Pharmacy or Optometry

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taybaaa_
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#1
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#1
Pharmacy or Optometry at Uni?
Pro’s & Cons? Which would be better?
I’m studying A Level Biology, Chemistry & Sociology.
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MalbecandMed
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#2
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So, I'm not too sure about pharma but working in optics I have to say you have to have to allot of people skills which they do not always teach at university, also it's commercial so your manager will expect you to drive sales esp if you are working for commercial practice.
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Turning_A_Corner
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#3
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#3
They’re both very commercial professions so not really worth choosing between them on that basis.
Day to day, it comes down to choosing between eyes and drugs and between optical assessments vs dispensing/checking/clinical consultations. Both of them can work in a variety of different settings but I’m sure you know that the majority of roles are community based. Probably pharmacy gives more opportunities for hospital based work if you wanted it and definitely there are more opportunities for industry based careers. Research opportunities in pharmacy and pharmaceuticals are probably better funded than optometry. Optometry might give you a bit more satisfaction because you’re practising a highly unique skill set. I know a lot of community pharmacists struggle knowing that they don’t get to use all of their skills on a regular basis and their main job is practically very similar to the dispensers that they supervise. However, there’s lots of opportunities for business development in pharmacy and I know several pharmacists who’ve really enjoyed developing their services. I got my kids’ private vaccinations through a pharmacy and I know the pharmacist was quite excited about developing that side of the business.
Obviously there’s a lot of grumbling within both professions about the commercial aspects of them. Try to look into the causes of the dissatisfaction and try to work out which are more mitigable.
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beccaslan
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Clinical skills are needed for optometry. It is a more serious specialty than pharmacy. A pharmacist is not allowed to treat a patient and write a prescription. In fact, there is less chance of going to jail in a pharmacy. Although, I recently learned that PBM audits could have serious consequences. But there are some rules of action. Of course, it's your business, but pharmacy is much easier than optometry.
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quasa
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(Original post by beccaslan)
. A pharmacist is not allowed to treat a patient and write a prescription...In fact, there is less chance of going to jail in a pharmacy. Of course, it's your business, but pharmacy is much easier than optometry.
What are you on about? Have you ever heard of prescribing pharmacists, general practice or hospital pharmacy? Also pharmacist prescribers can specialise and prescribe way more than optometrist prescribers.
As a degree, optometry is a bsc which focuses on ocular conditions whereas pharmacy is a masters in the uk / doctorate stateside & middle East where people cover a broader range of health conditions.
From personal experience with family, friends and colleagues, I can guarantee optometrists generally have better working conditions and work life balance than a majority of pharmacists and get paid more than most pharmacists. Plus side, you have more options for further study / speciality with a pharmacy degree vs optometry so in the event you are unable to practice optometry or pharmacy, you have more backup options with pharmacy.

Saying that, medicine has the most options
Last edited by quasa; 3 months ago
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McGinger
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#6
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#6
Discover a career in Pharmacy - University of Bath careers webinar 17 May - .https://www.bath.ac.uk/campaigns/dis...rmacy-at-bath/
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manchego
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#7
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#7
(Original post by quasa)
What are you on about? Have you ever heard of prescribing pharmacists, general practice or hospital pharmacy? Also pharmacist prescribers can specialise and prescribe way more than optometrist prescribers.
As a degree, optometry is a bsc which focuses on ocular conditions whereas pharmacy is a masters in the uk / doctorate stateside & middle East where people cover a broader range of health conditions.
From personal experience with family, friends and colleagues, I can guarantee optometrists generally have better working conditions and work life balance than a majority of pharmacists and get paid more than most pharmacists. Plus side, you have more options for further study / speciality with a pharmacy degree vs optometry so in the event you are unable to practice optometry or pharmacy, you have more backup options with pharmacy.

Saying that, medicine has the most options
pharmacy locum rates at the moment are going higher than optometry which is interesting but how long this stays the case remains to be seen

Also to build on quasa's point above, optometrists have very little career options in case something goes wrong / they wish to do something else outside of the profession, whereas pharmacy has more options than other health degrees barring medicine and veterinary medicine
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Claremont4ever
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#8
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#8
(Original post by manchego)
pharmacy locum rates at the moment are going higher than optometry which is interesting but how long this stays the case remains to be seen

Also to build on quasa's point above, optometrists have very little career options in case something goes wrong / they wish to do something else outside of the profession, whereas pharmacy has more options than other health degrees barring medicine and veterinary medicine
You have finally come around. Nice one.
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manchego
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#9
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#9
(Original post by Claremont4ever)
You have finally come around. Nice one.
You clearly missed the caveat re locum wages. It is still a massive discrepancy - London wages have already dropped to pre pandemic levels (£20-25/hr) and supermarkets have also dropped to pre-pandemic levels However locums have gotten wise and aren't taking shifts till the last minute as it means companies will pay more. Downside is with this game of chicken is that you have hundreds applying for the same shift (there can only be one) and it isn't sustainable in the long run re pharmacy closures because people don't want to pay locums £45-£50 / hour.

Also the reference problem still persists in the sense that supermarkets and a lot of chains refuse to give references. I could earn more money as a locum vs my current job but have preferred the work life balance of my current role (also pay is better than the average pharmacist).

