Want to go back to school-will my BS in Geology cover most preReqs

Dec 16, 2010
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Hi all,
Great forum. I’ve been working in the environmental field for 16 years as a licensed Professional Geologist and am thinking of a career change to Pharmacy. My wife is a nurse and I have a huge admiration for the medical field, but do not think the hospital environment is the way for me. Anyway, I feel it is time to move on from my current work in the environmental cleanup industry as it is moving in a direction away from my original goals.
Obviously I already have a comfortable salary and am worried about going back to school for a long period, especially since I am 39. My wife and I have some money saved up and probably would not have to rely on loans to get through. She will continue to work full time. However, I really want to get though the program as fast as I can.

Before I make my final decision, I am curious how much of my BS degree will give me a jump start on the Pharmacy program. I graduated in 1993 with a BS degree in Geology as cum laude and had an overall GPA around 3.2-3.3. Think I had a GPA of 3.8 in my degree. I took Calc 1 and 2 and a couple of chemistry and physics general courses along with a lot of under graduate to graduate level science courses (mostly related to the Earth Sciences of course). Assuming I can get a decent score on the PCAT, with my background should I be able to go straight into a program without requiring many or no prerequisites? Would love to do one of the 3-year accelerated programs I read about here. But really can’t see myself going back to school more than 4 years. I live near Charlotte which is close proximity to Wingate and UNC. Thanks for any advice.
 

Samus2008

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I think most schools have a limit how old a pre-req can be. I've never seen more than 10 years accepted so you might have to retake pre-reqs.
 

Samus2008

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O and in case you haven't read it yet, the sky is falling in pharmacy, but you should be good to go with your Geology degree to hide underground.
 
OP
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Dec 16, 2010
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O and in case you haven't read it yet, the sky is falling in pharmacy, but you should be good to go with your Geology degree to hide underground.
Very funny about hiding underground...

Okay, so "0" for what? And I haven't read anything but positive outlook concerning Pharmacy? Is this a recent change??
 

Samus2008

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Very funny about hiding underground...

Okay, so "0" for what? And I haven't read anything but positive outlook concerning Pharmacy? Is this a recent change??
Woops, I meant "Oh" not zero. And if you haven't heard anything, but positive outlook concerning pharmacy, you haven't been on sdn long. Here's a god awful thread if your interested. One of the more recent ones.

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=780179
 

rxlea

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You would have to retake all your pre reqs which will take at least 2 years because some classes are pre reqs for others (gen chem before ochem, for example). The outlook of pharmacy isn't as great as it once was. There is increasing competition for residencies and big boxes like CVS and Walgreens are cutting hours/hiring less. Perhaps this will change in the future. But, currently, many pharmacists have to relocate to find jobs and given that your wife is probably pretty set on her career where she works now, that might be an obstacle for you. I always encourage non-trads to pursue what makes them happy. Just make sure to analyze the costs/benefits.
 

Pharmgrlnxdor

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Mar 11, 2009
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I know back when I was checking out schools there was one that had no time limit on classes. I think....don't hold me to this because it was nearly two years ago...that it was Creighton in Oklahoma...which has a distance program. So there might be more than one but I would bet dollars to doughnuts that there are less than 5 and maybe even less than 3 pharmacy schools in the country that would take classes from 16 years ago.

Now suffice it to say that some of the prereqs are not really used in Pharmacy school much but then there are others that are...and in 16 years a lot has changed in the different sciences so you might be playing catch up to your classmates during P1 year when the pace is fast and furious.

For instance, I used Ochem from undergrad in my pharmacy program Biochem class ...but only really for the review portion....I used my year of A&P to glide me through Physio in pharmacy school. Not having those classes would have made what was an already rough P1 year that much rougher. By the way I am a nontrad too...40 years old at the start of Pharmacy school.
 

rxlea

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I know back when I was checking out schools there was one that had no time limit on classes. I think....don't hold me to this because it was nearly two years ago...that it was Creighton in Oklahoma...which has a distance program. So there might be more than one but I would bet dollars to doughnuts that there are less than 5 and maybe even less than 3 pharmacy schools in the country that would take classes from 16 years ago.

Now suffice it to say that some of the prereqs are not really used in Pharmacy school much but then there are others that are...and in 16 years a lot has changed in the different sciences so you might be playing catch up to your classmates during P1 year when the pace is fast and furious.

For instance, I used Ochem from undergrad in my pharmacy program Biochem class ...but only really for the review portion....I used my year of A&P to glide me through Physio in pharmacy school. Not having those classes would have made what was an already rough P1 year that much rougher. By the way I am a nontrad too...40 years old at the start of Pharmacy school.
Creighton is in Nebraska. It is very competitive to get into the distance pathway.
 

