Katy Roaster
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Hi everyone,

So I read through a lot of posts advising people to stay away from Pharmacy and blah blah etc as apparently it's a dying profession and all.

Always had a passion for healthcare and got in to study pharmacy in Nottingham but some of the posts I read really made me think twice about pharmacy as a profession.

Wanted to see what you guys think the situation is like for pharmacy, I mean surely it is still much better than every other course apart from medicine, dentistry, veterinary sciences, nursing, right?

I don't want the stress/risk of applying to medicine/dentistry but to do a course that can maximize my job prospects in future as my family are struggling financially and I want a career that can really help them out.
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Freiheit
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(Original post by Katy Roaster)
Hi everyone,

So I read through a lot of posts advising people to stay away from Pharmacy and blah blah etc as apparently it's a dying profession and all.

Always had a passion for healthcare and got in to study pharmacy in Nottingham but some of the posts I read really made me think twice about pharmacy as a profession.

Wanted to see what you guys think the situation is like for pharmacy, I mean surely it is still much better than every other course apart from medicine, dentistry, veterinary sciences, nursing, right?

I don't want the stress/risk of applying to medicine/dentistry but to do a course that can maximize my job prospects in future as my family are struggling financially and I want a career that can really help them out.
Try getting work experience and see if it's something you enjoy. If it's something you enjoy or are passionate then go for it. If it's only for the job prospects or financial reasons then it's probably not a good idea.


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Dalightfool
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My niece is looking at studying Pharmacy, too. We looked into things for her and were a little put off but what we read. Essentially there is not a cap on how many people can study MPharm each year. The number of entrants onto MPharm courses is increasing every year, there is no talk of a cap for any time soon. What this means is that pharmacy schools are profitting big time, but at the expense of students and already qualified pharmacists. A surplus of graduates looking to work in a specific field means two main things: job security is worse, salaries are worse.

My niece got As for Triple science and we're encouraging her to look into Nursing, which she is.

Some reading you might find helpful: http://www.pharmaceutical-journal.co...067055.article

Also, it depends which area of Pharmacy you can find employment in, but generally the average figure seems to be about £34,000 for experienced Pharmacists.

Bearing this all in mind, we think it is just too much of a risk to embark on a 4 year degree which would cost her more than a typical 3 year BSc and leave her with less time to play catch-up with regard to work experience.

If Pharmacy were a 3 year degree and the numbers were capped (or at least limited to students who achieved ABB or higher) then I would say it is worth the risk if you really feel like going for it. As things stand, I would say look at something else, just to be safe.
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sophicoco
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Number of pharmacists are increasing, but I think the roles are also very varied which is a plus (hospital, community, industry etc). Theres also trials of integrating pharmacists into GP surgeries to lighten the work load.
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popnit
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Definitely not a dying profession! There's sooo much that Pharmacists are getting involved in these days. Loads of opportunities available. I would suggest if you're interested in the degree and the career then you should definitely go for it!
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Katy Roaster
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(Original post by Dalightfool)
My niece is looking at studying Pharmacy, too. We looked into things for her and were a little put off but what we read. Essentially there is not a cap on how many people can study MPharm each year. The number of entrants onto MPharm courses is increasing every year, there is no talk of a cap for any time soon. What this means is that pharmacy schools are profitting big time, but at the expense of students and already qualified pharmacists. A surplus of graduates looking to work in a specific field means two main things: job security is worse, salaries are worse.

My niece got As for Triple science and we're encouraging her to look into Nursing, which she is.

Some reading you might find helpful: http://www.pharmaceutical-journal.co...067055.article

Also, it depends which area of Pharmacy you can find employment in, but generally the average figure seems to be about £34,000 for experienced Pharmacists.

Bearing this all in mind, we think it is just too much of a risk to embark on a 4 year degree which would cost her more than a typical 3 year BSc and leave her with less time to play catch-up with regard to work experience.

