Is pharmacy still a viable career?

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FreshBlaze
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#1
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#1
Heard terrible things about it in countless threads so I'm having second thoughts about my ucas application. Community pharmacy has terrible working conditions, clinical/hospital and industry pharmacy is too competitive and the market is saturated + low pay.
I was initially planning on going for a bioscience but then I was drawn towards pharmacy due to the fact that i'd be able to secure a job (which would act as a safety net) and progress from there.
Any advice?
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ChillBear
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#2
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#2
(Original post by FreshBlaze)
Heard terrible things about it in countless threads so I'm having second thoughts about my ucas application. Community pharmacy has terrible working conditions, clinical/hospital and industry pharmacy is too competitive and the market is saturated + low pay.
I was initially planning on going for a bioscience but then I was drawn towards pharmacy due to the fact that i'd be able to secure a job (which would act as a safety net) and progress from there.
Any advice?
It's still a viable degree just 'less' viable than it used to be. You can do a pharmacy degree and then do post-grad physician associate and be part of a whole new sector and carve your own career path.
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FreshBlaze
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#3
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#3
who would have better prospects, someone with an MPharm vs someone with a BSc (eg in biochemistry)?
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Studentlife007
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#4
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#4
Don’t worry about it being competitive. Be that competitive person and get the job. If you’re not passionate about the career then don’t go for it because you will struggle, it isn’t an easy job. I’ve applied for pharmacy this year, I’m passionate about it and yes people have said bad things about the career but I am not letting that get to me and change my mind. I am planning on going into hospital pharmacy and specialise in something. I am not worried about how competitive it is. It isn’t low pay if u’re determined to work your way up to a manager role, specialise in something etc. You need the right mindset and dedication going into this career. I feel like i said this harshly but i did not mean it that way😂 but feel free to message me more about it if you want, also good luck and there’s no rush into deciding what you want to do right now. It will come to you one day
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Claremont4ever
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#5
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#5
Don't listen to the doomsayers. If I had listened to them over 3 years ago on here, I wouldn't be where I'm today. Total earnings last financial year was just over £75,000, it should rise above £100,000 when my accountant does my self-assessment submission in April. I currently work 3 days a week and earn £1250/week minimum as a locum pharmacist.
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ecolier
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Claremont4ever)
Don't listen to the doomsayers. If I had listened to them over 3 years ago on here, I wouldn't be where I'm today. Total earnings last financial year was just over £75,000, it should rise above £100,000 when my accountant does my self-assessment submission in April. I currently work 3 days a week and earn £1250/week minimum as a locum pharmacist.
And you expect this to go on forever?
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Claremont4ever
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#7
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#7
(Original post by ecolier)
And you expect this to go on forever?
It wouldn't. I'm booked on my current rates till end of February. It will probably go back to £30/hour by March, which means I will have to commute further to maintain my current rates.
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ecolier
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#8
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#8
(Original post by Claremont4ever)
It wouldn't. I'm booked on my current rates till end of February. It will probably go back to £30/hour by March, which means I will have to commute further to maintain my current rates.
So why are you advising someone who's not even started studying based on what's happening to you now, temporarily, in a specific location?

Don't you think it's a teeny, tiny bit misleading?
Last edited by ecolier; 3 months ago
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Sarah H.
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#9
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#9
(Original post by ecolier)
So why are you advising someone who's not even started studying based on what's happening to you now, temporarily, in a specific location?

Don't you think it's a teeny, tiny bit misleading?
Agreed ecolier.

Very unsure why Izzy / Claremont is so persistent in attempting to deliberately mislead prospective pharmacy students. More interested in boasting than enlightening.
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FreshBlaze
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#10
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#10
(Original post by Claremont4ever)
Don't listen to the doomsayers. If I had listened to them over 3 years ago on here, I wouldn't be where I'm today. Total earnings last financial year was just over £75,000, it should rise above £100,000 when my accountant does my self-assessment submission in April. I currently work 3 days a week and earn £1250/week minimum as a locum pharmacist.
oh boy i've seen u in A LOT of these pharmacy threads
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FreshBlaze
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#11
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#11
(Original post by Studentlife007)
Don’t worry about it being competitive. Be that competitive person and get the job. If you’re not passionate about the career then don’t go for it because you will struggle, it isn’t an easy job. I’ve applied for pharmacy this year, I’m passionate about it and yes people have said bad things about the career but I am not letting that get to me and change my mind. I am planning on going into hospital pharmacy and specialise in something. I am not worried about how competitive it is. It isn’t low pay if u’re determined to work your way up to a manager role, specialise in something etc. You need the right mindset and dedication going into this career. I feel like i said this harshly but i did not mean it that way😂 but feel free to message me more about it if you want, also good luck and there’s no rush into deciding what you want to do right now. It will come to you one day
tysm for the advice
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asif007
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#12
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#12
(Original post by Claremont4ever)
Don't listen to the doomsayers. If I had listened to them over 3 years ago on here, I wouldn't be where I'm today. Total earnings last financial year was just over £75,000, it should rise above £100,000 when my accountant does my self-assessment submission in April. I currently work 3 days a week and earn £1250/week minimum as a locum pharmacist.

