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What advice would you give to someone looking to get into the field of pharmacy?

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Michael’s Answer

I agree with Michael's answer, pharmacy is a very rewarding career choice and there are many possible roles a pharmacist can fill. Some of the areas I've seen pharmacists be quite happy in are basic research into how medications work in the body or new combination therapies work, working as a Medical Science Liaison for a pharma company, directing clinical research studies, directing clinical work in hospitals, and analyzing drug safety reports to look for trends in how medications impact patients. As Michael noted there is also a career avenue in retail pharmacy. Retail pharmacists can be a vital member of local communities both as an expert who knows what combinations of medications are safe and helping patients navigate the ever more complex healthcare and insurance systems.

Michael recommends the following next steps:

Continue to study hard. Many pharmacy programs these days only offer a PharmD as a degree which is a five or six year commitment and the workload is substantial (but rewarding.).
Ask yourself which aspects of pharmacy appeal to you most. Basic research? Working with patients? Clinical research?
Explore the idea that maybe an MD is what you really prefer or in a different direction, is a PhD in chemistry or physiology a satisfying choice for you?
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Anthony’s Answer

Hi,
I believe the most critical piece of advice I can give someone interested in pharmacy is to understand the profession's scope entirely. The pharmacy field is enormous, and there are many opportunities given to someone to earn a PharmD. Often, I believe students entering pharmacy school are unaware of these opportunities.
With that being said, community pharmacists who work at retail pharmacy chains or grocery stores are the most "popular" pharmacists. So often find people typically think of these positions when they think of pharmacy. Although there are many opportunities outside this profession, I believe it is crucial to understand what these pharmacists do as it is very much a "love it or hate it" position. It is not unlikely to work in this setting throughout your career or through schooling.
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Paul’s Answer

My advice would be consider "Why pharmacy?" Why pharmacy and not MD, RN, OT, etc. Are you truly passionate about medication use and the challenges for patients that come with it? There is a lot of overlap among the health professions, each have their own challenges. It really comes down to, how confident are you that this is what you would like to do for a living? There is a lot of diversity in jobs for pharmacists, so also take that into consideration. Descriptions of those types of roles can be found: https://aphanet.pharmacist.com/career-option-profiles
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Michael’s Answer

Study hard in high school. Take all the STEM courses you can. Pharmacy is a great career choice. You can work at a retail pharmacy or for a large pharmaceutical company. You will have a rewarding and financially lucrative career!
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EJ’s Answer

There are many different career opportunities in pharmacy. You need to find out what do you like about career in pharmacy. If you have specific area of interest, then try to talk to a pharmacist who works in that field. If you don't know that much about pharmacy and just starting to get interested in a career in pharmacy, then maybe drop by a local retail pharmacy and talk to a pharmacist. Once you have general idea about retail pharmacy, then expand to other pharmacies like hospital pharmacies or mail order pharmacies. If you're ready for the next step, start looking for an opportunity to work or volunteer at a pharmacy. Many retail pharmacies or hospital pharmacies offer summer program , volunteer program, or work opportunities for high school students. Talking to a pharmacists work in different pharmacy settings also will be helpful. Pharmacy program is quite competitive so make sure you study hard while researching on career path :)
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Dinah’s Answer

The most important thing is to make sure that pharmacy is what excites you and makes you want to show up to work everyday. There are so many avenues to go into with having a PharmD. The best thing to do is to shadow a pharmacist if the company allows you to do so or better yet, becoming a pharmacy technician to get some experience and feel out how you are liking the career. Volunteering at a hospital can also open up your eyes to what pharmacists do. Taking it one step at a time and doing your research is going to save you alot in the long run and save you from getting into a career that you will dislike for the rest of your life.

Another important thing is to take as many STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) courses as you can because that will help you become a well rounded applicant. Research also really helps because having some research background can help you in the long run, if you plan to do research in pharmacy school or even any research during your pharmacy career. Also having extracurricular activities is also another great part of your application, which helps the admission counsel your unique skills and personality. You don't have to do anything and everything underneath the sun, pick a few things that really shows cases who you truly are.

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