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What steps can I take throughout my undergrad to help me enter a career in pharmacy?

I'm a rising second year college student considering a career as a pharmacist. What activities can I pursue that will help me achieve my goal? I'm currently training to become a pharmacy technician. What else will help me learn about the field and also look good to potential pharmacy schools? #july #july20 #pharmacy #pharm #medicine

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Subject: Career question for you

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Anthony’s Answer

Hello,
The most important thing you can do during undergrad to help you enter a career in pharmacy school is to take the prerequisite courses. However, it seems that you are asking more about building a resume to support your academic application.
Volunteering at a local clinic is a great idea. However, interview purposes need to gain memorable and relatable experiences in pharmacy. For example, I volunteered at my local VA hospital before pharmacy school. Additionally, gaining technician experience (which you’re already doing) is a great way to prepare your resume and yourself for pharmacy school interviews. These two extracurriculars should be enough for the pharmacy school application process as long as you are making relevant memories along the way. I suggest writing down your experiences at least weekly to refresh your memory upon interview season.
Anthony
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Jeff’s Answer

Divya,

I think you got some good answers already. I would also suggest you outreach to your state pharmacists association. Some states have specific associations that focus on individual aspects of pharmacy practice such as hospital pharmacy, community pharmacy, independent pharmacy, etc. However, every state still has an overarching association that represents all aspects of pharmacy practice. Their mission statements generally focus on supporting pharmacists and very often pharmacists involved in these associations are strong supporters of mentorship I'm sure they would be happy to help connect you with pharmacists to help increase your exposure to various aspects of pharmacy. Here's the link for Texas Pharmacy Association: https://www.texaspharmacy.org/
Thank you comment icon Thank you for your insight, Jeff! Divya
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Krystyna’s Answer

Becoming a pharmacy technician is a great first step! A lot of pharmacy students continue on as pharmacy interns during school, and this will give you a lot of great experience to discuss during interviews and apply throughout your learning. Does your school offer a pre-pharmacy club? This will give you a lot of resources for some great volunteering opportunities and guidance on applying for pharmacy school. The more direct patient experience you can get through working and volunteering the better! These activities in addition to ensuring you have all your prerequisites for pharmacy school mapped out, a schedule for studying for and taking your PCAT, and some interview practice should help make you a strong candidate.
Thank you comment icon That's really helpful Krystyna, thank you so much! Divya
Thank you comment icon You're welcome! I know the direct patient experience may be more difficult during the pandemic, but I believe there may still be some telephonic type volunteering available :) Krystyna M.
Thank you comment icon Yes, the pandemic is definitely affecting volunteer opportunities! I've been trying to look for more virtual opportunities, but they're hard to come across. If you know of any specific resources for contactless volunteering that you could share with me, I would be incredibly grateful! Divya
Thank you comment icon Hi there, I did some research and asked around. The recommendations that came up the most were to check out some of the online communities that offer some type of health/wellness related virtual volunteering. It was recommended to check out https://blog.volunteercrowd.com/ultimate-list-of-student-online-volunteer-projects/ and https://www.pointsoflight.org/ I hope you can find something! Krystyna M.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much!! That is super helpful and I will definitely check those out. :) Divya
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Lee’s Answer

Gaining experience as a pharmacy technician is a great place to start. You'll become familiar with medications and pharmacy law and it will be a great way to make connections.
- capitalize on any chemistry or immunology courses you may take in your undergrad. It will come back and can be very helpful to have that base of knowledge.
- you could join an organization such as toast masters where you can work on your public speaking and it would look good on a resume or application (you have to do a lot of public speaking in pharmacy school)
- volunteer at health clinics
- join pre-pharmacy organizations through your school
- research different areas of pharmacy (retail, industry, hospital, ambulatory, etc.) and try to reach out to people in those areas
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Dan’s Answer

I would say classes in biochemistry and eventual medicinal chemistry (essentially upper level biochemistry) would boost up your overall application. Classes in human physiology would go a long way as well and it would help you develop a good base for pharm school classes. Microbiology will be beneficial as well. If your school offers any type of pharmacology class, I would take that. If you are able to get a handle on the basic mechanism of medicine classes you'll get through pharm school easier than your fellow students.
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Rheena’s Answer

Good morning! I would say taking some courses that will increase your knowledge about medicine/ the medical field would be helpful. If your college or university has any classes related to pharmacology that would be very helpful to give you a head start to learning some of the medications you will see in pharmacy school. There are also some courses such as medical terminology which can be helpful as well. I would also look into joining a Pre-Pharmacy Society at your university or college if available. They usually have guest speakers that are pharmacists that will give you more insight into their position and that way you are able to ask questions and also learn. Volunteering at a clinic or health fair in the community is a great opportunity as well!
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Shelly’s Answer

Get a job as a tech working in a pharmacy and/or summer internship in Manufacturing, Clinical Research, Hospital, Hospice, etc. Internships are also a great way to get your foot in the door. Contact your state pharmacy association to see if there are internships opportunities that you can take advantage of. That can give you exposure to different areas of pharmacy to better understand what areas are of interest to you.

If you have a pharmacy school that is affiliated with your college/university, try to find ways to engage with the pharmacy faculty as you never know one of them may be interviewing you once you apply.
Thank you comment icon Thank you! I will definitely look into getting in contact with my state pharmacy association, that seems to be a great resource! Divya
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Shelly’s Answer

Get a job as a tech working in a pharmacy and/or summer internship in Manufacturing, Clinical Research, Hospital, Hospice, etc. Internships are also a great way to get your foot in the door. Contact your state pharmacy association to see if there are internships opportunities that you can take advantage of. That can give you exposure to different areas of pharmacy to better understand what areas are of interest to you.

If you have a pharmacy school that is affiliated with your college/university, try to find ways to engage with the pharmacy faculty as you never know one of them may be interviewing you once you apply.
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Tia’s Answer

Hi! I agree working towards a pharmacy tech is definitely a start! Volunteering with a free underserved clinic is a good way to get some patient contact. The opportunity to shadow a pharmacist (independent/community setting) also shows your desire in pharmacy as well.
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