Should You Work During Pharmacy School? Think About This…

Let’s cover the basics:

Do you need to work during pharmacy school? Yes.

Do you need to work a lot of hours? No.

Does it matter which pharmacy setting you work in? Nope.

Will it take away time for studying? Probably.

Will it help you on your exams AND the boards? Definitely.

Will it help you determine whether you want to work in that setting as a pharmacist? Yes.

Will it give you a competitive advantage over your colleagues? Depends.

Will you gain experience, visibility, and networking? Yes, yes, and yes.


If you are still on the fence about working, or if you haven’t considered this a priority, then let’s compare two job candidates below.


If you decide not to work during pharmacy school, do this exercise. Picture yourself as a recent graduate on your job interview. How you will explain this decision? Commute too long to get anywhere? Couldn’t find a job? Couldn’t find time for a job? Worried about your grades? Didn’t need the money? If this sounds like something you would say, you are going to have to find a creative way to explain this. In other words, you will be interviewing alongside candidates who don’t HAVE to explain those things.


Now picture yourself as a candidate who has worked during pharmacy school. You will have stories to share on your interview. You will have pharmacist connections for life. You will have practiced your communication skills, both with the public and your team. You will have learned something new about time management. You will have juggled work and studying and will have figured out how to make time for both. You will know the pharmacist’s and technician’s role in that setting. You will be exposed to the business side to healthcare. You will have encountered lovely patients, difficult patients, healthy patients, and really sick patients.


Here’s the takeaway: Working introduces you to a side of pharmacy that no classroom can replicate. You will experience the raw pharmacy microcosm of a healthcare world that is full of life, strife, love, loss, patience, rigor, excellence, mistakes, precision, and pride.

In today’s tight employment market, the question isn’t: “Do you need to work during pharmacy school?” The question is: “What experiences are YOU seeking to help prepare you for life after graduation?”


Are you convinced yet? Awesome! Not sure HOW to find a job? Tune in for next week’s blog.

Post your thoughts here – and I’ll summarize all ideas next week!


The support behind 21st Century PharmD is growing each week – thank YOU for reading/sharing/commenting!

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