That's interesting, thanks for sharing. I'm not a pharmacist but I'm given to understand that the salary you're making is exceptional and probably quite a lot more than most locum pharmacists make. That's excellent you've made it work so well for yourself but there probably should be a disclaimer attached to this, stating that a £75k salary is possible in some parts of the UK - just not everywhere and not for everyone. Salary is highly variable from what I've heard from my pharmacy colleagues. The more realistic view that prospective pharmacy students should take from this is that the number of people in your role making this kind of money are in the minority. Having people who are open and honest about money matters is very useful though so your contribution is appreciated.
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asif007
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#13
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#13
(Original post by FreshBlaze)
who would have better prospects, someone with an MPharm vs someone with a BSc (eg in biochemistry)?
With a BSc in Biochemistry you could pretty much go into any graduate scheme. The majority of those will pay around £25-30k, similar to what you would earn as a pharmacist. But getting into competitive schemes with good salary progression will depend more on your university, your CV and any internships you take part in. Whereas if you do MPharm you already have the basic qualification needed to work in any pharmacy setting and you don't have to do much else to get the job. Pay might be higher in other sectors, but you will have to do more on top of your degree classification to make your application more competitive for the top jobs. Perhaps doing a Masters and working at the same level for a few years before you can get a promotion.
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ChillBear
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#14
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#14
(Original post by asif007)
I'm not a pharmacist but I'm given to understand that the salary you're making is exceptional... You can ignore people who make blanket statements like "this is misleading", especially when they are not pharmacists like you are.
Bit rich of you to say 'ignore people who make blanket statements' and 'especially when they are not pharmacists like you are'. Isn't it ironic coming from someone who admittedly isn't a pharmacist themselves? Claremont has been making blanket statements on here for years that every pharmacist can make a salary similar to theirs. It's incredibly misleading to prospective students and does more harm than good. Ad nauseam the repetition of every post they make on here posting about this incredibly inflated, unrealistic salary and you can tell Clare is a narcissist in denial who just likes to boast their own wages/pride.

(Original post by asif007)
You can ignore people who make blanket statements like "this is misleading", especially when they are not pharmacists like you are
Except many of the people calling her out are pharmacists, like myself and almost all of us have been in the industry longer than Clare has. Some like Sarah H and MrBigLittleMan have been around for the decades and can offer a comparison of what the career used to be like and how it is today.

Even people who traditionally stayed out of it like ecolier, who's a doctor, has now thrown in their opinion about how misleading it is.

I don't see the need to boast salaries. I earn almost £60k @ 37.5 hours a week in primary care. If I decided to work a 60 hour week I'd be almost earning £100,000 a year. Oh, and also a 10 minute walk from my house. And 5.6 weeks paid holiday. And NHS pension. Doesn't that sound like I'm boasting? And what's the point, why talk about it in such a way to inflate my own ego and try to represent the profession under unrealistic conditions? The realistic prospect for new pharmacists is they will be earning typically £40k a year full time, incredibly high locum rates are not a guarantee and often requires travel over long distances, locuming means no paid holidays, no private pension contributions, and sorting your own taxes, and to earn anywhere close to £100k you'd overwork yourself into oblivion doing 60 hours+ weekly.

The correct thing for Clare to do would be to refrain from boasting their salary at every opportunity. Even posts that have no context of salary will somehow be twisted by her so she can boast her salary. And when appropriate to discuss salary would highlight, or disclaimer, that her salary is in the 0.1% of pharmacist wages and extremely unrealistic, with incredibly niche conditions (long hours, working in deprived areas, travelling far distances, competing for high salary locums, etc) to attain that salary.
Last edited by ChillBear; 3 months ago
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mrlittlebigman
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#15
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#15
(Original post by ChillBear)
Bit rich of you to say 'ignore people who make blanket statements' and 'especially when they are not pharmacists like you are'. Isn't it ironic coming from someone who admittedly isn't a pharmacist themselves? Claremont has been making blanket statements on here for years that every pharmacist can make a salary similar to theirs. It's incredibly misleading to prospective students and does more harm than good. Ad nauseam the repetition of every post they make on here posting about this incredibly inflated, unrealistic salary and you can tell Clare is a narcissist in denial who just likes to boast their own wages/pride.


Except many of the people calling her out are pharmacists, like myself and almost all of us have been in the industry longer than Clare has. Some like Sarah H and MrBigLittleMan have been around for the decades and can offer a comparison of what the career used to be like and how it is today.

