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6 Pieces of Advice for High Schoolers Interested in Pharmacy

In high school, deciding what you want to do with the rest of your life can feel daunting. If you find yourself wondering if a career in pharmacy is right for, consider the below advice from current pharmacy students. 

Shadow various pharmacists

“Shadow various pharmacists to get a better sense of what a career in pharmacy looks like. Most people think pharmacists are pill counters at CVS but that isn’t true! Pharmacists work in all areas – hospitals (and there are dozens of subspecialities within that), community, ambulatory care, industry, government, academia, etc. Another misconception is that pharmacists don’t “call the shots” like a physician does. Pharmacists are vital members of the healthcare team and are often sought out when coming up with a patient care plan. Some practice completely independently and are able to make interventions under a consult agreement. Try it before you buy it – any pharmacist would gladly sit and talk with a prospective student about what they do for a living because we are passionate about our jobs!” – Angela Chu, Ohio Northern University

Keep an open mind

“Pharmacy seems like a limited career to an outsider, but there are so many specialties and opportunities available for pharmacists including working at pharmaceutical companies and at the FDA. We hold a skillset that is valuable and that no one else possesses as well as us!” Jennifer Toth, Northeast Ohio Medical University

Explore varying career options

“My advice would be to see what is all out there for pharmacy! Take time to get to know your local community pharmacists, find opportunities to shadow ambulatory care and hospital pharmacists, and also see if you can find ways to chat with academic and industry pharmacists. There are countless opportunities in the profession of pharmacy, and the best way to find out if you will enjoy it is to learn more about each and every one of them.” – Kevin Chen, University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy

Develop your interests

“While you have to take lots of math and science classes to get into pharmacy school, make sure to find other areas that interest you and that you’ll enjoy. Some of the best pharmacists I know are people who are well rounded and have lots of interests outside of science.” – Bethany Von Hoff, University of Minnesota

Take a breath

“You don’t need to have every aspect of your life figured out. You don’t need to know exactly what you want to do with your degree. Pharmacy school is about exploring your interests, and learning about all the different things you can do with your PharmD. Just work hard, and keep all options on the table. Take advantage of opportunities, and find people who are invested in your success. The PharmD degree is one of the most versatile degrees out there, and there are innumerable career options in pharmacy. Make sure you take your time, and don’t jump the gun.” – Nimit Jindal, Rutgers University, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy

Take risks, be confident, and challenge yourself

Apply for that job you want. Pursue that organization position. Pursue a residency. Don’t sell yourself short. What you put into pharmacy school will reflect what you get out of it. – Rachael Cardinal, University of Buffalo in Buffalo, NY

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