esteb

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Are there any pharmacy students out there who will be in the military right after pharmacy school? Air Force, Navy, etch. My friend is in the air force and told me about the need of pharmacists serving in the military? If there is anyone out there who will be following this path in life, what are your thoughts about it? pros vs con I'm curious. Thanks.
 

patmcd

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You'd have better luck in the military forum. Its generally related to med students, but a lot of what they discuss would apply to you too.
 

2bePharmD

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esteb said:
Are there any pharmacy students out there who will be in the military right after pharmacy school? Air Force, Navy, etch. My friend is in the air force and told me about the need of pharmacists serving in the military? If there is anyone out there who will be following this path in life, what are your thoughts about it? pros vs con I'm curious. Thanks.
There was a thread on here maybe a few months back that talked about this. Try the search function to see if you can find it.
 
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baggywrinkle

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esteb said:
Are there any pharmacy students out there who will be in the military right after pharmacy school? Air Force, Navy, etch. My friend is in the air force and told me about the need of pharmacists serving in the military? If there is anyone out there who will be following this path in life, what are your thoughts about it? pros vs con I'm curious. Thanks.
I'm an Army CIVILIAN Pharmacist and I can tell you it is a decent lifestyle. The military pharmacists I work with have a good life. What it lacks in pay it makes up with decreased stress and time off. Did I say time off?
Look on your calendar at all the holidays. The Federal government takes every
doggone one of them off. Then there are training holidays, and we haven't even gotten to annual leave yet. As a civilian with three years prior service I get 156 hours of annual leave a year. What's more you can actually TAKE your leave without someone whining at you that you need to find your own
coverage to replace you while you are gone. You can save it up and roll it over year to year for that big euro vacation you dream of. Or you can poop around with a day here and a day there. I've scheduled myself a three day weekend on top of the regular holidays each month for the rest of the year.

Military outpatient pharmacy is tedious monotonous work so you NEED your
time off to recharge. Polish your counseling skills because you will be talking the ears off a rubber rabbit. The formulary is restricted in the extreme and there are rampant therapeutic guidelines (Physician specialties other than psych are restricted to ordering a seven day supply of Ambien at a time. Lunesta is non-formulary so forget it) The pharmacies are laid out generically
and because their formulary is soo restricted I would recommend a new grad get some experience on the outside or plan on doing some moonlighting to stay fresh. My Colonel in charge of pharmacy services is retiring this summer and he is NOT PREPARED for what he will encounter in the real world.
He's a great guy, but he's a paper pusher.

You only need maintain one license to practice anywhere in the world, and you CAN practice anywhere in the world. I work with a guy who came from Hawaii to Washington, and another who did two years in Germany. The position is open, you apply - it is that simple for CIVILIANS. Military folks get deployed where they are needed and these days that means the sandbox.
The pay is okay. I'm classified as a GS-11 step seven which translates into
84,000 per year. Not the fast track to riches, but if you are in it for the money you can work for SLAVON or do like another colleague of mine and
moonlight with an agency. He told me he made another eighty grand working on the side. I think he's insane. Life is too short. But I digress.

Bottom line. Don't turn your nose up at the government positions be they
the uniformed services including the Health Service or working for the government in a civilian capacity. I personally think the later is the way to go because when you get sick of it you can walk out. A soldier cannot do that.

If this tells you anything the pharmacists who do this work tend to be very stable in their positions. There is not much turnover. Once you are in you find that you really are part of a very tight knit group - the military family. They take care of their own.
 

trice13

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baggywrinkle said:
I'm an Army CIVILIAN Pharmacist and I can tell you it is a decent lifestyle. The military pharmacists I work with have a good life. What it lacks in pay it makes up with decreased stress and time off. Did I say time off?
Look on your calendar at all the holidays. The Federal government takes every
doggone one of them off. Then there are training holidays, and we haven't even gotten to annual leave yet. As a civilian with three years prior service I get 156 hours of annual leave a year. What's more you can actually TAKE your leave without someone whining at you that you need to find your own
coverage to replace you while you are gone. You can save it up and roll it over year to year for that big euro vacation you dream of. Or you can poop around with a day here and a day there. I've scheduled myself a three day weekend on top of the regular holidays each month for the rest of the year.

