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Ph.D or Pharm D?

How can I decide whether a Ph.D in Pharmacy or a Pharm D. is a better option for me?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Parixit’s Answer

The choice between pursuing a Ph.D. in Pharmacy or a Pharm.D. degree is an exciting one! This decision will ultimately be guided by your unique career goals and interests. To help you make a well-informed decision, let me highlight some key points about both degrees:

A Pharm.D. (Doctor of Pharmacy) is a professional degree that paves the way for you to become a highly skilled and licensed pharmacist. This fantastic program takes around four years to complete, and you'll be learning about various aspects of pharmaceutical sciences, pharmacology, clinical pharmacy, and pharmacy practice. Choosing a Pharm.D. degree is perfect if you have a passion for working closely with patients and healthcare providers in clinical or community settings. As a pharmacist, you'll play a crucial role in ensuring the safe and effective use of medications.

On the other hand, if you have a strong desire to contribute to groundbreaking pharmaceutical research, drug discovery, or academia, a Ph.D. in Pharmacy could be your calling. This research-focused degree generally takes four to six years to complete and will provide you with the opportunity to conduct original research in a specialized area within pharmaceutical sciences. With a Ph.D. in Pharmacy, your career possibilities are vast, ranging from roles in government agencies to positions in the pharmaceutical industry focusing on research and development.

Ultimately, this thrilling decision between a Pharm.D. and a Ph.D. in Pharmacy will come down to your particular career aspirations and interests. If you envision yourself as a pharmacist, changing lives in a clinical or community setting, then a Pharm.D. is absolutely the right choice. However, if you have a burning curiosity for research, academia, or the pharmaceutical industry beyond the role of a pharmacist, then a Ph.D. in Pharmacy may be the perfect path for you. Embrace this wonderful journey and trust your instincts - your future awaits!
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Jazmin’s Answer

Hi Sarah!

I've done a PhD so I can elaborate a bit more on that side of things.

A PhD can be a very long slog - I did mine for 5 years in computational chemistry. There's also no guarantee that you'll make amazing discoveries or that your project will end up on the path it started on, so it can be pretty gruelling, especially when you're not being paid a lot of money. I did a PhD because I was interested in become a researcher at the time and I love being able to constantly learn and expand my knowledge.

After learning about what academia is like (competition, lack of funding) I was lucky enough to be able to pivot toward data science, which is the field I still work in today. That being said, I don't regret doing a PhD. It was a fantastic learning experience and it opened up a lot of opportunities for me.

Hope this helps :)
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Mary Jane’s Answer

Shadowing and informational interviews! The more you talk to folks about their careers -- what they like, what they don't, where they see the field going in the future -- the better you'll be able to decide where you best fit. If you have a pharmacy school in your state, reach out to their admissions office and ask if they have any resources to assist you with finding a job shadow. You can also look into summer research programs in your field of interest, which will give you a better sense of what the PhD track looks like and whether you like being in an academic or industry lab.
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