Becoming a pharmacist is a popular career choice for many. However, like most jobs that require a degree, you’ll want to make sure that it is the right one for you. Giving up years of your life and paying all of that money is a big commitment to make.
So how do you know if it’s your dream career? It’s not easy to make a decision based on textbook descriptions.
Below we are going to talk about some questions that you should ask yourself before you think of becoming a pharmacist.
Let’s get started!
- Do I have a passion for healthcare?
- Am I ready to go through the necessary training?
- Do I have high attention to detail?
- Am I prepared to deal with angry customers?
- Do I enjoy being responsible for other people?
- Am I comfortable communicating and listening to others?
- Do I enjoy science and mathematics?
- Am I willing to learn consistently, even when qualified?
- What will I do if I don’t enjoy it?
- Are there jobs available near me?
Do I have a passion for healthcare?
One of the first questions you need to ask yourself before you become a pharmacist is if you have a passion for the healthcare industry. You might like being able to assist people with their medical problems, but there is a lot more involved that you have to be aware of. It requires hard work, dedication, and a lot of the time, you’ll be required to work extensive hours. If you don’t think you can handle the stress, it might not be the right choice for you.
Am I ready to go through the necessary training?
As mentioned above, becoming a pharmacist requires a degree. In the US, this is a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) that consists of two years of specific undergraduate college study followed by four academic years of professional pharmacy study. Alongside this, you’ll need to pass a state pharmacy licensure exam. It certainly is a long and extensive degree, and you will need to be prepared to go through all of the required training.
Do I have high attention to detail?
One of the most critical skills that a pharmacist needs to have is a high attention to detail. You’re prescribing vital medication, and everything needs to be accurate. A mistake, in some cases, could cause severe and harmful effects. After receiving drugs from wholesale pharmacy suppliers, it’s up to you to check inventory and confirm that everything is in order. If you don’t already have this natural ability to be meticulous, you might want to reconsider your career choice.
Am I prepared to deal with angry customers?
Much like any job that requires working directly with people, pharmacies are prone to demanding customers. If you don’t have the right medication in stock or refuse to give something out, you may have to deal with handling an aggressive situation. While this shouldn’t stop you from completing this degree if you’re really interested in the field, it’s still something that you will need to take into consideration.
Do I enjoy being responsible for other people?
Management and pharmacy work go hand in hand. In most employment situations, you’ll also be required to oversee other technicians and staff. You’ll be leading others, delegating tasks, and taking on other roles of a manager, such as organizing a budget and ordering stock. If you don’t enjoy being responsible for other people, then you may find it challenging to secure a job. There aren’t always positions available in hospitals and specialty clinics.
Am I comfortable communicating and listening to others?
Another essential skill that you need to have to be a pharmacist is communication and active listening. To provide the proper support, relay information about medication, and assist with general inquires, you have to be comfortable talking to others. Again, while most jobs require this, for pharmacists, it’s especially important. This is because you are helping with serious conditions, and your diagnosis must be accurate. In some cases, you’ll be recommending that they visit a doctor.
Do I enjoy science and mathematics?
A large part of the pharmacy degree is mathematics and science, so if you don’t enjoy it or at least tolerate it, it’s not going to be the right career choice for you. You have to be competent in measuring dosages in order to prescribe and formulate accurate medication. While you don’t need to be a mathematical genius, you do need to have an extensive understanding of the subject.
Am I willing to learn consistently, even when qualified?
Even after you have completed your PharmD, pharmacy is one subject that you will always continue learning. As new drugs come out and medical advancements are made, you’ll be required to keep updated with the latest information. At times, you may need to take specific courses to further your learning. It’s a lot of work and is something that you will need to be prepared for in order to do your job effectively. You really do have to love the career.
What will I do if I don’t enjoy it?
Indeed, one of the most important questions that you need to ask yourself before starting this career adventure is what you will do if you don’t enjoy it. According to the Strada Institute for the Future of Work, 40% of graduates don’t use their degrees. For pharmacists, their options are limited to quite a particular area.
If you’re concerned and not positive that you will enjoy it, it might be worth looking at other popular jobs in healthcare such as:
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
You can find more in-demand careers here.
Are there jobs available near me?
Finally, the last question you’ll want to consider is what available jobs are near you if you choose to complete your PharmD. In most cases, smaller towns won’t have many positions open. While most jobs in the health career industry are always in demand, you still have to think about practicality and whether you will be ok with moving away from home. Try and do a little bit of research in advance to see what options are out there. It might help you make your final decision.
And that’s it! By answering the questions above, you should now have a better understanding of whether becoming a pharmacist is the right career choice for you.