If prescription drug advertisements are driving you crazy, perhaps you should ask your doctor for a prescription… or become a pharmacist yourself.
The side effects of becoming a pharmacist include interesting work, a big paycheck, and job security. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 25.4 percent employment growth for pharmacists by 2020, with the field adding 69,700 new jobs. Solid employment growth and a high median salary help make pharmacist a top job for you to consider.
According to MONEY magazine, pharmacist is one of the Top 10 Best Jobs in America.
With more than 72 million boomers falling apart and more and more medicines being discovered to help with aches, pains, sex drive, and weight loss, the industry will stay healthy for years to come.
According to the Bureau, the median annual salary for a pharmacist was $113,390 in 2011. The best-paid 10 percent made approximately $144,090 a year, while the lowest-paid made approximately $84,490. The field’s best-compensated areas include residential mental health or rehabilitation facilities and consulting services. The highest-paid in the profession work in California near the areas of El Centro, Napa, and Santa Cruz-Watsonville.
But becoming a pharmacist will take some time — you can’t walk into the CVS and fill out an application without any training. The pharmacy degree is a six-year professional doctorate program. You’ll need two years at a college or university before beginning a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program at a college of pharmacy which usually takes four years to complete. The University California, San Diego, Skaggs School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences offers one of the best programs in the nation. pharmacy.ucsd.edu.
Kelly Del Rios of El Cajon was trying to get her medical degree and couldn’t get into a medical school. She decided to try her luck at becoming a pharmacist and attended UCSD. Instead of eight to 10 years of schooling, she put in four more and became a pharmacist at a Walgreen’s.
“I use my medical background and everything I learned at pharm school to help my customers feel better,” she said. “I love that I am still in medicine, but there are no long shifts in the ER. I have a life and still make a great salary.”
As for women, there couldn’t be a better career choice to make an almost equal paycheck.
Harvard economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Kate wrote in a paper published in September, 2013, that women make up slightly more than 50 percent of all full-time pharmacists, according to census data collected in 2011. Many pharmacist — one out of five —work part-time, which makes this career perfect for parents.
Being a pharmacist has grown beyond the job of counting out pills to stressed out moms at the local drug store. Many pharmacists are now administering immunizations and blood pressure screenings.
If you have qualms about standing on your feet all day while working at Wal-Mart or Target, you can work at a mail-order or Internet pharmacy or wholesaler. You might even want to become a pharmaceutical sales rep or a lobbyist.
Salary and benefit packages for a lobbyist can reach $1 million, or higher. In 2009, Richard Pollack of the American Hospital Association, made $1,087,024, according to Kaiser Health News.
Tim Bowles of Alpine, was a pharmaceutical lobbyist for Kaiser Hospital for ten years until he burned out and become a pharmacist again.
“The big money was great, but the pressure and the politics got to me,” he said. “That side of the business takes a younger, tougher person than me. I really love doing what I do now. I talk to customers and hopefully make them feel better.”