Military outpatient pharmacy is tedious monotonous work so you NEED your
time off to recharge. Polish your counseling skills because you will be talking the ears off a rubber rabbit. The formulary is restricted in the extreme and there are rampant therapeutic guidelines (Physician specialties other than psych are restricted to ordering a seven day supply of Ambien at a time. Lunesta is non-formulary so forget it) The pharmacies are laid out generically
and because their formulary is soo restricted I would recommend a new grad get some experience on the outside or plan on doing some moonlighting to stay fresh. My Colonel in charge of pharmacy services is retiring this summer and he is NOT PREPARED for what he will encounter in the real world.
He's a great guy, but he's a paper pusher.

You only need maintain one license to practice anywhere in the world, and you CAN practice anywhere in the world. I work with a guy who came from Hawaii to Washington, and another who did two years in Germany. The position is open, you apply - it is that simple for CIVILIANS. Military folks get deployed where they are needed and these days that means the sandbox.
The pay is okay. I'm classified as a GS-11 step seven which translates into
84,000 per year. Not the fast track to riches, but if you are in it for the money you can work for SLAVON or do like another colleague of mine and
moonlight with an agency. He told me he made another eighty grand working on the side. I think he's insane. Life is too short. But I digress.

Bottom line. Don't turn your nose up at the government positions be they
the uniformed services including the Health Service or working for the government in a civilian capacity. I personally think the later is the way to go because when you get sick of it you can walk out. A soldier cannot do that.

If this tells you anything the pharmacists who do this work tend to be very stable in their positions. There is not much turnover. Once you are in you find that you really are part of a very tight knit group - the military family. They take care of their own.
Does the military offer loan repayment as an incentive to civilian Pharmacists?
 

PharmD2MD

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esteb said:
Are there any pharmacy students out there who will be in the military right after pharmacy school? Air Force, Navy, etch. My friend is in the air force and told me about the need of pharmacists serving in the military? If there is anyone out there who will be following this path in life, what are your thoughts about it? pros vs con I'm curious. Thanks.
I was an active duty Navy pharmacist for about 3 1/2 years. I'm off to med school in two weeks, but I don't regret doing Navy pharmacy. I was able experience a lot of things that most civilian pharmacists don't, got some great leadership experience, lived in some cool places, got some $$ for school, did a residency, plus made some excellent friends. I love the military and I'm actually going back in to go to med school (USUHS). I'd encourage you to take a good look at the military. Even if you don't make it a career, it's some thing that you will always be proud of and it looks great on your CV.
 

baggywrinkle

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trice13 said:
Does the military offer loan repayment as an incentive to civilian Pharmacists?
No they do not. They offered me a $3000 bonus which was the best they could muster.

Now if you want to accept a commission and take an oath they might be willing to deal with something like that, but I'll wager it will cost you a six year commitment.
 

oakland_raiders

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baggywrinkle said:
No they do not. They offered me a $3000 bonus which was the best they could muster.

Now if you want to accept a commission and take an oath they might be willing to deal with something like that, but I'll wager it will cost you a six year commitment.
Not true.
Currently the Navy is offering a $30,000 sign on bonus for a 4 year obligation (it may be three years, but I am pretty sure it is 4) if you already have your Pharm D. The Navy also has another program where they will pick up your last 2 years of pharmacy school (tuition, books, lab fees, everything) plus you draw E-6 pay (about $27K per year) and accrue time towards retirement. The drawback is that they will send you where they need you when you graduate, so you have less control over your future then taking the signing bonus path. I am not sure what the obligation length is for this program.
The Army just approved a program to pay up to $117,000 in loan repayment to recruit Pharm D grads. It is payed in 4 annual lump sum payments after taxes. You owe 4 years but one year is a residency.
I do not know what the Air Force is offering, but I know an AF Pharm D. theat recieved a $35K sign on bonus 3 years ago.
If you are interested is being a military pharmacist then I highly suggest you go to your nearest Military Hospital (the bigger, the better) look up the Pharmacy Commander, who is an active duty O-5 or O-6, and make an appointment to introduce yourself and ask questions. When I did this everyone was very eager to help and answer all my questions. I am doing this at a large military hospital near me. I have a relatively easy shadowing schedule with the pharmacists there, I am truly getting a great picture of what their jobs and careers are like and I am setting myself up for some killer LORs.

I also strongly suggest that you find your nearest MEDICAL Military Recuiter for the branch of military you are interested in. The officers at the military hospitals can help you find that person. DO NOT go to a general recruiting office, they will not have a clue.

Below is a re-post I put up early this year regarding the pay issue for commisioned military pharmacists. Please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions and if I don't know the answer, maybe I can point you in the right direction. Good luck!!
 

oakland_raiders

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkelloww
Probably the reason most want to get out is because of the pay difference. It is significant. ~65K vs 100K.




Actually, no. The reason most get out is because they do not want to be in the military. If they do think there is a huge pay difference it is because they are uninformed. I am an active duty military officer and my wife is a Pharm D (civilian hospital pharmacist). If the planets align I will start pharmacy school in the fall of ’07. I speak to people frequently who either are currently military pharmacists or want to be. The biggest objections I hear are the pay differences and the risk of deployments.

Here is the reality on the money issue. Military pay AND BENEFITS are structured drastically different then civilian pay. Military pay consists of salary, food allowance, and housing allowance. Housing allowance is about 20% of your total pay and is not taxed (that means no fed, state, social security, Medicare, etc). Calculate how much greater your current take home pay would be if 20% of what you make had no deductions. You do not pay for medical (including ALL prescription drugs), dental, or vision insurance. You automatically have term life insurance for free (I think it is $200,000) and you can opt in for more (I pay $30 a month for $400k on me and $200k on my wife, try matching that in the civilian sector). If you get hurt, there is no disability insurance at 60% of your pay...you draw full pay, and there is no fee for that either. You do not pay into a 401K plan because of the military retirement plan-After 20 years of service you draw a retirement check each month that is 50% of your base pay when you retired (if you enter service as a pharmacist at the age of 26 you can retire and start drawing a pension check at 46), you can earn up to 75% for 30 years of service. In addition you have post privileges to the commissary (we pay about 25% less then a grocery store, figure out those savings over the rest of your life), PX, and a wealth of recreational facilities at any military base (it costs me $16 to play 18 holes of golf on saturday morning). My wife does make more money then I do of course, but what actually gets deposited into our checking accounts is not drastically different. Oh by the way, if you do get deployed you have NO DEDUCTIONS for taxes, social security, medicare, etc from ANY of your pay for the duration of the deployment and you get hazardous duty pay and family separation pay on top of it.

Most pharmacists who get out of the military do so because they do not want to be in the military and entered for the wrong reasons. It is easier to say “I am getting out for the money” then to say “I made a poor decision” or “I didn’t know what I was getting into.” Many new pharmacists see the $40,000-$60,000 of debt relief that the military offers and don’t look beyond that. It is not symptomatic of pharmacists, many other career fields in the military that offer signing bonuses see the same problems. I guess what I am trying to say is, make sure that you realize that as a military pharmacist you are IN THE MILITARY. It is a tough and stressful environment. You can’t quit, call a headhunter, and start a new job on Monday if you don’t like it. However, it also offers things that you will not get as a civilian pharmacist like camaraderie, tradition, history, and pride. You will be caring for the heroes of this country and the aging veterans of the greatest generation our nation has ever seen. At the end of the day you know you provided your patients with great care and you did your part to protect our freedoms and our way of life. Good luck on your decision!
 

Recycled

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how did you get started down this path? i've been looking for a while, and so far, the only nearby (within 2 state) radius that I see is with the bureau of prisons. Thanks!


baggywrinkle said:
I'm an Army CIVILIAN Pharmacist and I can tell you it is a decent lifestyle. The military pharmacists I work with have a good life. What it lacks in pay it makes up with decreased stress and time off. Did I say time off?
Look on your calendar at all the holidays. The Federal government takes every
doggone one of them off. Then there are training holidays, and we haven't even gotten to annual leave yet. As a civilian with three years prior service I get 156 hours of annual leave a year. What's more you can actually TAKE your leave without someone whining at you that you need to find your own
coverage to replace you while you are gone. You can save it up and roll it over year to year for that big euro vacation you dream of. Or you can poop around with a day here and a day there. I've scheduled myself a three day weekend on top of the regular holidays each month for the rest of the year.

