Most Midwestern Pharmacy Students Are Finding Jobs

While there is fear that the demand for pharmacists has been decreasing, the great majority of pharmacy students in the Midwest are finding jobs after graduation.

While there is fear that the demand for pharmacists has been decreasing, the great majority of pharmacy students in the Midwest are finding jobs after graduation.

A new study examined 2013 PharmD graduates from 8 schools in the Midwest: University of Iowa, Purdue University, The Ohio State University, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska Medical Center, and University of Wisconsin.

The researchers found that 81% of the 2013 students had postgraduate plans. About half of the students with plans accepted residencies or fellowships, while the other half had accepted jobs.

The study also found that most students were happy with their post-graduation plans. About 84% of the graduates said they were pleased with the offers they received, and 86% received placement in their preferred practice setting.

The researchers found that students who wanted to go into community pharmacy had an easier time getting placed than those who wanted to work in a health-system pharmacy.

Students reported that they thought residencies were harder to obtain than jobs.

Almost all of the graduates (99%) reported that they were taking a job that was 30 hours a week, and 78% were taking a position that was at least 35 hours a week.

“Part-time work is more common among female pharmacists, which may influence the marketplace as pharmacists are increasingly female,” the researchers stated.

Around 80% said they felt “adequately prepared” for their job or residency interviews. Students cited more opportunities for career exploration and more information on fellowships as areas that would have helped them more. They also sought more help with interviews, curriculum vitae prep, and coaching on the residency application process.

“The average number of residency applications per student (8.1) appears high, suggesting that students may need more guidance on identifying programs that may be a good fit,” the researchers stated.

The researchers found a link between students who asked for advice from a faculty member, adviser, or current resident, plus participation in school activities, with those who successfully obtained a residency.

Students’ job searches lasted an average of almost 3 months, and applicants went on an average of 2 to 3 interviews, according to the study authors.

Average salaries were $112,270, $42,574, and $47,701 for jobs, residencies, and fellowships, respectively.

Twenty lucky graduates received sign-on bonuses, which averaged $6000. Meanwhile, average self-reported student debt was $123,350.

The study data were derived from the responses of 783 of the 996 graduates (a 79% response rate) at the 8 schools.

The average age was around 26 years old, and 64% of the students were women. The most common racial makeups were white (64%), Asian (16%), and Hispanic (10%).

Almost half of the students desired to be clinical practitioners, 25% wanted to be staff pharmacists, and 17% wanted to be managers.

These study findings were published in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education (AJPE).