Even people who traditionally stayed out of it like ecolier, who's a doctor, has now thrown in their opinion about how misleading it is.

I don't see the need to boast salaries. I earn almost £60k @ 37.5 hours a week in primary care. If I decided to work a 60 hour week I'd be almost earning £100,000 a year. Oh, and also a 10 minute walk from my house. And 5.6 weeks paid holiday. And NHS pension. Doesn't that sound like I'm boasting? And what's the point, why talk about it in such a way to inflate my own ego and try to represent the profession under unrealistic conditions? The realistic prospect for new pharmacists is they will be earning typically £40k a year full time, incredibly high locum rates are not a guarantee and often requires travel over long distances, locuming means no paid holidays, no private pension contributions, and sorting your own taxes, and to earn anywhere close to £100k you'd overwork yourself into oblivion doing 60 hours+ weekly.

The correct thing for Clare to do would be to refrain from boasting their salary at every opportunity. Even posts that have no context of salary will somehow be twisted by her so she can boast her salary. And when appropriate to discuss salary would highlight, or disclaimer, that her salary is in the 0.1% of pharmacist wages and extremely unrealistic, with incredibly niche conditions (long hours, working in deprived areas, travelling far distances, competing for high salary locums, etc) to attain that salary.
Thanks for the mention!
And you just saved me a whole lot of typing.
Totally agree that you could make her kind of salary, but with a lot of caveats attached. Mainly very long hours, undesirable areas, long drives to get there.

As an example of how stagnant locum wages are..... I am currently doing a couple of days a week for a small chain on £22/hour......that was also the rate I was earning in 2007!
I asked for £28, but even though I have 30 yrs of experience nearly, it counts for nothing in community pharmacy. I even had to negotiate that rate, as they originally wanted to pay £19! That was what I was earning 2 decades ago in the early 00s!

Pharmacy, certainly community pharmacy is no longer a monied profession, and many teachers and 6th formers seem to still be thinking of pharmacy as how it was in the late 80s, early 90s, when I started, when you could do well in terms of salary, or even being able to purchase your own pharmacy. I'm not saying that those two things aren't still possible; but they are a whole lot more difficult unfortunately.
I always say that there is nothing really wrong with the degree, it's just the job at the end of it. It seems the message to do plenty of research before you sign up is getting through, as there were 18 out of the 30 schools of pharmacy in clearing last summer. That in itself should raise a red flag.
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Wolf52
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#16
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#16
May I just add, I was talking with a medicines safety officer last week, who told me there is a shortage of pharmacists in an acute setting due to the way gp practices are employing them.

I work in an acute trust in the Midlands.
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Sarah H.
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#17
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#17
Is pharmacy still a viable career?

I think the answer is a “Yes……But”

As Chill (and others) have kindly enlightened this forum, there are indeed exciting and promising new roles for pharmacy graduates in GP surgeries and primary care etc as well as the established hospital pharmacy positions.

The “but” is that these new roles are finite in number and filling rapidly with experienced pharmacists. The unfortunate fact is that only a lucky few future pharmacy graduates will find such positions. Most, currently 2/3, will only find employment in Community Pharmacy.

I have nearly 40 years experience in CP and have seen the direction of travel. CP now (especially with the large multiples) can be an utterly soul destroying experience. Poor pay, sweatshop working conditions, stress and no career progression are just some of the hallmarks unfortunately.

Littlebigman pointed out that over half of University Phamacy courses are spending extended time in clearing. That really is a big red flag. Beware that some of these Unis are grossly exaggerating the the career prospects of their graduates to sell their courses. Be very suspicious of their sales pitch and do your own research.

You really need to think long and hard before embarking on a Pharmacy degree course.


Good luck….
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tcameron
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#18
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#18
I'm a hospital pharmacist and Hospital pharmacy is in no way oversaturarted. A lot of hospitals are even understaffed right now for pharmacists.
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FreshBlaze
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#19
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#19
Would it be wise of me to complete a pharmacy degree then take on an alternative route after it (eg masters/diploma/phd/GEM) to get into research/other healthcare roles? Or would i be better off doing that with a BSc rather than an MPharm?
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ecolier
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#20
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#20
(Original post by FreshBlaze)
Would it be wise of me to complete a pharmacy degree then take on an alternative route after it (eg masters/diploma/phd/GEM) to get into research/other healthcare roles? Or would i be better off doing that with a BSc rather than an MPharm?
My usual advice is never ever do a degree with the sole aim for graduate entry medicine, because it will take longer cost more and (most importantly) will be much, much more competitive.

If you have an inkling of wanting to do medicine, take a gap year to evaluate your options and aim to enter medicine at standard undergrad medicine levels. Once you have done a non-medicine degree, assume that you wouldn't be successful getting into GEM (because based on statistics you won't).
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