Jan 21, 2015
306
358
Status
Dental Student
So my nephew is starting his second year of college and told me he wants to be a pharmacist. He think since I am also in health care, I would know a thing or two. He thinks health care would offer a stable career and he doesn't like the other "messier" professions.

I personally can't even recommend my own profession (dentistry) to him, and I heard pharmacy isn't doing much better (especially in cali where we're from). The opportunity cost of 4 years education on top of student debt is such a huge set back to a good living. Then again, I only know what it is like for dentistry and have only heard rumors about pharmacy; I am not in the profession so I don't know for sure.

What does SDN think? Would you recommend pharmacy to a family member?
 

stoichiometrist

7+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2011
2,195
2,187
Absolutely not pharmacy. Despite what others are saying, most of the health professions (maybe outside of physician assistant) are saturated and require a considerable amount of tuition. I would recommend alternative careers, i.e. software engineering that are in high demand especially in California and do not require you to graduate with $200k+ in loans into a depressed job market.
 

Ph4rmacistJ

"We'll have it ready in about an hour"
2+ Year Member
Aug 12, 2015
146
87
Industry, California
Status
Pharmacy Student
I have a few friends who are associated with the dental profession and most of them are living pretty lavish lifestyles.

Pharmacy? It's all about how you save your money and whether or not you'll grind the hardest after graduation. My aunt drives a porsche and lives in Cali working for a retail and an independent pharmacy.

The profession is what you make it. Go where your passions lie.
 
Oct 8, 2015
15
3
Status
Pharmacy Student
If your nephew wants to live in Cali, I'd recommend going with physician assistant. Cali just opened a few more pharmacy schools in the past few years, so I don't think there will be a job for him when he finishes unless he is willing to relocate to an undesirable place. I know some graduates that went into residency because they couldn't get a job after graduating. Maybe there will be a PGY3 by the time he finishes ;) Even retail might start requiring residency by the time he finishes

If he is really passionate about pharmacy, I'd say go with it as long as he knows the risk.
 
Jun 13, 2016
30
18
Ask your nephew what he desires out of the healthcare field. Does he want to provide physical exams, assess, diagnose and treat patients with diseases/illnesses? Or does he want to work in a retail pharmacy where you stand up all day with no breaks answering telephones, verifying prescriptions, counting pills, and constantly getting disrespected by everyone that walks by? If he wants to be a "clinical pharmacist" I suggest he become a MD/DO/PA/NP instead. Anyways, have him shadow a pharmacist and another provider (MD/DO/PA/NP) and he'll decide what he likes. Either that or just avoid the healthcare field overall.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
 

farm_assist

2+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2014
47
40
Status
Pharmacist
I worked as a clinical pharmacist for 10 years. I'm currently in medical school. Pharmacy was great to me, when I graduated in 2005. Since then, the combination of the economy crash and a new pharmacy school that emerges every time the wind blows has left the market in a bad place. It didn't affect me much because I was already established, but I know for a fact that new graduates were offered a significantly lower salary than in previous years. Supply and demand, the market is saturated. I used to encourage people to go into pharmacy but not anymore. The marked is bad and pharmacist responsibilities are continually being outsourced or delegated to lower paid individuals. At least in the hospital setting.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
 

Ph4rmacistJ

"We'll have it ready in about an hour"
2+ Year Member
Aug 12, 2015
146
87
Industry, California
Status
Pharmacy Student
It's true, clinical pharmacists definitely don't make near as much as a retail pharmacist unless you're pharmacy director at a hospital. People typically work full-time retail and part-time hospital to even it out. Retail is where the money's at.
 

farm_assist

2+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2014
47
40
Status
Pharmacist
I was well into six figures, but new grads at my hospital weren't even breaking six figures by the time I left. Bad trajectory. Perhaps the future is brighter in retail but that can be a challenging gig.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
 

Ph4rmacistJ

"We'll have it ready in about an hour"
2+ Year Member
Aug 12, 2015
146
87
Industry, California
Status
Pharmacy Student
It's still the same in the clinical setting, I don't believe pharmacists now a days working in hospitals even get OT. The profession isn't necessarily going "down hill", but it really isn't in the greatest place either. I had really wanted to pursue dentistry, but after working in a pharmacy for over four years; pharmacy school was my passion. It's just that even after pharmacy school, most graduates have to be able to set themselves apart with residencies or (a variety of it for one thing) experience.
 
OP
C
Jan 21, 2015
306
358
Status
Dental Student
If your nephew has never worked in a pharmacy he has no idea what he is talking about let alone what he wants.
That's exactly right.

I asked a bit more and he said he went with his friend to a pre-pharmacy club. That's what got him excited for pharmacy.
I remember my pre-health days... Lot of "enthusiasm" that's for sure.
 

Amicable Angora

Lagomorpha
7+ Year Member
Oct 5, 2012
1,370
815
Status
Pharmacist
That's exactly right.

I asked a bit more and he said he went with his friend to a pre-pharmacy club. That's what got him excited for pharmacy.
I remember my pre-health days... Lot of "enthusiasm" that's for sure.
Tell him to go shadow a retail pharmacist for 4 hours (or just stand by the pharmacy and watch the workflow for a couple hours). If he is still enthusiastic, then power to him!
 

farm_assist

2+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2014
47
40
Status
Pharmacist
Every health care field, or every field in general has crap you have to deal with. Pharmacy has good and bad. It certainly gave me opportunities to help people, and provided a good lifestyle, which for me, outweighed the bad. The main reason that I do not recommend it anymore is because of how the supply and demand has changed dramatically, and unfavorably for aspiring pharmacists. Health care institutions are also actively looking for ways to remove pharmacists from workflow in favor of lesser paid employees. For example in my former hospital, dietitians have taken over what was once pharmacy's responsibility of total parenteral nutrition orders (intravenous "feeding"). Technicians are starting to check technicians for medication refills. Dispensing machines are being refilled from a central location, reducing the number of pharmacists needed on-site. All measure to improve the bottom line by cutting personnel expenses. All the while, pharmacy schools are steadily increasing the number of graduates. Greater supply meets lesser demand. If anyone is that passionate about it, by all means follow your passion, but it's shaping up to be a risky numbers game, in my humble opinion.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile