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pharmacy vs dentistry

yo21

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Hello everyone:

I like both pharmacy and dentistry, but I can't seem to be able to make my final decision on which career path I should pursue.
Dentistry is beautiful, you have direct patient interaction, changing people's life and improving their self-esteem by improving their oral health and appearance.
In dentistry you have to invest out of your own money for your office; huge loans from dental school and own office; plus it seems like a lot more of personal physical work because you as the dentist has to do pretty much every procedure; if you go on vacation you have to pay the staffs from your office, and it seems that you are going to have to always be attached to the dental chair for the rest of your life unless you become a dental school educator. In dentistry, you can also specialize, but I've heard that is very difficult for people to obtain a residency unless you are top of your class. (I am not sure on this, correct me if I am wrong).

Pharmacy is less time in school. it provides with the stability of always having a job and switching jobs everytime you like. There are many fields in pharmacy such as retail, hospitals, consulting, compounding, and the big pharmaceutical industry. (it gives you better job setting diversity than dentistry). You can always specialize as well and pursue other fields. Also, pharmaceutical knowlede makes you very powerful when looking for a job in a clinical setting.

I just don't know what to do. My heart tells me to go for dentistry because it has been a dream for me to become a dentist since I was little. However the road towards dentistry seems a lot more difficult than for pharmacy. Understand that the money is not a problem for me; I am not trying to be rich, I just want to be comfortable in life, that's all. Pharmacy seems to be less physical work and stress than dentistry. Pharmacy gives you the opportunity to work for a company, have benefits, insurances, paid vacations, sick days off, etc. Dentistry seems to be more on you; if you don't go to work, you won't get paid, you won't make profit during that day; you depent on your patient pool to make money; also if you are sick, no paid sick days for you and also you have to pay for your own medical insurance and retirement plan.

I would like to hear people's opinion. It would be very nice of you to take your time and write some comments under this topic. I am just seeking help to make my final decision and have no regrets later in my life.

Thank you very much everybody.

Have a blessed day,

Yo21 -- a.k.a.-- Miami boy!
 

PreDentHopeful

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Have you tried shadowing at a dentist's office? Not all dentists have to go to private practice (ie. work for a community health center etc. etc.) I would say shadow first, see if you can see yourself doing what they do everyday (physically, ie. procedures, dealing with staff etc) If you don't, then my advice is stick to pharmacy. I was pre-pharm and after volunteering at a pharmacy decided it's not for me... later on shadowed at a dentist's office, and it clicked! :) So try shadowing before you make up your mind...
 
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shamrock2006

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You make many good points. However, many of the aspects that you said regarding dentistry..about how you're pretty much dependent on your patient pool, stress, harder road, etc. is actually something I see as a positive. In dentistry, you will get out what you put in...it's all about your own effort and drive. In pharmacy, in my opinion, more often than not you are at the mercy of a corporation. I could be wrong, but I think those hardships on the road to becoming a dentist can actually work in your favor.
 

yo21

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Thanks everyone for your comments.

I really tought people would make more comments on my situation.
Yes, I have shadowed a dentist and I love it.
I have worked in a pharmacy before and I like it too.

Thank you.
 

Nasem

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I used to be in retail managment (rite aid) and I think a pharmacists job is pretty darn boring.

They stand there for 10 hours a day making about 40-50 dollars an hour and all they ever do is listen to customers bitch at them for not having thier prescriptions done on time or they stand there all day long counting pills.... If you ask me, thats the most boring job.

Dentistry on the other hand, gives you a GREAT life style, good cash flow, helping people on a personal level and making others love you simply because you fixed a personal problem they had.

In my opinion, Doctor > everything else
 

1992Corolla

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Thanks everyone for your comments.

I really tought people would make more comments on my situation.
Yes, I have shadowed a dentist and I love it.
I have worked in a pharmacy before and I like it too.

Thank you.

Like everyone wants to post in a thread that has been asked 1000 times. Give it more than 6 hours and do some relevant searches for people in your situation.

We cannot hand you a golden envelope signed by The Man telling you what you should do.

Get out two pieces of paper and title one Dental and the other Drug Sorter.

On each page place a '+' and a '-'.

Now list the negatives and positives about each career. Figure out what each one entails. Do a search. Tuition, grades, pcat vs DAT, hours, etc.
 

johntara04

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Like everyone wants to post in a thread that has been asked 1000 times. Give it more than 6 hours and do some relevant searches for people in your situation.

We cannot hand you a golden envelope signed by The Man telling you what you should do.

Get out two pieces of paper and title one Dental and the other Drug Sorter.

On each page place a '+' and a '-'.

Now list the negatives and positives about each career. Figure out what each one entails. Do a search. Tuition, grades, pcat vs DAT, hours, etc.

I hope you are just copying and pasteing this response. I think this is the third thread today I have read with this in it! :D
 

yo21

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Of course i am not going to make a decision based on what other people have to say.
I was just wanted to hear other people's opinion.
A second opinion never hurts. We all see things through different points of view.
I really appreciate all of your comments.

Thanks
 

pmantz

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Drugs are cool, I can understand why people would want to choose pharmacy as a carear. I am a big fan of biochem and am interested in pharmocological mechanisms, pretty cool. just my 0.02...
 
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teeth2

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You just need to find some type of volunteer opps/job shadowing in both fields to see what actually interests you more and what you could see yourself doing in the future.

Obviously I chose dentistry over pharmacy but a lot of people who aren't familiar with pharmacy think it's very boring and you don't make much money. I have a few family members who are pharmacists and a sister who's in pharm school and they love what they do and are doing pretty well for themselves. There are actually lots of opportunities for growth in pharmacy and it's not all retail work.
 

