Pharmacist job demand isn't a concern for the inaugural class of the Cedarville University School of Pharmacy.
Pharmacist job demand isn’t a concern for the inaugural class of the Cedarville University School of Pharmacy.
Dean Marc Sweeney, PharmD, MDiv, told Pharmacy Times that 43 of the 48 students in the school’s first graduating class reported having specific job opportunities when they were surveyed before graduation. The 5 remaining said they were still trying to figure out which career direction they wanted to pursue.
One potential explanation for why Cedarville students aren’t having issues with job placement is the school’s emphasis on networking.
“I am a big advocate of teaching students how to network throughout their entire professional career and throughout their entire college career,” Dr. Sweeney said. “We teach them how to go to professional conferences for networking and opportunities.”
Many of the students are also involved in events on campus, which include multiple networking opportunities.
Dr. Sweeney said the school also emphasizes the diversity of opportunities that are open to students. In addition to traditional practice, students are encouraged to consider jobs in managed care, home care, long-term care, nuclear pharmacy, collaborative practice, and pharmacy management.
The dean said he has heard from companies recruiting his students that the market is “very strong.”
Cedarville’s location in Cedarville, Ohio, may also have something to do with its job placement success.
“We happen to be located in a region (Dayton, Ohio) that has never had a college of pharmacy,” Dr. Sweeney explained, noting that there seem to be many opportunities in each major city of Ohio.
He also posited that the recession may have led some established pharmacists to defer retirement, but now that the economy is recovering, older pharmacists may be beginning to retire, which could be opening doors for new grads.
Some individuals in the pharmacy community have expressed concern that there aren’t enough job openings to account for the growing number of pharmacists. The latest figures from the Pharmacy Workforce Center’s Aggregate Demand Index indicate that national demand for pharmacists slightly dropped in January 2016 compared with January 2015.
However, Ohio, which is considered to be in the Midwest, is located in the region with the highest demand in the United States.
Dr. Sweeney pointed out that demand for pharmacists has always had its ups and downs, and there is at least one positive to having many pharmacists in the job market.
“[M]ost innovation occurs when the profession experiences a little saturation,” he argued. “In the 1980s, home care pharmacy grew because of the saturation of the market. When I was president of the Ohio Pharmacists Association in the early 2000s, I was faced with a serious shortage of pharmacists in Ohio. Ten years earlier and 10 years later, there was saturation.”
Ohio’s expansion of reimbursable medication therapy management may have also led to more job opportunities.
“Rather than being reactive to anecdotal reports of the job market, I prefer to be strategic and develop innovative pharmacists that can operate above the market,” Dr. Sweeney said. “There is no competition for a job that they create.”