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How can I decide if I should earn a P.H.D within this career field (Pharmacy)?

Hello, My name is Ray. I'm currently in high school conducting an interview with individuals within a certain career path. The career path that I have chosen is the career of Pharmacists. I want to get better insight on what the career entails. In order to gain the insight, I am going to ask a plethora of questions towards the career of Pharmacists.

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Nadia’s Answer

That will be a decision you will have to make based on what's going on in your life at that time and what you would like to pursue.
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Brianna’s Answer

PhD rather than PharmD? If you want to work in retail or clinically as a pharmacist you would have to get your PharmD. PhD is more for if you are interested in research or teaching but even then I think you would start with PharmD...though I'm not certain. Would be best to reach out to some college professors on this question. I have my PharmD and then am Board Certified in Pharmacotherapy by the Board of Pharmacy Specialties.
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Michael’s Answer

A PharmD is the only degree program offered if you want to be a pharmacist.
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Mary Jane’s Answer

A PhD is typically the degree for someone who wants to do basic research and teach in a university setting while a PharmD degree tends to be more focused on patient care, working with physicians as part of a medical team. PhDs are problem solvers in the sense of "How do we design a new drug to best do the thing that we need it to do?" while PharmDs are going to focus more on questions like "What is the best drug we currently have to solve this patient's issue while causing the least harm considering the other drugs and illnesses they're experiencing?" Having said that, PharmDs can still teach in pharmacy schools and engage in research so the distinctions are not always as clear as it may seem from reading articles or talking with people.

The best way for you to decide between the two is to continue doing informational interviews with people working in the field, shadowing different settings/types pharmacist of roles, and engaging in research when you get to college. If you try research and you hate it, that would probably point you away from the PhD. If you shadow a pharmacist and you hate talking with patients, that might mean the PharmD is not the best path for you, or it might mean that you need to explore a different type of setting (hospital vs retail vs research).

I recommend reaching out not only to retail pharmacies in your area for interviews and shadowing, but also checking with the nearest hospital because most people are not familiar with hospital-based pharmacists. You can also reach out to your state's pharmacy school to inquire about summer programs for high school students and undergrads, as well as asking for assistance to find mentors and shadowing opportunities. Pharmacy schools are working really hard right now to get the message out about the many options within the profession so I have found them to be very enthusiastic about outreach to prospective students. Good luck, Ray!
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