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Is it worth the time and money to study to become a pharmacist?

PharmacyStudentPharmacyStudent Registered User Posts: 210 Junior Member
Additional years of school, around 100k+ in debt, and two years of residency. Is it really worth the time and money to enter this field?
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Replies to: Is it worth the time and money to study to become a pharmacist?

  • mysmommysmom Registered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
    Pharmacists' salaries range from $90,000 to $140,000 a year. From a financial standpoint, yes, it is worth it!
  • mommdcmommdc Registered User Posts: 8,943 Senior Member
    It depends on if it's the right career for you.

    My D is going instate and has a merit scholarship covering the first four years of tuition.

    She also might be able to get scholarships for the last two years of her PharmD.

    Not all pharmacists have to have 2 years of residency.
  • stoichiometriststoichiometrist Registered User Posts: 19 New Member
    Pharmacy is a terrible investment of your time and tuition money. Sure. on paper you make $120k/year, but your taxes and student payments will bring that down to $40-50k/year. The job market is terrible right now due to the flood of new grads from new schools, and it is only going to get worse as pharmacy schools continue to open with no end in sight. Walgreens put a halt on all raises for pharmacists; soon they will start to decrease pay. You also go through a lot more stress and liability compared to other professions.

    There are other professions, i.e. computer programming, finance, accounting, engineering, etc. that allow you to work under much less stressful conditions and pay just as well as pharmacy without you having to take out $200k+ in loans and spend another 4 years of your life in school.
  • taskmstrxtaskmstrx Registered User Posts: 81 Junior Member
    Agree with stoichiometrist. Along with the no raise memo , it was mentioned that 50% of the country is saturated and that this oversupply is 'creating a shift in what competitive compensation looks like'. Meaning- if you think $120000 is coming your way, think again. Most of the new hires I know are not being given fulltime hours; it annoys me that schools post that 100% of their grads are employed. They may be employed but getting 40 hours isn't happening. It's hard to see new grads with $200,000 or more in debt wondering how they're going to make it with 25 hours a week.
  • ccsouthccsouth Registered User Posts: 122 Junior Member
    Is there higher job placement if your PharmD is from a top ranked school like UT Austin? Do pharmacy employers look at the school attended and does that have value?
  • Parentof2014gradParentof2014grad Registered User Posts: 595 Member
    It matters very little where your degree is from. It matters that you passed your boards and are licensed in the state where you want to work. It will matter to you that you minimize debt as much as possible.
  • ccsouthccsouth Registered User Posts: 122 Junior Member
    What are typical fall back plans for PharmDs if they cant get a retail job? Do pharm companies hire pharmDs? Just trying to figure out options for my DD. Alternatively, is it common to complete the pre-pharm prereqs while completing another 4 yr undergrad degree such as engineering? Eng doesnt require bio and alot of the prereqs so trying to figure out the best option for a major for a STEM kid with decent job prospects in the '22 to '24 time frame. She has been accepted into a couple pre-enginering (BiomedE) programs thus far, waiting on others.
  • mommdcmommdc Registered User Posts: 8,943 Senior Member
    If she is sure about pharmacy, if possible attend an instate school with an early assurance program (conditional acceptance to pharmacy program based on HS grades and scores, and contingent on minimum GPA in prereqs and maybe PCAT score).

    Instate tuition will be a lot lower and if they only have to take prerequisites, then they might only need 2-3 years of prephamacy, not 4.

    My D had conditional acceptance to her university's Pharm D program. She did 2 years of prerequisites and then only applied to that school.

    She has a merit scholarship that covers the 2 yr of prephamacy and 2 yr of PharmD tuition.

    Some schools that give merit and have early assurance type program are U Toledo, Duquesne, U Pitt.

    PharmDs can work in retail and hospitals.

