Should I pursue pharmacy school vs pa school?

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In my situation would you go to PA school or Pharmacy school?

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Feb 28, 2017
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First off I want to say hey to everyone since I am new to these forums. To give a little background, I just graduated with my bachelors degree in exercise science over here on the east coast. My plan for the longest time has been to go onto pa school and hopefully work more in the sports medicine field. Lately I have been researching all of the prerequisites I need in order to attend pa school and the requirements are rather intense. I need at least 1000+ hours of health care experience to even apply, and I still need to take some classes (medical terminology) at the community college near by in order to meet all of the requirements. This would likely take at least 2 yrs and I am already 24 yrs old. Now to get into why I have been debating pharmacy school recently. Well to give some background, my dad has been a pharmacist for about 30 yrs. He went to 2 of the local colleges that I would like to apply to and even taught some classes at one. He worked in the navy for 20 yrs as a pharmacist and once he got out, opened up his own community pharmacy which he owns and is currently the head pharmacist of. During high school I had worked there for a few years as a cashier and have been exposed to what he does on a daily basis. Well in order to obtain health care experience/pad a resume, I have been studying to become a certified pharmacy technician recently and to my surprise am actually enjoying the material (I thought it may be boring). My dad plans on retiring in about 5-6 years which has me thinking that it would be the perfect situation to walk into. My dads pharmacy is open from 9-5 and closed on sundays so he works about 40 hr weeks (he occasionally has other pharmacists work a few days throughout the week), which is likely what I would be doing once I graduated. I would still need to take a couple more prerequisites to apply to pharmacy school (organic chemistry) but it seems that the path to pharmacy school would be a lot easier than my path to pa school. I would also have a job lined up for me after pharmacy school and would likely someday own the pharmacy regardless. Sorry for the long post to start out with but this is a big decision, especially since I already graduated with my bachelors, and Im rather nervous about it. What do you guys think? Thanks

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Also some stats on my self to see which field I would be a better applicant for:
Overall GPA: 3.3
Science GPA: 3.54
Bachelors in exercise science
Certifications: Certified Personal Trainer, Soon to be certified Pharmacy Technician
3 yrs experience working in a pharmacy
Have about 100+ hrs of shadowing physicians
Have not taken the GRE, MCAT or PCAT yet
2011 SAT score: 1720
Got A's in the two chemistrys I took but still need organic
Anybody have feedback?
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Generally people are most concerned with a possible shortage of pharmacy jobs, but since you have one waiting for you it's a good option. Pharmacy school was a lot of fun for me when I wasn't studying.
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Generally people are most concerned with a possible shortage of pharmacy jobs, but since you have one waiting for you it's a good option. Pharmacy school was a lot of fun for me when I wasn't studying.

thanks for the reply!
Do what you like more... You want random people deciding your career path? Do some research, and find what you'd enjoy more.
Given your situation I would say pharmacy.

You would start your graduate training earlier and could theoretically make more money, especially if you end up taking over the pharmacy once your dad retires. If you are no where near finished with the prereqs or clinical hours needed for a PA program you could get burnt out before you even make it to PA school. Knock out the Orgo I & II over the summer if possible and starting studying for the PCAT/get your pharm app together.

Having a plan with a foreseeable end can be much more of a motivating factor than you may think.
PA school. Pharm job market is crap (not just low hiring but how many are treated as expendable cogs).
PA or computer science would be the best paths. Pharmacy is a terrible investment due to poor job prospects and work conditions you get in exchange for having to take out an astronomical amount of student loans.
It seems that you enjoy working in an pharmacy, I say go for pharmacy school. If I were you, shadow and PA and see how the job is. I known an PA who I see rarely, since my doctor is not in the office all the time and it seems that her jobs seems less stressful than an pharmacist, again she works in an office so I have no idea what their job duties are outside of an office. I am sure its an competitive field like pharmacy. But it seems that with your dad retiring, you will not have to worry with an job. Pursue pharmacy since you can go into any field(you can work in an drug company, hospital, retail). You can listen to our advice but none of us are pharmacist and can't really talk about the job market. So I say go with your gut instinct and believe in yourself. Yes, the student loans does suck but it will be all worth it.
For you, pharmacy. You have a job handed to you, which is the best privilege for any student. Not many people can say no to the opportunity you're given. If you like the material, I highly recommend it as long as you don't go to a school that is too expensive (more than $150k after you leave with tuition, living, interest). Your pharmacy has good hours. If you have a job, saturation doesn't necessarily apply to you as much.

PA school requires too many hours of credit work. Not even medical school requires that much. If you had a high GPA and a good MCAT score, then you might as well pursue medicine. PA used to be a job for career changers, but now it's a hot pick for college students b/c it only takes 2 years. Look at the big picture though. If you don't mind giving up autonomy for the next 30 yrs, then a PA might be a good choice. Let's be honest. Aside from the saturation in pharmacy, pharmacy is still a more recognizable and respected profession to the general public. That's not to say pharmacists may be confused with pharm techs. Many people who are PAs have patients who might think they're a glorified nurse and a doctor in training (the "assistant" part is a bit concerning). I've worked in a few academic hospitals during undergrad, and they are more likely to hire NPs. Yes, you get good pay for your education (make $70-150k depending on your specialty). If you don't want the hours, go to an accelerated nursing program (1 yr) and be an NP.

I was once in your position choosing either pharmacy or PA. At the end of the day, it's really what you want to do. SDN is for opinions and maybe advice, but take it with a grain of salt for your future.