PickMe

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i once considered pharmacy. i changed my mind for a couple reasons...the big one being i wanted more people people interaction. i did not want to work at cvs or walmart as a professional, i did not want to work 14 hour days (even if was only 3 days a week). id rather work 3 hour days as a dentist for 8 hrs/day and make the same amount of money. having your own practice is a lot of responsibility and no, you dont get paid sick days, etc. BUT you have more control over your life. you decide how many sick days you want, when you go on vacation, when you work. also, you dont need to own a practice, you can work for someone if you are not interested in that responsibility. if dentistry is your dream, then go for it. my best advice would be to do more shadowing though-shadow a variety of people in both fields so you can get an overall feel for the professions from several viewpoints. whats right for me might not be necessarily right for you so keep exploring the different fields.
 

pmantz

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You can get a Doctorate in Pharmacy, where you work very closely with MDs to determine correct pharmocological treatments. This is in a hospital and clinic setting, not all pharmacists stand behind a counter at Walgreens.
 

Drill2Fill

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You can get a Doctorate in Pharmacy, where you work very closely with MDs to determine correct pharmocological treatments. This is in a hospital and clinic setting, not all pharmacists stand behind a counter at Walgreens.

Theses jobs also pay less and are a very tough to get, and one must complete a residency. Making dentistry look even better.
 

ClassicalGuitar

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You did have a major concern with working for yourself. Actually, as a dentist you have many opportunities to work for major corporations. There are franchise dentist offices that pay you a salary and offer benefits packages just like if you worked for a pharmaceutical firm. For instance, there is a company in the northeast called Aspen Dental that will pay their starting dentists 120-150k/year. The only issue you deal with working for a company such as this one, you cannot personalize your office, you cannot hire who you want unless you are the franchise owner, and you are subject to their regulations and procedures. If you don't mind that, you have many opportunities. I think knowing this information may alleviate some of the issues you have with the dentistry field, yet both industries are within health care and benefit the lives of communities. Either way, you are making the right choice. God bless ;)
 

cocokeala

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there is a very high demand for pharmacists right now.

also...at UOP undergrad in stockton there are both prepharmacy programs and predental programs for 2+3, 3+3, and 4+3. so you would spend 2 years at the undergrad school in stockton, then go to pharmacy school for 3 years, for example. you can become a pharmacist/dentist in 5 years! so time in school really depends on where you want to go.

......but i dont know if you want to spend your undergrad years in stockton :D
 

starfishbear

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I too thought about doing pharmacy. I even volunteered at a pharmacy at a local CVS. The pharmacist i worked for, was around 35 years old? He told me was making $60/hour, 40 hours a week. Basically his job was to supervise all the pharm techs he hired. Pharm techs are those who pass a test and are licensed to transcripe perscriptions etc. basically do everything, even fill. the actual job of the pharmacist was to just make sure everything was running smoothly. he did in fact have to make sure every prescription was filled correctly. He also had to make sure the Doctor that gave the prescription was not stupid and gave an inccorect dose or one that could potentially kill the patient. For example, if the patient was on drug A and received a prescription for drug B, the pharmacist would have to make sure they dont inhibit each other or possibly lead to "X"

One thing you need to make sure you're excellent at, is public speaking and interaction. EVERYONE yells at pharmacist for insurance reasons, money reeasons etc. It kinda sucks but it happens in all the health care professions. good luck
 

yo21

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I really like all of your responses.

It is difficult for me to make a decision. I am in my second semester of pharmacy school (in a three year accelerated program). I like it but I keep waking up every morning and wishing to be in dental school.
I applied last year to dental school and did not get accepted. Therefore, I started pharmacy school, thinking that I was going to be happy following the plan-B. However, my heart belongs to dentistry. I am not happy. I am always looking up things for dentistry and dental school and wanting to switch.
I am scared of dropping out of pharmacy school and be in the "streets" again without getting accepted anywhere. Meanwhile, I can't be in pharmacy school and apply for dental school; too much schooling, no time to study hard enough again for the DAT. So is either: stay in pharmacy or drop out and pursue dentistry and follow my heart. Most likely the second choice will be the one I will be taking soon.

Follow my advise: Follow your dreams and don't choose your plan B. Don't listen to your stupid pre-med advisors. You don't want to be feeling like me now and having to drop out of your plan B.

It is a tough decision.....

Comments are welcome my fellow people!

Thank you.
 

makushin

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I think pharmacy is overrated. I cannot imagine working in a retail store the rest of my life. $50 an hour? That's not really that much for what you put into it. My friend is an electrician and makes that much. Yes, it's comfortable, but for 7 years of school and debt, and hanging out in a box store all day you definatly earned it. But if you want that sort of security, or the ability to randomly move around, it is a decent option I suppose. It just depends what you are looking for.
 

t2thDr14

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Sounds like you really want to dentistry but are simply afraid of practice management. Dental schools are doing more these days to prepare dentists as business-minded people. UOP is a great example, since it provides a whole year of practice management and business classes in the third year.

And yet, as someone already mentioned above, you don't need to enter private practice. My dad has worked for the Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital for almost 30 years, and has just recently started a practice that he works at on Saturdays. Sure there's a lot of bureacracy in the VA, but they give you all the health benefits, sick leaves, vacation times, etc.

Consider this as well... you don't need to run a practice all by yourself. You'll most likely be an associate with someone else, at least when you come right out of dental school. That'll help share the work load, so you don't have to do everything by yourself.

What are you willing to compromise? Think about what'll make you happy in the long run. There are certainly dentists who aren't that great at practice management and their offices can be living hells for both the staff and patients. But there are those who learn some basics in dental school, and naturally have the personality to lead a team of staff. What do you see yourself doing?

Good luck deciding.
 
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