reality. The schools keep telling them to be more competitive, right? get a residency, right? exactly how many infectious disease clinical pharmacists are really needed in this country, compared to community pharmacy? Your going to specialize yourselves OUT of a job. Then, no one will hire you in retail, which doesn't really matter, because there are no jobs their either!! lol. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. this is a dying profession. Do your research before you dedicate your life to something. You could do that , at the very least. Me? I was committed before all this went down. So i have no regrets.
     
  17. Pharm0112

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    please stop this!
    how many pharmacists u know, that do not have a job? seriously
    stop all this saturation bla bla bs.
     
  18. Saisri_PharmStdnt

    Saisri_PharmStdnt Class of 2023

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    CVS has 900+ pharmacist or pharmacist manager positions open across the country. Looked today from work from the external view. Most are retail, a few PBM, a few LTC, and some others too that I didn't have time to research.

    Here's the search. You can narrow it to your state:
    Join #TeamCVS - we're hiring! | Jobs at CVS HEALTH [Edit - The link renamed itself. I am not trying to recruit anyone. Just posting the link]

    That's just one company. Others may also have positions open, too. I just didn't look.
     
  19. medst09

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    I read a lot that besides new graduates and new school students opening, there are a lot of foreign graduates from Asia who are already pharmacists and just retake exams to be licensed in USA. Can that be a problem of saturation?
     
  20. VictorOfHungerGames

    VictorOfHungerGames May the odds be ever in your favor

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    You're not your. There not their. Pharmacy is as of dying profession as any other medical profession. ID pharmacists are needed in almost every major hospital.
     
  21. stoichiometrist

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    Not as much as the number of students graduating each year having doubled over the last 10-15 years.
     
  22. BidingMyTime

    BidingMyTime Lost Shaker Of Salt
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    There is absolutely nothing wrong with retail, and I never said there was. I love both hospital and retail sides of pharmacy. BUT, there are a lot of threads here, including posts in this thread, from potential students/current students who say they would "never" work retail. I'm pointing out that this is ridiculous, because the majority of pharmacist jobs are in retail--so if one would not be satisfied working retail, then they shouldn't go into pharmacy, because statistically, they will get a job in retail. There is nothing wrong with having a goal or working hospital or "clinical", but anyone going into pharmacy needs to accept the reality that they may never find a job in those areas (especially if they aren't willing to relocate.)
     
  23. stoichiometrist

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    Saying “I never want to work retail” is like the average person saying “I’m never going to get a job that pays less than $70k/year (roughly 70th percentile).”
     

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