Magazine article Drug Topics

Good Market for Grads, Say Pharmacy Deans

Magazine article Drug Topics

Good Market for Grads, Say Pharmacy Deans

Article excerpt

Opportunities for today's pharmacy graduates are greater than ever, and the many options available to them extend even beyond the profession, according to James Doluisio, dean of the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy. He was seconded in this opinion by assistant dean Arlyn Kloesel.

Kloesel noted that several of his school's graduates plan to enter law school, medical school, or an MBA program, and he expressed pleasure that a pharmacy school education opens up such options.

Within the profession, Doluisio estimated that 35% of this year's graduating class will enter hospital pharmacy--a larger number than in past years and "an unusual percentage at this time," since only about 20% of the profession practices in hospitals.

About 40% of the college's graduates will go with chains and independents, he said. "That's probably down from previous years. Graduates entering the field are finding increased starting salaries and more competition based on offering a more professional environment."

For the students' sake, Doluisio likes the trends with respect to growing income in the face of apparent shortage but doesn't entirely trust what he sees. "While salaries are increasing nicely, they're not increasing dramatically, so some may wonder to what degree we do have a shortage," he told Drug Topics. Moreover, changes affecting employment, such as entry-level Pharm.D. programs, are just around the corner and should necessitate an analysis of the manpower situation. "There is a point where it is healthy to have good competition for your students, and there's a point where there's such a difference between needs and supply that other solutions may become necessary. With entry-level Pharm.D.s, there will be a decrease in manpower, and we may be approaching the point where other solutions for pharmaceutical services may look attractive, such as pharmacy technicians, automation, and prepackaged distribution systems."

Assistant dean Kloesel was also asked what's different this year from past years with regard to a pharmacist's first job. He agreed with Doluisio that there is a greater emphasis on recruiting by hospitals and that an increasing number of students want to get into that area. "Hospitals are becoming more aggressive, same offering $2,000 signing bonuses," he said.

Kloesel also agreed that, besides salary, there are other features in hospital practice that appeal to students. "We are seeing much more decentralization in hospitals!, and there are technicians taking over a lot of the distributive functions. …

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