Choosing a career, and investing in the education necessary to obtain it, is one of the biggest decisions we make. Having great support and advice is critical. But for those interested in pursuing a career in pharmacy, where do you turn to get good advice and guidance as you prepare to make one of the most important (and expensive!) decisions of you life?
I have personally spent many hours talking to student groups about a pharmacy career. I have been directly involved in training students as an associate professor of community pharmacy practice. I have written extensively about pharmacy career topics. But until now I was disappointed that there were so few online resources for students contemplating a career in pharmacy – especially resources that were not heavily biased by direct connections with schools of pharmacies or pharmacy associations.
That’s why I was so glad to hear about what my friend and pharmacist, Alex Barker PharmD, was doing with this great new resource for students.
Alex, thanks for taking the time to talk with my readers here at The Honest Apothecary!
1) Alex, to begin with, can you please tell my readers a little about yourself and your own career as a pharmacist?
There’s three things that have helped me succeed in life:
- My wife (and best friend)
Each played a significant role by helping me overcome my HUGE failures. I was the student who thought he never could: get into pharmacy school, get a pharmacy residency, or get a clinical pharmacy job. Somehow I was able to do all those things, (with the help of God, my wife, and LOTS of coffee). That’s why after I began my clinical job I started Pharmacy School HQ. I want to help students who wish to become pharmacists.
2) How did the idea of Pharmacy School HQ come to you?
I wished there was a website with info from a pharmacist when I was a pharmacy student. I knew there was a large forum with a lot of info, but I found many negative members there. I had the idea to start a website back in 2012 when I started my residency. I worked with students quite often and found myself giving the same advice multiple times. So, to make it easier for students and myself, and to help even more students, I created the website with one goal : to help future PharmDs.
3) Who, exactly, is Pharmacy School HQ here to serve?
Really two distinct groups:
Each has distinct problems, so I try to write on subjects that will help them right where they are. For example, I created a PDF with 175 Pharmacy School Interview Questions for PrePharmacy students. While that PDF may not be helpful to a pharmacy student (since they’re already in pharmacy school), so I created a document called 295 Residency Interview Questions.
4) So, in a nutshell, tell my readers what Pharmacy School HQ can do for them? How do you do this?
Pharmacy School HQ aims to help you do one thing : Become a Pharmacist who loves life and your job. We do that in a few ways: Awesome Blog posts, Lots of free resources for our Insider Group, Consulting, and Courses.
5) What do these services cost?
I charge about the average pharmacist hourly wage for my one-on-one consulting, which isn’t for most people. That’s usually reserved for students who want a 99% guarantee that they will get into pharmacy school or a residency. I have a few courses that are much cheaper, like my Interview Mastery course, which is $49.95 for now.
I struggled with charging at first to be honest Jason. But I found that when I offered free services, I attracted customers who took advantage of me and my time. I began to charge to attract the right kind of customer, one who values my service and time.
6) You have a pretty active presence on Social Media. Can you share how you are using your Social Media accounts to help promote Pharmacy School HQ?
I use Social Media to create helpful communities where people can ask questions without fear. I have two active Facebook Communities: PCAT Study Group and Future Pharmacy Residents. I’m not extremely active there because of time constraints, but both have active members who comment and help other students. I use Twitter mainly to connect with awesome influencers (such as yourself Jason 😉 ). I rarely use it to promote my content since one Tweet lasts only a few minutes before it’s replaced in someone’s feed with more Tweets. LinkedIn I haven’t used much due to time.
7) There is some concern amongst pharmacists that the job market is flooded right now. What is your opinion on this subject?
I somewhat agree Jason. We all know that the number of graduates has significantly increased over the last 15 years (of late this number has flattened according to AACP) However, “flooded” is a strong word. I would say that the competition has increased, especially in metropolitan areas.
Should this stop someone from pursuing a career in pharmacy? No! I receive this question from students all the time: “Should I pursue pharmacy school? I keep hearing there are no jobs.” And here’s is what I tell them: If you believe that you would love being a pharmacist, then go for it! Your passion and belief will create opportunities to become an excellent pharmacist with skills that managers will find desirable (and thus more job opportunities for yourself, even in a market where “there are no jobs”).
You should NOT pursue pharmacy if: you hate working you complain on a constant basis about things outside of your control (FYI employers + bosses hate this) you don’t want to improve yourself or grow in career skills My friend, if you are like this, then your career days are numbered. You will hate your pharmacy job and grow into a toxic person, or worse, lose your job. I recommend asking yourself some hard questions, like “why were you placed here on planet earth?” and “what is your life’s calling?”
8) Where can my readers go to find out more information about Pharmacy School HQ?
The best way to learn more about what I do is by signing up for our email updates (where I share lots of free resources not on the website). I share more about my story here. If you’d like to connect with on Twitter, I’m @PharmSchoolHQ.
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