The Reinvented Pharmacist
Pharmacy Job Outlook: The Tip of the Iceberg
Friday, March 25th, 2011
I received word this month that a private university in North Carolina is opening a fourth school of pharmacy. They are now recruiting a founding Dean and plan to enroll a class of 100 students for 2013. They didn't ask me for advice, but I would have told them it wasn't needed.
I heard one national pharmacy leader suggest that the graduating pharmacy class of 2011 will be like the "canary in the mine" alerting us to the manpower crises in our profession.
I wonder about the ethics of a pharmacy education consultant who would advise a university to start a school of pharmacy today. Just take a look at this I received from a Pharmacy Times
reader in response to my January 2011 Editor's Note on "Will the Pharmacy Job Market Self-Correct?"
The reader writes: "I read with great interest & much concern your article entitled "Will the Pharmacy Job Market Self-correct?" I just got today a license renewal notification in the mail from the Washington State Board of Pharmacy. I need to pay $170 by the end of March. I'll need to pay an additional $145 to have my Oregon license renewed by the end of May. At the beginning of October, my Nevada license will also come due for an additional $150. And like every other pharmacist, I pay for CE certificates & professional liability insurance.
It would sure be nice to have a job as a pharmacist to help pay for all these expenses. I haven't worked as a RPh since early November 2009. I've looked; I've applied. God knows I have tried!! No, I'm not kidding, & no this is no joke.
That's why I read your article with great interest. I did find great consolation in the fact that I am not the only unemployed RPh in the USA who is having difficulty finding work. The following phrases really struck a nerve: "simply not enough positions to sustain the influx of graduates" & "serious overproduction of graduates." In answer to the question, "do we need more pharmacy schools?" I hope the answer should be evident to everyone & anyone who is even thinking about opening another pharmacy school.
I have reached a new level of desperation. I went so far as to contact all the pharmacy retail chains with the following proposal, "Look, if you won't hire me as a RPh…would you offer me a job as a pharm tech or even a pharm clerk??" I got no takers. Since the beginning of this year, I have applied for well over 100 or so jobs. Occasionally some of those jobs have been for pharmacists; the rest were of course non-pharmacy jobs.
I haven't given up; I am trying to get licensed in other states to improve my chances of landing a pharmacist job. However I am extremely disappointed with the current pharmacist job outlook. Not only am I willing to relocate…I'm also willing to live in a location few pharmacists would even consider, if such places still exist! I sincerely hope my luck changes! As a closing note…NO, we do not need any more pharmacy schools! Perhaps we can close a dozen or so that already are operational??
I hope we don't have many pharmacists with such a story, but I think we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. This is a real problem for pharmacy—and we all have some responsibility for its resolution. If some action isn't taken, our whole profession could be in jeopardy. Am I overreacting?
Your comments are valuable to us. Thank you.
August 3rd, 2012 - 01:09:07 AM
There are NO jobs in the remote areas of eastern Kentucky yet they are starting anotherschool in Paintsville. These students soak up the limited financial aid and will graduate with no jobs and indebt over your head. We need to stop any new for profit schools in theiafterwards lr tracks now.
September 24th, 2012 - 01:06:54 AM
I came across this article as I was doing research into the field of pharmacy. I am currently working on my pre-requisites to apply for pharmacy school and I am also in NC. I was very surprised to find the job outlook sound so wonderful by so many articles, only to read the comments posted and hear so many people say they were looking for work. My question to you is - have things changed for the better at all? I am in western NC and really had my heart set on this career path. I think I would really enjoy the profession but really have to interest in doling out prescriptions to people that I don't even have time to talk to, and if I spend $120,000 on my education, I would certainly need a full time job. I am early enough in the process that I could still easily make a change, but don't want to be scared away from the profession if I have a good chance of making a lifelong meaningful career from it. What is your advice for someone like me?
December 25th, 2012 - 06:48:49 PM
Where are we on this problem? Any updates on stopping the approval of any more new schools? I have 2 more years left of school and although I love the profession, I am starting to think that going back to school for pharmacy may have been a bad decision. We can't keep up taking out loans to finance an education that might put us smack into the middle of a job market in which 20 percent of us will be underemployed or unemployed. It's another mortgage crisis waiting to happen.... Not to mention the quality of candidates these for-profit institutions are accepting. Where are the professional organizations in all of this? They should protecting the profession for those of us who are already pharmacists or enrolled in well established schools.
January 30th, 2013 - 03:42:31 PM
I wish there was a way to stop this cancerous growth of pharmacy schools. They are just cashing in. They don't care about the future of the field. government websites and school web sites are still painting a very rosy picture of the profession. I think government is in on it too. The fact of the matter is pharmacists are expensive. it is the simple concept of supply and demand. supply already exceeds the demand. very soon they will slash the wages and give pharmacists a "take it or leave it" option. it is almost impossible to get into hospitals and retail is getting more and more saturated. these new schools are really degrading the education quality for pharmacists. I don't think this growth can be stopped because like anything else in this country...it is all about money and it is a euphoric period for schools.
April 11th, 2013 - 11:09:47 AM
I left a very nice position in my rearview mirrow in 2005 because of unethical/illegal practices of the owner/pharmacist only to begin years of little work; I now have been a Pharmacist for 31 years and was terminated by the national chain I was working for because they mistakenly thought I had their benefits package and being 55yo was bad for their benefits program.... no work results in my beginning anything to make money....truckdriver...insurance salesman....security...finally had to work online from home...good money but not easy to establish..GOOD LUCK TO THE UNEMPLOYED PHARMACIST OF AMERICA
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