PharmD considering a career change to PA

Discussion in 'Clinicians [ RN / NP / PA ]' started by transcend11, Nov 25, 2016.

  1. transcend11

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    Hi all,

    I graduated with my PharmD in 2012 and have been working in pharmacy for over 10 years now. I am becoming more disappointed in the reality of retail pharmacy and the lack of direct patient care, so I am considering pursuing a career change to a physician's assistant.

    Anyone have experience with making this transition from a prior degree from the recent past after some years?

    I'm also not sure about the age of my degree, if I'll have to retake any classes. My pharmacy school didn't require a GRE, and it looks like most PA schools require that as well. My Pre-Pharmacy GPA was around 3.7, and my PharmD GPA was around 2.9. With my pharmacist experience, do you think I would have a chance at admission?
     
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  2. pamac

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    You'll probably get into any program you apply to, but I'd definately shadow a PA or a physician to see if you really like the kind of direct patient care they provide, because it might surprise you how different it can be from what you experience across the counter at the pharmacy. As a nurse, I've been in the room with providers and seen asinine behavior directed to them. I've spent whole shifts in the ER and on inpatient floors where providers faced hostility from almost everyone they met (the clientele in my neck of the woods can be challenging). I've shadowed in urgent care and seen some frustrated providers as well. A lot of providers spend a lot of time trying to convince people to do things they won't do. Then there are the addicts and folks with personality disorders, disfincional relationships, etc. Pharmacy has never appealed to me, and even my former career in the lab seemed infinitely more exciting than that, but I also wasn't making pharmacy wages as well. Make sure you really want to spend all day on front of a patient before you leave the pleasant confines of the drugstore. Sometimes, I crave work where I can hide out if I want to and not talk to people. It's not an option for me now.
     
  3. moestown1016

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    One of my PA professors was a pharmacist and seemed happy with the transition. He was a professor at the medical college of Georgia in August - maybe you can send him an email


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  4. Boatswain2PA

    Boatswain2PA Physician Assistant
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    Ditto what Pamac said. You could likely get in anywhere....but you wanna spend another 2.5 years (without pay) and $100k to switch? Gonna be hard to recoup that.

    Other option is to leave retail pharmacy and do hospital pharm where you can round on patients, keep us from screwing up dosages, etc.
     
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  5. pamac

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    I didn't even think about the cost factor, but yeah, you'll have $100k debt from PA school, plus 2 years of lost income from retail pharmacy, which is some very decent scratch in and of itself... In my neighborhood that's probably like $115k+ per year... Maybe higher. So conservatively $300k lost income. You might be able to pick up pharmacy shifts durring PA school, but I doubt that would be worth the effort to add another responsibility on top of an already hectic PA school schedule. Then you start out as an entry level employee all over again with the learning curves. Not trying to talk you out if it, just highlighting some of the costs. I'd take the money you'd save staying put and invest it and grow it, or even just enjoy it, and never look back. Work to live, don't live to work.
     
  6. CMUchicka

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    I am P1 who once considered PA school after graduating from pharmacy school. But I have been hearing that there will be many school popping up left and right in upcoming years which will lead to over saturation of PA's. And have you heard of ambulatory care pharmacist? They work just like PA and have similar lifestyle but pay is much better than PA.

    There is more than just retail in field of pharmacy!
     
  7. W19

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    Why not DO?
     
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  8. CMUchicka

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    I would do DO/MD after pharmd.
     
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  9. pamac

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    The original post is almost 2 years old.

    A pharmD will literally walk into 90% or more of the PA programs out there.
     
  10. Secret_Informant

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    Your statement is partially true. Especially with the new provisionally-accredited physician assistant (PA) programs allowing pharmacy experience included as part of the admissions requirements (FIU and UT in FL for example). However, different PA programs have different attitudes with regards to experiential requirements and the admissions committees of most schools expect prospective applicants to retake the science (some even the math and English prerequisites) for a second time regardless of degree earned. Depending on the program requirements, those prerequisites must be completed within 5-10 years of matriculation. Very few schools will take the prerequisites from 10-20 years ago.

    Keep in mind also that some PA schools may or may not have their data for job placements between 2015-2018. I would ask about that before beginning the application process; from what I am hearing on these forums at SDN, PA is nearing saturation too.

    Disclaimer: This message was posted as of 2018 and the accreditation status of the colleges mentioned is subject to change. Just in case it was not obvious to onlookers (pharmacy is a small world, after all).
     
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    #10 Secret_Informant, Nov 26, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
  11. VictorOfHungerGames

    VictorOfHungerGames May the odds be ever in your favor

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    Hmmm... so you're saying we won't need to take anymore classes and just apply and be able to get accepted? B/c if that's true, then I am seriously considering.

    Money could be an issue though. Don't care about the lost salary but don't want to take out any more loans. Already at 200k+. But then if I can have more of a productive and rewarding career, it would be a risk I am willing to take.
     
  12. allantois

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    As long you have a Bachelor’s degree and all the prerequisites.
     
  13. allantois

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    That’s quite an exaggeration. There’s still very few PA school seats out there (something around 7,000) as an average school only has around 50 students.

    Compare that to NP schools pumping out 21k+ plus grads (more than US MD schools in fact).
     
  14. pamac

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    Fantastic, pertinent patient care experience... excellent academic performance from having successfully competed for a seat in a science HEAVY curriculum (likely have undergrad performance beyond the majority of PA applicants)...completion of a doctorate program that is arguably harder than masters level PA program... able to check all the boxes for all the types of PA programs out there (both ones with HCE heavy requirements and academic performance heavy requirements)....

    Hardly an exaggeration. Non PharmD PA school applicants better hope there isn’t a mass exodus of PharmD’s to PA schools or there won’t be seats for anyone else.

    And PharmD fits incredibly well into the PA curriculum prereqs.... not so much for NP without.... a required nursing degree.
     
  15. pamac

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    I think the big question that needs to be explored by a PharmD looking to make the switch is whether a PA career provides a fulfilling departure from the work they are engaged in at the pharmacy. The grass is always greener....

    Personally, pharmacy work would drive me nuts. But so would any NP job outside of psyche, which I’m in. My interests have narrowed considerably over time.
     
    #15 pamac, Dec 6, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  16. Makati2008

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    I tend to agree with PAMAC. Unless the PharmD has some weird academic history then they would be a shoe in for the great majority of PA schools. I mean they have more experience than a lot of today’s applicants.....
     

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