Passion4Sci

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you *really* need to think about this decision especially if you're making good money in your current field. As Lea noted, the field, while still growing and I think a good decision for most people, is not as awesome as it was a few years ago. If I was going into this right NOW out of the Army and hadn't started anything yet in terms of pre-requisites, I would *really* think about it.

Consider the debt load, for one thing. But, as Lea noted as well, you'll need to re-take all of your pre-requisite coursework (at LEAST 2 years... at least... most CCs are cutting down sections and stuff and there are waiting lists miles long...) and so you're looking at, conservatively, your early to mid 40s before you're even signing up to give PharmCAS a ton of money to apply to schools.

But, I'm a non-trad applicant as well, and I love pharmacy. It was a great choice even in hindsight. That said, I won't really have a lot of debt when I graduate, so that weight isn't on my mind much at all. You'll need to consider that if you don't have financing to not take loans out for the costs. It IS expensive. Especially opportunity costs, such as: If you get into a school in... say... California and you live in North Carolina, then either you're going to school away from your wife for that long, or she's moving her career to come to school with you, etc. The "one app, one acceptance" people are VERY few in number. A great majority of applicants send out 5+ apps to schools all around the country to get in somewhere.

Glad to have you here at the forum, though, either way
 
Oct 19, 2009
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I am a non-traditional student as well but have been working in pharmacy informatics for the past 6 years. Making a career change and pursuing a Pharm.D. isn't as big of a jump for me as it would be for you. Out of curiosity, what made you decide to change careers?

Even though I had taken Calculus 1 and 2 during undergrad, I found it very difficult to recall the information. The saying of "If you don't use it, you lose it" holds very true. In my opinion, your best bet is to re-take all of your science and math prerequisites.

Also, check with the schools you're interested in applying to. All the ones I've talked to have a limit on how long ago they accept the math and science courses. One school was 5 years while another was 10. They are more lenient on other courses such as government, history, and English.

As for the job outlook for pharmacists in the future, I think it depends on what field of pharmacy you intend on pursuing, where, the natural ebb and flow of the economy, as well as politics. Based upon talks with various pharmacists and directors around the nation, there is a need for more clinical pharmacists and expanded roles but the current economy does not allow for the creation of these new positions at many facilities.
 

Notecard

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Apr 23, 2010
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Best case scenario is probably a year for all of your pre reqs. A lot of Pharmacy Schools only require your science classes be taken in the last 6 or 10 years. I have very little confidence that any school would consider your application with science classes over 17 years old.

You would have to talk to professors though. It's usually pretty easy to get overrides for classes and I'm sure you could convince a professor to let you take orgo 1 and inorganic 1 at the same time (considering you already took inorganic chemistry). It would be a busy year and of course you aren't guaranteed to be accepted after that year.

Best case is 4 years applying to a 3 pharmacy year school (if everything went perfectly). But the most likely time frame is going to be 5-7 years of school ahead of you:scared: If you are seriously considering this you have some research to do, but it can be done :thumbup:
 

Passion4Sci

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Even with overrides, one year including summers is really pushing it. Assuming OP can even get into classes which, at pretty much every single CC in my area, is a hail mary pass, consider that not every class is offered every term at every school. Planning for 1 year is just irresponsible.

OP needs to realize it will take, at a minimum, 2 years to fulfill his prerequisite coursework. OP can't rely on a "gimme" from professors for 17 year old req's. Just because he took chemistry 17 years ago doesn't mean he still knows a crap about Bronstead-Lowry, or kinetics, or anything else even in Gen Chem. I took Chem 1B in 2001 and didn't remember crap from it in 2008, not enough to take a test in it, for damn sure. OP will get deluged at pharmacy school with his most recent science coursework being nearly 2 decades ago.

Remember, pharmacy schools bank on you not becoming an attrition statistic and it's bad business to let people in that might end up washing out, so I think skipping steps would be an awful choice for OP, even if he could. I am finding pharmacy school to be a nice amalgam for everything I did in undergrad, not something just tacked on at the end.

Perhaps I'll end with this point: A friend of mine who graduated with me in '04 recently told me that he hasn't used a lick of math since he graduated because computers do everything for him, and the only thing he's there for is to apply human rationale if there's a problem with the program, if there's a power outage, or for the planning phases of things. It's likely the same for geology. Hell, I know the pharmacist I worked with back when I started this trek could barely balance an equation.