There’re a lot of misconceptions about careers in pharmacy. We’re on a mission to change that! So, we’re debunking six of the most common myths about pharmacy careers below.
Myth 1: Students need to have a bachelor’s degree before going to pharmacy school.
This is a common misunderstanding. There are a variety of pathways to earning a PharmD—the degree needed to practice pharmacy in the United States.
A majority of student pharmacists have completed about two or three years’ worth of college before enrolling in a PharmD program. That said, there are some colleges and schools of pharmacy that give preference to applicants who’ve earned a bachelor’s degree.
It’s important for prospective students to review the admissions requirements of any pharmacy schools or colleges they’re looking to apply to.
Myth 2: Only chemistry majors go to pharmacy school.
This definitely isn’t the case! In fact, of last year’s PharmCAS applicants, only 10 percent were chemistry majors.
Additionally, biology majors made up 21 percent of accepted applicants and the remaining 69 percent of applicants were from a mix of majors, including psychology, English, business, biochemistry, and pharmaceutical science.
All students, no matter their college majors, are invited to explore and pursue pharmacy school and careers in pharmacy!
Myth 3: I want to be a doctor, so I can’t be a pharmacist.
In order to practice pharmacy in the United States, all pharmacists must earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree. So, while medical doctors and pharmacists are very different, pharmacists are often referred to by the title of doctor based on their education and degrees!
Myth 4: Pharmacists spend their days counting pills.
While accurately counting medications is an important part of many pharmacists’ roles, it’s not the only aspect! The following are just a few of the varied duties that pharmacists are responsible for each day:
- Providing physicians with expert advice on medications
- Establishing best practices for medication therapies utilized by the FDA
- Advising pharmaceutical companies with product research
- Serving as medication experts on every health care team
- Educating future pharmacists
Myth 5: Pharmacists can’t specialize in an area of interest.
It’s very possible for pharmacists to specialize in a specific area of interest. In fact, a growing number of licensed pharmacists are choosing to pursue board certification as a way to demonstrate expertise in a specialty area of practice in pharmacy.
Specialization areas include ambulatory care, cardiology, critical care, geriatrics, infections diseases, nuclear pharmacy, oncology, pediatrics, and more! You can find additional pharmacy career specialties on our website.
Myth 6: Most pharmacists work in a retail setting.
Community pharmacists—pharmacists who often work behind the counter in a retail setting—are highly accessible and knowledgeable health care providers.
That said, the pharmacy profession continues to expand to a variety of locations outside of the retail setting. Currently, a majority of pharmacists—about 55 percent—work in hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, nursing homes, government agencies, universities, and other settings.
Pharmacy Career Myths… Busted!
Careers in the pharmacy industry are diverse, rewarding, and impressive! We hope you’ve learned a bit more about the industry from our myth busting.
This content was adapted from an article originally shared in the September 2019 issue of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (NAAHP), Inc.’s monthly newsletter—NAAHP-Net.