Too many schools, not enough jobs

June 15, 2011

Only 5 years ago, all they heard was "pharmacist shortage, great jobs, great benefits, great pay." Now the opportunities pharmacy students dreamed about when they began school in 2007 are no longer available.

Key Points

In 2007, a career in pharmacy appeared to offer a promising future to someone medically inclined. I expected to enter a profession that would enable me to use my education and skills to achieve a reasonable income, job security, and a fulfilling life.

Little did I know that when I graduated I would have a difficult time finding a job in my geographical area. Or that some pharmacy students would be struggling just to get the internship hours they need in order to sit for the board exam.

Only 5 years ago, all we heard was "pharmacist shortage, great jobs, great benefits, great pay." So what happened?

Where are the jobs for graduates?

I do not believe that Medicare Part D, the Affordable Care Act, and "baby boomer" healthcare demands will be sufficient to absorb the massive numbers of pharmacy graduates. And while programs such as medication therapy management are becoming increasingly important, pharmacists are not being compensated for this, nor are positions available. Meanwhile, automation and mail-order pharmacies proliferate, cutting into job opportunities.