What can I do in my undergrad to gain experience in the pharmacy industry and understand if it's something I'd like to pursue?
I'm currently a biochemistry major possibly on a pre-medical track but genuinely I have very little idea what career I would like to pursue. Being a pharmacist is a job that piques my interest, but I don't know how to gain the experience I need to understand if it's the right industry for me before committing to a pre-pharm track. #pharmacist #medicine #pharmacy #career
Like mentioned above, shadowing experience is always great, if available. If you're looking for a part-time job, consider working as a pharmacy technician (if you are interested in retail or hospital pharmacy). I was also able to get shadowing experience at a pharmaceutical company as well.
I was also a pre-med with interests in pharmacy! Shadowing is great, however, I took a different route: I started volunteering in a hospital pharmacy, and eventually became a pharmacy technician. As a pharmacy tech, you will be exposed to their entire field, and truly understand what goes into the field (insurance claims, patient care, prescription strengths, and inter-professionalism between physicians, pharmacists, nurses, social workers, etc). If you decide that pharmacy is not for you, then it will still count as a great medically-related experience for medical school! Plus you gain a lot of respect for what pharmacists really do. I added a link for reference on how to become a pharmacy tech if you are interested! Best of luck with everything!!
Andrea recommends the following next steps:
Here's a good site that might be worth your time exploring. https://pharmacyforme.org/ This site is sponsored by the accrediting agency for the US pharmacy schools: "Pharmacy is Right for Me is a collaborative effort by American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), a national organization representing pharmacy education in the United States, American Pharmacists Association (APhA), the largest association of pharmacists in the country; and other national pharmacy associations."
I don't think this guide has been updated since 2002 but it still gives a brief overview of many different aspects of pharmacy that is helpful just to appreciate the many varied aspects of the pharmacy profession: https://biology.wustl.edu/files/biology/pfizerpharmacycareerguide.pdf Now to be fair, the majority of the jobs are in retail pharmacies so don't be disillusioned that the majority of pharmacists are practicing in these alternate settings but it's certainly possible. As the profession becomes more competitive, the need to complete a post-graduate residency to gain employment in one of these alternative settings is becoming more of a necessity. There are also a growing number of PharmD/MBA programs if that's something that may be of interest to you as well.
Hope this helps!
I would definitely agree with the majority of answers that mentioned shadowing. This is a great way to learn about different pharmacy environments and gain some insight from the pharmacists themselves on the profession. I would highly recommend shadowing in both community pharmacy (Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens, independent pharmacies, etc.) and hospital pharmacy to see a couple different settings if possible.
Another great way to gain experience would be to apply for pharmacy technician positions in the setting you seem to enjoy most from shadowing. Pharmacy technicians now require licensure, however, many companies provide and cover the cost of the necessary training and testing required. When working as a pharmacy technician, my manager was very flexible with my college schedule and would typically have me work around 2-4 times per month. If this is something you're really interested in pursuing, you can definitely ask more hours for more exposure, but even being in the pharmacy a couple times a month will provide you with a great experience.