If Pharmacy were a 3 year degree and the numbers were capped (or at least limited to students who achieved ABB or higher) then I would say it is worth the risk if you really feel like going for it. As things stand, I would say look at something else, just to be safe.
Thanks for the replies everyone. It's not too late to decide if I want to start my course in September or take a gap year. Thing is I'm a guy so nursing isn't really my thing, but I definitely think it has very promising prospects and glad your niece has decided to take it on.

Been trying to assess courses and so far have found this:

http://www.thecompleteuniversityguid...-graduates-do/


If anyone has any better sources of information, I'd greatly appreciate it but from the looks of things, either this table is just wrong, or pharmacy really is the next best thing out there?
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hollygc123
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This is quite a silly question, but a genuine one as I am looking into studying pharmacy at university.

What jobs do pharmacists do? Like what is their role?
I mean apart from dispensing prescriptions, what else is there?
The idea of being a pharmacist does appeal to me and the courses at university look interesting, I just want to know what different kind of jobs I will be open to

Thank you
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Dalightfool
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(Original post by Katy Roaster)
Thanks for the replies everyone. It's not too late to decide if I want to start my course in September or take a gap year. Thing is I'm a guy so nursing isn't really my thing, but I definitely think it has very promising prospects and glad your niece has decided to take it on.

Been trying to assess courses and so far have found this:

http://www.thecompleteuniversityguid...-graduates-do/


If anyone has any better sources of information, I'd greatly appreciate it but from the looks of things, either this table is just wrong, or pharmacy really is the next best thing out there?
As I say I think it's not the best choice, because you have to imagine what the situation will be like in 5-6 years (when you are looking to start work) and then in another 5 years after that. What about 30 years from now, when you're mid-career and have a family to support?

From what we have read on pharmacy forums and other snip bits of information, it seems there is a lot of resentment among pharmacists because of the uncapped numbers, and quite right too.

Would you still be happy to work as a pharmacist if wages decreased by 20%? Wages won't go up, that's for sure, and neither will job openings. You have to be entirely besotted with the career to risk going through with it IMO. If you're doing it because it, "seems like a good idea", listen to the advice and take a gap year (and have a long hard think)!

Good luck whatever you do (pharmacy or otherwise).
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Katy Roaster
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(Original post by Dalightfool)
As I say I think it's not the best choice, because you have to imagine what the situation will be like in 5-6 years (when you are looking to start work) and then in another 5 years after that. What about 30 years from now, when you're mid-career and have a family to support?

From what we have read on pharmacy forums and other snip bits of information, it seems there is a lot of resentment among pharmacists because of the uncapped numbers, and quite right too.

Would you still be happy to work as a pharmacist if wages decreased by 20%? Wages won't go up, that's for sure, and neither will job openings. You have to be entirely besotted with the career to risk going through with it IMO. If you're doing it because it, "seems like a good idea", listen to the advice and take a gap year (and have a long hard think)!

Good luck whatever you do (pharmacy or otherwise).
Yep, appreciate all the advise. A possible reason pharmacy is brought up so negatively and frequently up for debate though is many people believe it should be in line with healthcare professions like medicine/dentistry, hence the suggestion of capping it in the first place. Every other course out there, has and never will be capped, and there are hundreds of universities out there offering other courses i.e. Engineering, Law, Accounting etc. Would these courses really bring better chances of professional employment?

Just want to ask if there's any course you'd recommend to have a more secure future than pharmacy apart from the ones I've already mentioned?

Judging from the table and a site called unistats, everything else I've not mentioned looks worse than pharmacy in terms of prospects so I really don't know what my career path would be if I do decide to take a gap year to consider what else is out there.
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Dalightfool
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(Original post by Katy Roaster)
Yep, appreciate all the advise. A possible reason pharmacy is brought up so negatively and frequently up for debate though is many people believe it should be in line with healthcare professions like medicine/dentistry, hence the suggestion of capping it in the first place. Every other course out there, has and never will be capped, and there are hundreds of universities out there offering other courses i.e. Engineering, Law, Accounting etc. Would these courses really bring better chances of professional employment?