    The whole 6th year of PharmD is made up of practical rotations at different sites. Some are doing a residency after PharmD as well.
  • TiggerDadTiggerDad Registered User Posts: 915 Member
    A couple decades ago was a great time to become a pharmacist. There was a dire shortage and different pharmacy companies tried to lure each other's pharmacists with lucrative sign up bonus, including a 3-year free lease on BMW and so on. It's the exact opposite now. Walgreens, for example, began by stop offering their traditional 2-1 profit-sharing employee stock, then took away bonuses, took away retirement health benefits for vast majority of employees, decreased pay raise, etc. etc. and they're not done. The working condition has become more stressful as the corporate heads want to squeeze more out of the pharmacy staff with less resources. I'd NOT recommend this profession at this particular time. Perhaps in a couple decades from now might be a different story....
  • ccsouthccsouth Registered User Posts: 122 Junior Member
    I appreciate the input here. Is the data from https://pharmacymanpower.com/ a good indicator of actual trends? I see the contact on the site is a professor at a pharmacy school. So trying to make sure this is good data without bias. If so it looks like there is somewhat of a range of demand depending on the state. Of course who knows what it would be 6+ years from now.

    Wouldn't a state rated at 3+ mean open jobs and those seeking are equal? Meaning NC with a 2.5 has more job seekers than jobs, where CA is a 3.5 so should indicate jobs available?
  • BasicOhioParentBasicOhioParent Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    The responses here are very concerning. It sounds as if there are better options in fields other than Pharmacy for high-ability students. (BTW, this is how I, as a practicing attorney, feel about law school, as well.) I'd like to see more discussion in this thread.
  • aunt beaaunt bea Registered User Posts: 8,279 Senior Member
    My dd just started her pharmD program and we tried to talk her out of it.

    She is at an in-state school and we are paying an obscene amount of money for a public program!
    All with no guarantees.
    California is just as bad for jobs; it is competitive and the job placement locale isn't in the idyllic towns.
    She tells us that because of her specific program, that she has better options.

    However, after to speaking to colleagues who are married to current pharmacists, we hear the outlook is not good.
    All of those "mail order" pharmacies have supervising pharmacists and pharmacy techs. No need for multiple pharmacists if you are being replaced by warehouses.

    Current pharmacists are NOT retiring because they need the money.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 14,073 Senior Member
    "All of those "mail order" pharmacies have supervising pharmacists and pharmacy techs. No need for multiple pharmacists if you are being replaced by warehouses."

    Except have you ever been to a pharmacy and just seen people sitting around? Have you ever not had to wait to pick up a prescription?

    I think there are a few downsides to the profession. One, it is often a retail job with shift hours. Two, you have to work with some difficult people like my father, for example, or doctors who think they know everything. People waiting for prescriptions are often sick and germy. Lots of time on your feet.

    I think if I were a pharmacist I'd rather work in a hospital than a grocery store.
  • coolweathercoolweather Registered User Posts: 5,406 Senior Member
    edited November 12
    Interesting things to read about pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists:

    https://www.shmoop.com/careers/pharmacist/

    https://www.shmoop.com/careers/pharmaceutical-scientist/
  • TiggerDadTiggerDad Registered User Posts: 915 Member
    The latest news of the potential entry to pharmacy business by Amazon sent a shock wave to the pharmacy industry, hurling the Walgreens and CVS stock prices to plummet. If Amazon does enter the industry, we don't know how that would impact the overall pharmacy job market. In reaction to Amazon's threat, I'm sure both Walgreens and CVS, two giants, will focus the online delivery side of their business even more. This trend will only continue regardless of Amazon's threat, and I just don't see anything optimistic about this development for those who are in the pipeline. My niece is soon to graduate and have her pharmacist license in CA (with lots of student loan debt), and I deeply regret recommending the profession to her several years ago. When I recommended it to her, things were going good. It was just within the last few years that things started to quickly deteriorate. For those who are already in the pipeline, my recommendation is to put lots of effort in networking and making connections in the job market way BEFORE entry into the job market.
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