If you’re interested in a career in healthcare, you may consider becoming a pharmacist versus a traditional medical doctor. While both jobs are a part of the healthcare field, starting a career in pharmacy holds certain perks over becoming a doctor.
1. Faster Job Track
The traditional path to becoming a doctor starts with undergraduate school then medical school followed by residency and fellowship. This path can take upwards of 14 years for an individual to complete. If you are interested in becoming a pharmacist, expect to commit time to your undergraduate studies as well as pharmacy school, but you should complete your studies within six to eight years. If you started schooling immediately after high school graduation, this means a medical doctor would complete their program between 32-34 years of age while a pharmacist can start in their field as early as 24 years old.
2. Less School Debt
When choosing an occupation, you should always take into consideration the amount of debt you may accumulate while finishing your career path. With the ever-increasing cost of education, becoming a doctor can add up to over $160,000 just for medical school while pharmacist programs are typically under $60,000. Neither of these estimates includes undergraduate programs or room and board.
3. Online Schools
Unlike medical doctors, pharmacists can obtain their degrees using online education. Online pharmacy school programs cover the same education as traditional schools, but can be done in the comfort of your own home and without the additional costs of living on campus. During clinical rotation, students are sent to local pharmacies to learn and experience growth in the pharmaceutical field before graduating.
4. Routine Work Hours
Many doctors are faced with the reality of being on-call on a routine basis. This necessity to be there whenever a patient needs you can interfere with home and family life since there is no ability to create a continuous routine when there’s always the chance an emergency will occur. Depending upon where you work, pharmacists are not expected to be on-call. Instead pharmacists work routine hours and when they head home after work, they should not expect to be called in at a moment’s notice.
5. Work Place Flexibility
If you’re a doctor, you’ll either work in a hospital or office setting. Pharmacists may work in hospitals, offices, as well as businesses throughout the country. If you enjoy customer interaction, you might choose to work in a retail pharmacy at a local store. If you prefer more clinical interactions, you might choose to work inside a hospital.
Choosing a career path may be difficult and deciding between becoming a pharmacist or a doctor should not be taken lightly. Consider the pros and cons of both fields and decide what’s most important to you and your future before choosing your next step in your career path.