The situation up north is far better than down south as less work, less competition and more money but for those of us who are unable to relocate for whatever reason and are stuck near big cities... Yeah wages are low and you have to do more stuff and have more competition

Also another caveat you missed was medicine and vet have more career options than pharmacy But if you hate working in your current role, a degree in Pharmacy is a far better option than optometry and dentistry... even though both those jobs earn more money
Last edited by manchego; 1 month ago
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ashvinsingh
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#10
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#10
(Original post by manchego)
You clearly missed the caveat re locum wages. It is still a massive discrepancy - London wages have already dropped to pre pandemic levels (£20-25/hr) and supermarkets have also dropped to pre-pandemic levels However locums have gotten wise and aren't taking shifts till the last minute as it means companies will pay more. Downside is with this game of chicken is that you have hundreds applying for the same shift (there can only be one) and it isn't sustainable in the long run re pharmacy closures because people don't want to pay locums £45-£50 / hour.

Also the reference problem still persists in the sense that supermarkets and a lot of chains refuse to give references. I could earn more money as a locum vs my current job but have preferred the work life balance of my current role (also pay is better than the average pharmacist).

The situation up north is far better than down south as less work, less competition and more money but for those of us who are unable to relocate for whatever reason and are stuck near big cities... Yeah wages are low and you have to do more stuff and have more competition

Also another caveat you missed was medicine and vet have more career options than pharmacy But if you hate working in your current role, a degree in Pharmacy is a far better option than optometry and dentistry... even though both those jobs earn more money
Hey what are your thoughts on the different pharmacy sectors? At first I wanted to go into community pharmacy to help people and maintain their good health through preventative measures, but it seems that pharmacists are under-utilised in community pharmacy. What are your thoughts on hospital and GP/PCN pharmacy?
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Claremont4ever
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#11
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#11
(Original post by ashvinsingh)
Hey what are your thoughts on the different pharmacy sectors? At first I wanted to go into community pharmacy to help people and maintain their good health through preventative measures, but it seems that pharmacists are under-utilised in community pharmacy. What are your thoughts on hospital and GP/PCN pharmacy?
GP/PCN pharmacy will challenge you to uilise your clinical skills more. Howerver, you will most definitely get paid less than CP. I know this because I did consider switching to those roles from CP. If money isn't your thing, GP/PCN pharmacy might be the best career option for you.
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ashvinsingh
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#12
(Original post by Claremont4ever)
GP/PCN pharmacy will challenge you to uilise your clinical skills more. Howerver, you will most definitely get paid less than CP. I know this because I did consider switching to those roles from CP. If money isn't your thing, GP/PCN pharmacy might be the best career option for you.
I think I would want to develop my clinical skills and portfolio and do a diploma, but I wouldn’t mind locum work in community too, everyone has bills to pay
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quasa
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(Original post by ashvinsingh)
I think I would want to develop my clinical skills and portfolio and do a diploma, but I wouldn’t mind locum work in community too, everyone has bills to pay
People are definitely underutilised (and from personal experience treated as expendible) in community pharmacy.
Hospital its kinda similar in terms of being underutilised but people value your input more... if you can deal with political bs.
Gp/ PCN has the best aspects of community and hospital (and unlike what Claremont says, does pay well for locum work and you can work from home)
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ashvinsingh
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#14
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#14
(Original post by quasa)
People are definitely underutilised (and from personal experience treated as expendible) in community pharmacy.
Hospital its kinda similar in terms of being underutilised but people value your input more... if you can deal with political bs.
Gp/ PCN has the best aspects of community and hospital (and unlike what Claremont says, does pay well for locum work and you can work from home)
Are there opportunities for personal development in PCNs? What is off putting about community pharmacy for me is that there isn’t much incentive to undergo higher qualifications
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Claremont4ever
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#15
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#15
(Original post by ashvinsingh)
Are there opportunities for personal development in PCNs? What is off putting about community pharmacy for me is that there isn’t much incentive to undergo higher qualifications
You don't have to depend on your employer for development of your career. You can develop yourself by paying for courses e.g. IP, ACP etc.
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Claremont4ever
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#16
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#16
(Original post by quasa)
People are definitely underutilised (and from personal experience treated as expendible) in community pharmacy.
Hospital its kinda similar in terms of being underutilised but people value your input more... if you can deal with political bs.
Gp/ PCN has the best aspects of community and hospital (and unlike what Claremont says, does pay well for locum work and you can work from home)
Does GP/PCN pay £50/hour? If not, why should a CP earning that take a pay cut just to experience the joys of sitting on a chair in an office?
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Mara45
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#17
(Original post by beccaslan)
Clinical skills are needed for optometry. It is a more serious specialty than pharmacy. A pharmacist is not allowed to treat a patient and write a prescription. In fact, there is less chance of going to jail in a pharmacy. Although, I recently learned that PBM audits could have serious consequences. But there are some rules of action. Of course, it's your business, but pharmacy is much easier than optometry.
Pharmacy is certainly not easier than optometry … what are you on about ?
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ashvinsingh
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#18
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#18
(Original post by Claremont4ever)
You don't have to depend on your employer for development of your career. You can develop yourself by paying for courses e.g. IP, ACP etc.
Sorry I wasn’t clear enough, what I mean to say is that if I underwent a course by paying for it myself, would I be able to apply for higher paying jobs in community pharmacy? Or are the majority of the jobs generalised?
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ashvinsingh
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#19
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#19
(Original post by Claremont4ever)
Does GP/PCN pay £50/hour? If not, why should a CP earning that take a pay cut just to experience the joys of sitting on a chair in an office?
In which area does CP pay £50/hour? I’d assume that would be short notice, locum and so would not be the same as working a full time job?
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quasa
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#20
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#20
(Original post by Claremont4ever)
Does GP/PCN pay £50/hour? If not, why should a CP earning that take a pay cut just to experience the joys of sitting on a chair in an office?
It does if your an 8a and above for primary, secondary care and ooh in my neck of the woods...

And less stressful
Last edited by quasa; 1 month ago
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