Just want to ask if there's any course you'd recommend to have a more secure future than pharmacy apart from the ones I've already mentioned?

Judging from the table and a site called unistats, everything else I've not mentioned looks worse than pharmacy in terms of prospects so I really don't know what my career path would be if I do decide to take a gap year to consider what else is out there.
Well, all good points you make. I suppose since pharmacy is a very specific course (and a mainly theoretical course), and almost 100% of MPharm graduates will go on to look for work in the field of pharmacy. It might not be as easy for an MPharm grad to work as a teacher, but a BSc Chemistry / MChem graduate would be drooled over by schools. I think in general those clinical degrees are much less 'flexible' than typical BSc and BA courses, which makes the matter of capped numbers extremely relevant.

You ask about Law and Accountancy - those are two of the safest professions out there: self employed people need accountants, rich people need them even more. Law is obviously varied and far-reaching, and while there are huge numbers of Law graduates, it is not nearly as much in jeopardy (excuse the pun) as Hospital Pharmacy (where the salaries are more stable and work utilises more 'clinical knowledge' - remember less than 20% of pharmacy graduates are able to find work in clinical settings and that estimate is generous).

Engineers are in big demand, and the degree itself is probably THE best in terms of flexibility (you can work for schools, academia, industry (an unlistable amount, pharmaceutical being one), finance, commerce, business etc. etc.)

The thing is, pharmacy doesn't really stack up as a degree which gives you much to fall back on - because it is so specific to the field of community and hospital pharmacy.
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Bill_Gates
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Pharmacy and Accountancy i'd say are the most at risk "professional" industries in the future. But i'd say if you are passionate about it and can add to the field, why not?
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mrlittlebigman
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Katy Ro, I've posted on other threads on here about current community pharmacy, so read those for an idea on prospects. As the lady with the niece has said, it is not good!
TBH though, I think you should have researched all this BEFORE you applied and got in to Nottingham. I'm not sure how hard or easy it is to get into pharmacy these days, and in my day 25 yrs ago, in your place, you would be accused of taking up a space!! Although since the explosion in pharmacy schools, maybe not so?! Anyway...... I did pharmacy because one of my A levels wasn't good enough to get into Medicine so I just did pharmacy. I knew nothing about it and had only done a visit to a hospital pharmacy. Three quarters of pharmacists work in community pharmacy. If you haven't already, please GO AND SEE a local community pharmacist. And preferably more than one. They may not have time for an in depth chat there and then, but you could ask to go back when it is a bit quieter, with a list of questions. Please don't do what I did and do it, just for something to do. I was lucky. There were no fees, I got a bit of a grant. I did the 3 yr degree plus pre-reg. You were told there was full employment and you would be well paid. Which was all true. When I qualified in 1995. I could have worked 6 days a week twice over, there was so much work, and I worked all over the country and earned about £12.50/ 13 per hr. I made 26k in my first yr compared to friends at Boots on 20k.
Now, I have been offered work at one chain for £14. Yes, fourteen. I was earning that back in 1997!
It's all supply and demand. My last pay rise to my locum rate was in 2008 upto 23. My hourly rate varies from 18 to 20 to 23 depending on the company and how busy they are. PLEASE don't do pharmacy just for something to do. If I had my time again, I would break my back to get into Medicine, or I wish after I had qualified I had gone back and done Medicine. I'm not saying medicine is wonderful and will be the answer to everything, but I look back now, and realise I just fell into pharmacy and my heart was, and will always be in medicine, I wanted to be a GP. TBF, I haven't done too bad in pharmacy as I entered at a time of shortage. But I always think what if......!
However, I DID enjoy the degree. It is varied and interesting. Do a pharmacy degree if there is nothing at all that interests you, but do not do it thinking it is a money spinning profession because it is NOT!! I just want to be honest to all you students. I'm sorry if this post seems really negative, but you need to know the truth. The Unis are businesses, they want the fees!!! Go read the PJ site, or Chemist and Druggist or Locumvoice to see if I am a lone voice!!
But good luck if you do go and do pharmacy, or whatever you end up going into. Post or PM me if you or anyone has more questions. I'll be completely honest with you.
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eraser8
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I agree with mrlittlebigman.Only do a pharmacy degree if you think you will enjoy being a pharmacist .It really is not worth it if you want a well paid job.I too was fortunate that I studied pharmacy over 25 years ago with no tuition fees and was given a grant to go to university so came out debt free and walked into a well paid job pharmacy .However I really do feel for the students of today with the tuition fees and no cap on the number of pharmacy students .Plus the stress as an employee or as a locum together with the low rate of pay to me just does not seem worth it .On top of which our various bodies are pretty useless at representing our views and concerns .Respect from the general public overall is lacking and the big chains are just concerned about profit profit profit nothing else .I have enjoyed community pharmacy however I probably would not choose to go down that route now if I had my time again.Best to do as much research and work experience into other professions /degrees and if pharmacy seems to be the best option then go for it.
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Socratees
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I've written about this topic extensively on a different thread, here:
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...=#post69611840

