Pharmacy is a growing field whose pracitioners are a vital part of patient care. Demand for pharmacists is on the rise and annual job growth in Pennsylvania is currently around 8.7%, with about 400 job openings each year. The median salary in the field is presently over $120,000. Read on to learn what it takes to become a pharmacist.
Most programs require applicants to take the Pharmacy College Admission Test, but Dean Kroboth reassures potential candidates that, “it’s not a make or break test. We have a holistic admissions review, as a lot of schools do. There’s a college for everyone, and a program for everyone who wants to go.”
Nearly half of program graduates work in pharmacies. Pharmacists provide counseling to help patients understand the instructions and requirements of their prescriptions. They also provide feedback to physicians when they discover issues, such as incompatible medications the patient is taking, or other conflicting factors like diet or lifestyle. There may also be opportunities for direct patient care, ranging from asthma treatments, to blood pressure monitoring, to cholesterol screenings, and more.
Associate Dean Randall Smith, Ph.D., adds that pharmacy programs are competitive, but they aren’t restricted to straight-A students: “There are something like 130+ schools nationwide and a declining number of applicants. If you are interested in the sciences and you’re interested in the opportunities and the career, applying is something to think seriously about.” And if you aren’t accepted into the first program that you apply to, Dean Kroboth offers further advice, “You have to be able to accept 'no' without taking it personally. Say, ‘Well, it wasn’t the right space for me. I’ll fit in someplace else.’”
The jobs pharmacists fill are more diverse than just dispensing medication. According to University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy Dean Patricia Kroboth, Ph.D., “You may not think of pursuing it if the only thing you think a pharmacist does is stand behind the counter. Open your mind to how broad the field is.” Below are a few of the many career concentrations that pharmacy program students can consider:
If you’re considering the field of pharmacy, read more from a Promise Alumna who completed studies in the field on page 9. There are also a variety of online resources you can explore, including the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and American Pharmacists Association websites.
Heather Hackett is the Communications Coordinator for The Pittsburgh Promise.
Pharmacoepidemiology With a focus on research, this field explores how drugs effect human health.
Pharmacoeconomics Studies economic aspects of the pharmaceutics industry.
Gerontology Combines knowledge of pharmacology and geriatric care to better understand the effects of aging.
Healthcare Policy Using knowledge of pharmaceutics, economics, and government policies, program graduates can enter the business or public policy side of the industry. No matter what area of the field a pharmacist settles on, Dean Kroboth surmises that “It’s about the people–not the pills.”
Hannah Tajuddin ’17
Triple Major: Business Management, Accounting, Forensic Accounting
Below are several of the skills a pharmacist needs:
Detail-Oriented Errors can impact patient health, so accuracy is of the utmost importance.
A Keen Memory Pharmacy is a field that requires memorization and the ability to recall knowledge over long spans of time. Think: drug interactions, what generic versions of brand name drugs are called, and more.
Communication Skills Fielding questions from patients and discussing treatment plans requires strong communication skills.
Technological Aptitudes Besides using computer programs to store medical records and research medications, pharmacists also use a variety of technological tools for inventory management and more.
Pharmacy programs vary from one school to another. Some require a bachelor's degree in a related discipline before applying to pharmacy school. Others permit entry to pharmacy programs following two years of undergraduate coursework. Regardless of the format, some of the primary courses you can expect to study will include chemistry, organic chemistry, anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry.
8 ideapod ideapod // // SPRING SPRING 2017 2014
service Carlow has taught me so much about service. When someone is struggling I think, ‘If I were in that situation, how would I want people to react?’ I would want someone to help me. I don’t see much sympathy in the world. But I know I can be the one to make a difference. I will be that change.
What drives you? | carlow.edu
Published on Apr 19, 2017