Disadvantages of Being a Pharmacist and Tips for Pharmacy Graduates
Recently, I listed some of the advantages of being a pharmacist. While pharmacy is a wonderful healthcare career the profession has some disadvantages. College students who are evaluating career choices should be aware of these challenges so that they can make an informed decision and avoid disappointment after 6 or more years of a college education. Here are some disadvantages of being a pharmacist, including perspectives from practicing pharmacists.
The length of study: It takes 6 years or more of college education to earn a PharmD. If you opt for a residency or fellowship then add another 1 to 2 years before you find your dream job and start earning decent wages.
Tip: Some pharmacy schools offer accelerated PharmD programs.
Student debt: According to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) the average first-year pharmacy school instate tuition in 2013-2014 was $18,283 for public schools and $34,169 for private schools. The median amount of money borrowed by graduation was $113,745 for public schools and $152,901 for private schools. This is a significant amount of debt that will take many years to repay.
Tip: There are ways to quickly repay your loan or receive loan forgiveness. Read Healthcare Student Loan Forgiveness And Other Ways To Reduce Student Loans
Slow job growth: The projected growth in pharmacy jobs is discouraging, especially when you factor in the number of new pharmacy graduates that enter the workforce every year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a slower-than-average job growth of 3 percent for pharmacists by 2024, which is equivalent to 9,100 new jobs.
Tip: These statistics mostly refer to traditional pharmacy jobs. Explore non-traditional pharmacy jobs. Read 11 Alternative Pharmacy Career Options
No provider status in many states: Pharmacists have been fighting for provider status for many years with some success in some states. Provider status will open more opportunities for pharmacists.
Tip: Obtain the right credentials and experience so you can take advantage of new pharmacy practice laws. Read Implications of California Pharmacist Provider Status Bill (SB493)
The pharmacy lobby is not strong: The pharmacy lobby is relatively weak and this has a huge impact on our ability to expand our scope of practice. We also do not have a single pharmacist association like the American Medical Association to help us fight for changes.
Tip: Join pharmacy associations and actively participate.
Poor branding: Although pharmacists are respected, most consumers and other healthcare professionals, do not really understand or appreciate our role in healthcare beyond filling prescriptions. The pharmacy profession needs a marketing and branding campaign.
Tip: Educate patients and other healthcare professionals about how pharmacists impact care. Read What Do Pharmacists Really Do.
Find Pharmacy Jobs At The Healthcare Career Center