Apr 9, 2010
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hello, I'm a student about to enter college and I know that I really enjoy Chemistry. However, I don't know exactly what to do when i get to college, this summer im sending out applications to some Big ten schools. Mainly because they're close and have PharmD/PHD programs.

My questions are: if I want to make pills should i just do medicinal chemistry? Can I get a job making pills with a PharmD? How often do people stay in research? Should my PHD be in medicnal chemistry, Pharmacology, or Pharmaceutical sciences? How much Chemistry is in a pharmacists work? how much does a medicinal Chemist earn a year?

I really love chemistry, But i also really want to have a stable job, and though i think research would be amazing i have no official standing on it since i haven't done anything outside of AP chem and AP Bio. I have, however, interned at a pharmacy and the pharmacist seemed pleased with her job, she was kind and really liked what she was doing, but it was 8 hours of her on her feet, she got no break and people just yelled at her, I didn't really see anything with her actually doing chemistry.
 

pearljam5a1

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Well, the best advice I can give you would be to reevaluate how much you enjoy chemistry after you've taken some classes in college. College is a big change from high school and you really won't know how you feel about certain subjects until it's 2 am the night before the final.

Practicing pharmacists rarely use any chemistry. The chemistry that is required is usually available in databases. Some examples for a hospital pharmacist would be making sure that certain drugs are soluble, or compatible in a certain IV fluid. Will the drugs react with each other? Things like that are already answered for us in either the drug literature or able to be looked up with a computer program. One of the biggest things you'll learn is that you need to know where to look information up to get the answer you need.

I've seen PharmD's that go straight into research without a PhD but if you are interested in research I would definitely recommend a dual PharmD/PhD degree. Keep in mind that this adds on 6-7 years to your time in school after you graduate from pharmacy school. Also, you need to understand that pharmacists are not confined to being in a community setting (Walgreens, Rite-aid, etc.). There are more opportunities out there and I suggest you research that a bit.
 

Project2015

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Applications already when you're just about to start college?

Drug production.. medicinal chemistry is a possible route. But PharmD isn't really suited for such an early phase of medicine. Many people do not stay in research because it is intense (huge amount of work and you don't always get results despite doing all the planning and background researching, funding issues) for a relatively moderate compensation, unless you make it big. Certainly no one goes into research for the money. I believe the PhD can be in anything related to the field. Perhaps you may not have realized this, but PhD programs don't really teach you particular knowledge. Rather, it trains you to be a independent investigator to tackle any question (to a certain extent) that you're interested in. My opinion is that all types of health professionals don't really use science (beyond the basics) on a daily basis; it's more application and patient care.

It sounds like you should go for a PhD or PhD/PharmD. A dual degree would only take about 8-10 (4 for PharmD, and at least 4, average of 5, for PhD) years total. A PharmD only would limit your research opportunities to the final stages of the drug development process.
 
Apr 9, 2010
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thanks for the advice, and Ill be sure to look into what i really do enjoy in college, But I hear its good to have an idea. I did research PharmD's and I understand that they can do research but like project said its in the later stages, I would much rather be the one synthesizing the drug. Right now its more of a dream to work for A Research team designing that pill that stops diabetes or AIDS or Ebola. lol

I Guess really im just confused in what i want like the actual Clinicial practicing of Pharmacy sounds fun but kind of a waste of all that education. What exactly do you do in a Hospital pharmacy that makes it different from a typical pharmacy?
 

phathead

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Check out degrees in pharmacology as well.

I will second the other posters, you barely scratch the surface of chemistry in high school. I went into college thinking I was more bio oriented but I'm leaving it with a fascination of organic and biochemistry.
 

pearljam5a1

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thanks for the advice, and Ill be sure to look into what i really do enjoy in college, But I hear its good to have an idea. I did research PharmD's and I understand that they can do research but like project said its in the later stages, I would much rather be the one synthesizing the drug. Right now its more of a dream to work for A Research team designing that pill that stops diabetes or AIDS or Ebola. lol

I Guess really im just confused in what i want like the actual Clinicial practicing of Pharmacy sounds fun but kind of a waste of all that education. What exactly do you do in a Hospital pharmacy that makes it different from a typical pharmacy?
The "clinical practice of pharmacy" is not a waste of all that education, at least I hope not. It's the main reason I went to school to become a pharmacist.

A pharmacist working in a hospital can have a number of roles. Some examples would be a staff pharmacist (verifies doctors orders and checks meds before they go to the floors), a "clinical" pharmacist (works more directly with the MD's and nurses in patient care and may be specialized in a specific area, ie Oncology, Internal Med, etc), ambulatory care (more like a community pharmacist -- outpatient meds, discharges from the hospital, and even employee meds), drug information (formulary changes/recommendations), administration (the "boss" figures), and I'm sure there's more.

In a lot of hospitals the role of a pharmacist bounces back and forth between the different roles. Hybridization is something that you get used to. One day you may be sitting at a computer all day verifying orders in the main pharmacy and another you might be in the IV room. Once again this really all depends on which hospital you work at because they all have different characteristics.