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Considering a career as a pharmacist

  1. Nov 11, 2007 #1


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    Hi. Im still in the extremly hard process of deciding which course to do next year at university. There are a few courses i have in mind, and i am still doing some research on each, and their potential career paths.

    What made me consider pharmacy is the fact that i want to be working with people, and i do get satisfaction from helping people. I also really liked organic chemistry in my highschool course, and from what i gather, chemistry is a vital component to the study of pharmacy. I have also heard that it is quite common for pharmacists to end up owning their own business, which is essentially what my main goal is, whatever career i choose.

    Im just wondering, are there any pharmacists or ex-pharmacists who use these forums, or anyone who knows anything about the career? Id really appreciate any input at all about what you think about a job as a pharmacist, career prospects etc. Are pharmacists generally well paid?

    Thanks in advance,

    PS. I live in West Australia, if that makes much of a difference.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 12, 2007 #2
    In America a Pharmacist from my School University of Buffalo, can expect to earn around 110K right out of school, but be warneded its excessively competitive. I know people with 4.0 gpa who have been denied.
  4. Nov 12, 2007 #3
    I'm becoming a pharmacist myself. In Canada, another Commonwealth Nation, pharmacists can generate over 70k a year. In terms of money, yes, they are relatively very well off.

    In terms of knowledge, pharmacists will usually need to know the first two years of undergraduate chemistry and biology, which includes things like organic chem, basic biochem, anatomy, molecular bio. The real stuff is pharmacology, which is studying how drugs affect the body and all the kinds of dosages. Drug poisoning and drug reaction rates (how soon medicine works) are other things you'll study. You'll see LOTS about drug rates.

    It is a great career, which unfortunately makes it very competitive. You are in a sense a well paid undergrad chemist, which is a hard find. Should you get in the education is very difficult, on par with what medical doctors do perhaps minus some stress and residancy. It will be stressful as many pharm schools exceed the normal course load.

    You'll probably find work in clinics or more commonly behind the counter. The better pharmacists can have very rewarding careers working for the industrial giants.

    You only have highschool chem, which is not a good measure for how good you are for this kind of work. In other words you've seen NOTHING related to organic chemistry. Thats not to scare you though, because real organic chemistry is just as fun as it is challening. Though 99% of my peers disagree. You should definately do some uni. general chem and see how things go.

    In summary, pharm is a superb career. The only downside is its not as interactive as people make it seem, your salary is static, and it has been critized to be a "boring job". I personally disagree though, but as I mentioned before you'll need good grades to stand a chance.

    And pharmacists are not generally respected... called drop-out doctors or semi-physicians by the uneducated public.... who cares what they think rite?
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2007
  5. Nov 12, 2007 #4


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    Thanks for the input guys :smile: And Howers, i do realise that i have only been introduced to the slightest bit of what Chemistry is through highschool, but from that small amount, what i see i like :smile:

    Whats stopping me from going into pharmacy is the fact that i also really like maths, and id like to do a more math intense course. My immediate thought was that chemistry + maths = chemical engineering, which is another course i am very seriously considering.
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