Choosing the right career path is an important decision to make early in pharmacy school. Fortunately, pharmacists can choose from many different paths within the field.
Consult with your professors and academic advisors to get their perspective on each career option. You may also want to seek advice from your professional network.
- Clinical Pharmacy
When most people think of pharmacy, they picture their local community pharmacist dispensing medications and providing healthcare advice. While this is a popular and rewarding career path, it is far from the only one! In fact, there are over 100 different types of pharmacy jobs. Each of these career paths can offer unique challenges and rewards that are suited to different individuals.
Clinical pharmacists work in a clinical setting and are involved in direct patient care. Their work can include a variety of settings, from primary care through to acute and intensive care. Clinical pharmacists also have the ability to specialize in almost any area that medical doctors can, and they are often able to use their knowledge of medicines to improve patient outcomes.
Research shows that patients are more satisfied with their treatment when a clinical pharmacist is on their team. For example, a study showed that the presence of a rounding pharmacist significantly improved blood pressure control in ward patients. Another study found that a clinical pharmacist can significantly reduce the number of medication errors in hospital inpatients.
The clinical academic pharmacist path combines traditional clinical practice with a focus on research. This career path is well suited for those who are interested in both aspects of the profession, and it is ideal for those who wish to remain close to patients. Clinical academic pharmacists can work in a range of settings, from hospitals to universities, and the type of research undertaken will vary.
The pharmaceutical industry pharmacist path is a great option for those who are more interested in the business side of the profession. This career can involve a wide variety of responsibilities, from research and development to marketing and sales. The pharmaceutical industry is a fast-paced environment, so it is important to keep up with the latest trends and developments in the market in order to stay competitive. This career is also a good choice for those who are interested in the development and manufacture of new drugs, as there are many opportunities to specialize in specific drug classes.
- Pharmaceutical Industry
The pharmaceutical industry, which includes drug development, manufacturing, and marketing, is the world’s largest healthcare sector. The pharma industry produces drugs, medical devices, and vaccines that treat diseases, reduce symptoms, and improve quality of life. Its worldwide revenues have been steadily increasing and are projected to reach $1.4tn by 2022.
Although working in pharma can be challenging, it is rewarding in many ways. One of the biggest benefits is the satisfaction of knowing that you are a part of an industry that contributes to improving the lives of people across the globe. The fact that the medicines you make and develop are a means of saving and improving lives also makes your work meaningful.
Another benefit of working in the pharma industry is the opportunity to work with different professionals from around the world. Some of the top pharma companies operate from countries across the globe, including the names you see on your medicine bottles, like Bayer, Pfizer, and Moderna. It provides the chance to learn how workers from other countries function and their cultures and languages.
Working in the pharmaceutical industry also offers the potential to specialize in a particular area of pharmacy, such as clinical research or drug safety. This can lead to higher salaries and opportunities for promotion within your organization. In addition, you can use your expertise in a specific area of pharmacy to further the advancement of healthcare and improve the health outcomes of those who are most vulnerable.
The pharma industry is highly lucrative, and job openings always exist for qualified candidates. This is particularly true for positions in drug discovery and development, which are in high demand. As a result, it’s important to be prepared and follow best practices, such as having a strong undergraduate degree in biology or chemistry and seeking out professional development opportunities to further your career. Considering all of these factors, a career in the pharmaceutical industry is certainly worth pursuing if you are looking to gain valuable experience and advance your medical knowledge.
- Academia and Research
The academic environment provides opportunities for pharmacists to combine research with teaching and service. This career option can be both rewarding and daunting, requiring one to balance multiple areas of responsibility across a college or university campus as well as at practice sites. In addition to scholarly activities and professional organization activities, many faculty members have significant patient care responsibilities.
These responsibilities include the evaluation, prescribing, and dispensing of medications as well as the monitoring of patient progress. The role of a pharmacy professor also entails mentoring students and residents, conducting research and scholarship, as well as providing leadership to the profession. In recent years, pharmacy faculty recruitment and retention has become a top concern for ASHP. This eReport was developed to help current and prospective pharmacy faculty members gain a better understanding of the day-to-day responsibilities and rewards of this career path.
Achieving a successful career in academia requires a love for teaching and the desire to contribute to the growth of the profession. A person interested in this path should participate in a teaching elective or rotation while completing their PharmD program to gain a better appreciation for the demands of the academic environment. In addition, he or she should seek out a mentor who can offer guidance and advice on the best activities and organizations to be involved in.
King’s College LondonPharm, DSc, FRSB, head of the pharmaceutical biophysics group at King’s College London, says that a person seeking a research career in academia should be flexible and willing to take on other roles beyond the lab. She cites as an example her involvement with the Controlled Release Society, where she serves as treasurer.
She also points out that a researcher must be willing to collaborate with the pharmaceutical industry and other academic groups in order to accelerate the advancement of science. This is especially true for early-stage researchers when the time it takes to produce a publication can be lengthy.
Moreover, a researcher should be willing to make the necessary personal sacrifices and sacrifice family time in order to accomplish his or her goals. In the end, a successful career in academia requires patience and tenacity because it can often take years to see the impact of your research.
- Healthcare Administration
If you enjoy the idea of a career where you’ll be able to make a difference while developing leadership skills, healthcare administration might be the right choice for you. As a management professional in this booming industry, you’ll be in demand in settings like hospitals, community clinics, physician’s offices, and dental, home health, or hospice care centers. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and health services managers will see a 32% job growth between 2020 and 2030.
If a career in healthcare administration interests you, it’s important to choose a program that thoroughly prepares you for the demands of the field. In addition to coursework in healthcare, management, and business, you’ll want to ensure your program provides you with opportunities to gain real-world experience by participating in projects that align with the type of work you would expect to do once you’re a healthcare administrator. For example, at SNHU, undergraduate and graduate students get hands-on experience by participating in weeklong experiential learning challenges that empower them to tackle real-world problems facing healthcare facilities.
Healthcare administration is a broad occupational category that oversees the management, supervision, and administrative tasks in various healthcare settings. These include primary (seeing your physician), secondary, and tertiary care environments, including hospital, nursing, and rehabilitation facilities. This broad scope of responsibilities creates a wide range of career paths for those interested in this burgeoning industry.
While many healthcare administrators have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, a master’s degree is often required for advancement to management positions. For this reason, it’s important to research programs that offer the option for a master’s in healthcare administration as well as a bachelor’s. Many master’s programs will build upon concepts learned in an undergraduate degree and dive deeper into topics that help you advance within your field, such as patient safety, quality management, and cultural change. In addition, they may also provide you with the opportunity to specialize in a particular area of healthcare that aligns with your personal and professional goals. For instance, SNHU’s Master of Science in Health Administration program offers concentrations in public health, patient safety risk management, and entrepreneurship.
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