Military outpatient pharmacy is tedious monotonous work so you NEED your
time off to recharge. Polish your counseling skills because you will be talking the ears off a rubber rabbit. The formulary is restricted in the extreme and there are rampant therapeutic guidelines (Physician specialties other than psych are restricted to ordering a seven day supply of Ambien at a time. Lunesta is non-formulary so forget it) The pharmacies are laid out generically
and because their formulary is soo restricted I would recommend a new grad get some experience on the outside or plan on doing some moonlighting to stay fresh. My Colonel in charge of pharmacy services is retiring this summer and he is NOT PREPARED for what he will encounter in the real world.
He's a great guy, but he's a paper pusher.

You only need maintain one license to practice anywhere in the world, and you CAN practice anywhere in the world. I work with a guy who came from Hawaii to Washington, and another who did two years in Germany. The position is open, you apply - it is that simple for CIVILIANS. Military folks get deployed where they are needed and these days that means the sandbox.
The pay is okay. I'm classified as a GS-11 step seven which translates into
84,000 per year. Not the fast track to riches, but if you are in it for the money you can work for SLAVON or do like another colleague of mine and
moonlight with an agency. He told me he made another eighty grand working on the side. I think he's insane. Life is too short. But I digress.

Bottom line. Don't turn your nose up at the government positions be they
the uniformed services including the Health Service or working for the government in a civilian capacity. I personally think the later is the way to go because when you get sick of it you can walk out. A soldier cannot do that.

If this tells you anything the pharmacists who do this work tend to be very stable in their positions. There is not much turnover. Once you are in you find that you really are part of a very tight knit group - the military family. They take care of their own.
 

baggywrinkle

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Recycled said:
how did you get started down this path? i've been looking for a while, and so far, the only nearby (within 2 state) radius that I see is with the bureau of prisons. Thanks!
Quite by accident. I happened to be looking and Madigan was running an
ad in the local paper. Notice they are looking again. They've just expanded
operations. Sheesh, as it is their outpatient services fill over four thousand
presciptions per day.

These are the current positions open in CONUS. Pharmacist is classified as
a hard to fill medical specialty and so is offered to civilians.

You may search the civilian offerings at Civilian Personnel Online which is
specific for the Army
http://acpol.army.mil/employment/

Announcement Position L-Grd H-Grd Location Closing Date
WTEU06000026OC Pharmacist(0660) 9 12 Madigan Army Medical Center, Dept. of Pharmacy, Fort Lewis (Tacoma), WA 2006-12-29
WTEF06000004OC Pharmacist(0660) 11 11 USA MEDDAC, Darnall Army Community Hospital, Pharmacy Service, Fort Hood, TX 2006-12-31
WTEF06000005OC Pharmacist(0660) 11 11 USA MEDDAC, Darnall Army Community Hospital, Pharmacy Service, Fort Hood, TX 2006-12-31
SWEM06412352 Supervisory Pharmacist(0660) 12 12 MEDDAC, Pharmacy Services\Fort Riley, KS 2006-07-20
SWEK06163147 Pharmacist(0660) 11 11 US Army Medical Department Activity, RACH, Pharmacy Service, Inpatient Pharmacy Service, DUTY STATION: Fort Sill, OK 2006-08-02
SWKA06234788R1 Pharmacist(0660) 11 11 USA MEDDAC Fort Leonard Wood, GLWACH, DCHS, Pharm Div, Outpatient Pharmacy Sec (OP Pharm Sec), Fort Leonard Wood, MO 65473 2006-07-21

This site is for FEDERAL jobs offered
http://federalgovernmentjobs.us/
and here are their current pharmacist offerings. Note that VA and Health Service are separate from Military. Other offerings might be found with law
enforcement branches such as DEA. I worked with a retired DEA pharmacist

For Active Duty offerings follow oakland_raiders excellent advice.

Pharmacist Federal Government Jobs sampling. Notice the very last offering is
for overseas positions...

Pharmacist KR OP-Korea GS-0660-11/13 12/31/06 01/01/06
Pharmacist US NATIONWIDE GS-0660-11/13 12/31/06 01/01/06
Pharmacist EU OA-Atlantic Overseas GS-0660-11/13 12/31/06 01/01/06
 
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