I’m not a pharmacist but one of my best friends is and I asked for advice for someone considering going to pharmacy school today.
That’s good that you have a taste of the field having been a technician. Too many students go to pharmacy school not knowing what to expect when they get out. The actual job is way different than school and being an actual pharmacist is way different than being a tech.
My friend works at a hospital. She worked as a tech in retail, then did retail for a couple of years when she first graduated. She hated retail with a passion. Patient’s were always crabby and mad at her for the cost of their medications. She got really tired with dealing with insurance and formulary restrictions. Her pharmacy was held up once at gunpoint and it prompted her to move into the hospital setting.
In the state we live in, there are now 6 pharmacy schools. All that BS about there being a shortage of pharmacists is that – BS. If you want to work in a rural or less urban area, there are jobs. But if you want to work in a big metropolitan area, at least in my state, forget it. Competition is fierce. My friend just got a permanent position after working PRN for 3 years as that’s how long it took for a position to open up. She was working full time hours but she didn’t have the benefits until just now.
She works at the same hospital as I do (I am a PT) and she is so stressed out. She is expected to go through so many patients in her day. There’s literally not enough time to do what her bosses expect her to do. All her coworkers are stressed. Because of the ACA, they cannot add staff. Pharmacy is one, if not, the most expensive departments in all the hospital because of the cost of the medications. They have to cut and cut their budget time and time but are also expected to carry the most up to date drugs and therapies which are super expensive; as a result, more work is put on the staff. She doesn’t feel like she is respected by the nurses or the doctors because when she calls them, their first reaction is “what did I do wrong?”
She said you really cannot take time off away from pharmacy because the medications and protocols change so quickly. She knows of two pharmacists that took a couple of years off to be SAHMs and cannot get jobs because again, the competition is too tough. On the plus side, it definitely is a field you can do part time or PRN, but places expect you to be available to work; you can’t just say oh I want to work once every 6 weeks.
As you know too, be prepared to work all shifts – day, evening, weekend, holidays, even overnights. My friend has worked every shift, sometimes even within the same week. There’s no such thing as a “day job” unless you’re in management.
Then there’s the cost. Pharmacy school is expensive. Add that to the cost of getting your prerequisites done, which because you have a business degree, I’m guessing 2 years to get those done? 32 isn’t that old to be starting your career, but it will be tough (in my friend’s opinion) to be a new pharmacist at that age as you’ll be competing with people that went to pharmacy school when they were younger that have the years of experience already. Not to mention the opportunity cost of taking that time off to go to pharmacy school and the prerequesittes. My friend said you definitely can – and should – work as a tech while you’re in school, but you’re basically working evenings and/or weekends. Her hospital tends to hire from within so if you’re already a tech, you have a good chance of getting at least a PRN job when you graduate.
So like another poster said, if pharmacy is really your passion, then do it without regrets. But i honestly think in your case you may have a “grass is greener” way of thinking. If you hate your current job, I would really find another job using your degree before you chuck everything out the window and decide to go to pharmacy school.
My friend is burned out with her job; she is sticking with it because the hospital is close to home, but I know she is not passionate about it anymore. The other thing keeping her there is the money unfortunately; she is in a position where she knows she cannot find another job making the kind of money she makes so she feels stuck.
Hope some of that helps.