Pharmacists are the professionals who provide medications to meet individual treatment plans.
It is a service that has been performed as far back as the 20th century BC.
If you are considering becoming a pharmacist, there are pros and cons to think about.
Here is a list of the 8 pros and the 8 cons of becoming a pharmacist.
The Pros of Becoming a Pharmacist
1. Good salary
You will be compensated very well as a pharmacist.
Once you have your degree, you will be earning about six figures before you know it.
As a matter of fact, many entry-level pharmacists start at $100,000 per year.
The median salary for a pharmacist is about $120,000.
Even the low earners earn about $85,000 a year.
There are not many jobs available where you can earn that amount right out of the gate.
That is great!
2. An Array of Job Opportunities
There are a wide array of job opportunities for pharmacists.
The two primary industries that you can work in are the retail industry and the hospital industry.
There are also different types of roles available for a pharmacist.
You can work as a compounding pharmacist.
These pharmacies create drugs for patients’ needs.
You can also work in ambulatory care or work as an academic pharmacist.
As an academic pharmacist, you would be teaching others the skills of a pharmacist.
Other areas include working as a consultant or with different types of infectious diseases.
All around, the options are many.
You can pick an area that you are most interested in.
3. No License
As a pharmacist, it is not required that you hold a license for all positions.
If you are not into completing 8 years of schooling, there are still some positions that would be open to you.
For example, you could become a medical writer.
You also may be able to work with online health care options right from home.
An example of this is tele-pharmacy.
In this position, you would not have to face the physical demands of being a pharmacist.
This would give you more time with your family and less time commuting.
4. Jobs Everywhere
Jobs are available just about everywhere for pharmacists.
Once you have your degree, you can live and work anywhere that you choose.
Pharmacists are needed in all parts of the world.
Just keep in mind that there are different types of requirements for licensure depending on the state you live in.
For example, in the state of California, you must complete a training program of 240 hours, complete a military training program and earn an associate degree.
While in Colorado, there are no requirements for licensure.
5. Self Employment
As a licensed pharmacist, you can choose to work for someone else or opt for self-employment.
According to the National Community Pharmacist Association, there are over 20,000 small businesses operating as pharmacists in the country.
About 1,800 of that figure are independent rural pharmacies.
About 25% of all retail prescriptions are fulfilled by independent pharmacists.
6. Choice of Shifts
As a pharmacist, you will have a choice of available shifts.
Most positions in this industry offer 12-hour shifts.
You will have the option of a day shift or a night shift.
In the retail industry, you can work the day shift, the night shift, or the overnight shift.
Likely, you will also have the option to either work part-time or to work full-time.
It is easy to work your life around being a pharmacist.
7. Good Job Outlook
The job outlook for pharmacists is positive.
The BLS states that employment for this profession is to grow at 6% throughout 2026.
That is in line with other occupations.
The BLS is also expecting an increase in the demand for prescription medications.
As a result, there will be more of a demand for the services of a pharmacist.
All around, the occupational outlook for pharmacists is strong.
8. Start Own Business
It does not take much time to start your own pharmacy.
You can start your own pharmacy within 6 months and start to see a profit within 7 to 9 months.
If being self-employed is your first choice, then this is a great opportunity for you.
Although it costs about $450,000 to start your own pharmacy, the quick positive cash flow will help you to pursue financing options.
It is the ideal way to create a comfortable lifestyle for yourself.
It is a small risk, too.
The Cons of Becoming a Pharmacist
1. A Lot of Education
There are a lot of educational requirements to become a pharmacist.
A PharmD degree is equivalent to a doctorate degree.
There are about 6 to 8 years of education to become a pharmacist.
And the exams are tough.
You will have to make sure that you have studied very well.
Without a doubt, becoming a pharmacist is a big commitment.
It is going to cost you money to become a pharmacist.
Likely, you will wind up with over 100,000 in student loan debt.
Of course, you can lessen that with grants and scholarships, but it is still expensive.
It may just be financially difficult for you to pursue this profession.
Being a pharmacist is a lot of responsibility.
You are required to ensure the safety of each patient by giving them the proper medication.
You must constantly review the efficacy and quality of the prescription.
The medication that you hand out must be appropriate for the patient’s condition.
Plus, you will have to give instructions on how to take the medication and be able to answer questions.
Lastly, there are corporate mandates.
The bottom line is that you are responsible for the lives of your patients.
And that is a huge responsibility.
4. Tough Hours
The hours of a pharmacist can be rough.
If you are working in a hospital, the pharmacy is open 24/7.
And this includes working on holidays.
In addition, you will have to manage ICU patients.
As a pharmacist, you will be required to know insurance plans and proper billing procedures.
There is a lot of stress in being a pharmacist.
Being a pharmacist is definitely not an easy job.
There is competition within the industry.
You are not guaranteed a position after you complete your degree.
Keep in mind that only the best get the best jobs.
You just may have to settle for less when you first get started.
6. Uncertain Industry
Like many industries, the healthcare industry is always uncertain.
For example, when the Affordable Care Act was passed, some medical facilities and hospitals had to close.
The result was that pharmacists lost their jobs.
The landscape in healthcare is constantly changing, and you have to be prepared for it.
The nature of being a pharmacist is that there are problems to be solved all of the time.
People are going to come to you with their problems and need answers.
You will have to solve problems for health care professionals, customers, and patients.
You likely will also have to deal with sick people, who may not be in the best of moods because they are having a bad day.
8. Flawless Performance
When you are a pharmacist, you always must be on top of your game.
That means you always must perform at your best.
There are no second chances when you are a pharmacist.
Giving the incorrect dosage or the wrong medication can read the difference between a patient’s life and death.
If this should occur, you will face severe and swift consequences.
Depending on the outcome of the situation, you could wind up with some jail time or a large fine for the mishap.
When you think about it, that is a huge pressure that will be on your shoulders.
And it is one that you cannot take lightly.
Pros and Cons of Being a Pharmacist – Summary Table
|The Pros of Becoming a Pharmacist||The Cons of Becoming a Pharmacist|
|1. Good salary||1. A Lot of Education|
|2. An Array of Job Opportunities||2. Expensive|
|3. No License||3. Responsibility|
|4. Jobs Everywhere||4. Tough Hours|
|5. Self Employment||5. Competitive|
|6. Choice of Shifts||6. Uncertain Industry|
|7. Good Job Outlook||7. Problems|
|8. Start Own Business||8. Flawless Performance|
Should You Become a Pharmacist?
Whether or not you should become a pharmacist is truly a personal decision.
You will have to carefully review all of the pros and cons of this profession.
Be honest with yourself about how much you can handle and what you do not think you can handle.
Can you handle the demands of the profession?
Can you handle the stress that comes along with this profession?
Does the profession fit with your desired lifestyle?
Have a good discussion with yourself and answer these questions honestly?
That will lead you in the right direction for your decision.
Deciding to become a pharmacist should not be a fast decision.
You really need to think about it before you start this career.
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