All I would add, as others have said, don't go into pharmacy for the money - it's extremely poorly paid when you consider the relatively high entry requirements, responsibility and length of study. It's a vocation that you must be committed to...your dream job.
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FallenPetal
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Job security and pay are two things people going into Pharmacy should think long and hard about, IMHO. It used to be the case that not enough people were attracted to the profession, now schools are churning out graduates with very little regard to anything other than getting their £9000 a year in fees. When you enter the job market in 5 years time, you will be doing so alongside hundreds of other graduates, all competing for the same pool of jobs (alongside everybody already in the at-saturation job market). That isn't to say you won't find a job - despite everything, many people are actually fine - but moreso that getting said job will be more difficult. You will need to actively work to stand out.

The only case where I'd recommend someone do Pharmacy is if they genuinely want to be a Pharmacist. You need to accept that you will have a Masters degree and professional qualification which took 5 years of dedicated study to obtain, only to be paid in the region of £30,000 (give or take 5K) for a highly, highly responsible job where, in practice, nobody really respects you. If you are smart enough to qualify, ultimately, there are better options out there. Only do it if it's something you actively want and feel that it suits you as a role.

But yeah, absolutely don't do it if you have visions of working your way up to a 40-50K salary and people swooning over your professional status. You certainly won't get any of that.
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crazy.chemist
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(Original post by FallenPetal)
Job security and pay are two things people going into Pharmacy should think long and hard about, IMHO. It used to be the case that not enough people were attracted to the profession, now schools are churning out graduates with very little regard to anything other than getting their £9000 a year in fees. When you enter the job market in 5 years time, you will be doing so alongside hundreds of other graduates, all competing for the same pool of jobs (alongside everybody already in the at-saturation job market). That isn't to say you won't find a job - despite everything, many people are actually fine - but moreso that getting said job will be more difficult. You will need to actively work to stand out.

The only case where I'd recommend someone do Pharmacy is if they genuinely want to be a Pharmacist. You need to accept that you will have a Masters degree and professional qualification which took 5 years of dedicated study to obtain, only to be paid in the region of £30,000 (give or take 5K) for a highly, highly responsible job where, in practice, nobody really respects you. If you are smart enough to qualify, ultimately, there are better options out there. Only do it if it's something you actively want and feel that it suits you as a role.

But yeah, absolutely don't do it if you have visions of working your way up to a 40-50K salary and people swooning over your professional status. You certainly won't get any of that.
Totally agree
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