By Sterling Medical Staff
Despite the less-than-certain job prospects facing today’s college graduates, the new Dean of University of Cincinnati’s College of Pharmacy is confident his students will find jobs almost immediately out the door. When asked in a recent interview how many upcoming College of Pharmacy graduates can expect to land jobs, Neil MacKinnon quickly responded: “Easy question, 100 percent.”*
MacKinnon’s response might sound overly optimistic, but there are several reasons that back up what he says.
Most notably, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in January will extend healthcare coverage to millions of Americans, including roughly 164,000 uninsured residents in Southwest Ohio alone. “That’s a lot of new prescriptions,” quipped MacKinnon. “January is going to be crunch time. We’re going to be desperate in this country for family physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and pharmacists.”
The employment of pharmacists is expected to increase by 25% between now and 2020, according to studies performed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is considerably faster than the average projected growth for all occupations, which is estimated at 14%. Contributing to this growth is not only an increase in healthcare coverage, but also the continuing growth of the pharmaceutical industry and the various personnel needed to prescribe and counsel patients on new drugs.
Prospective pharmacists should be enticed by high wages and a good work-life balance. The median annual salary for a pharmacist in Cincinnati is $116,000, and some entry-level pharmacists make just as much. According to the Bureau, most pharmacists work a standard 40 hour workweek, with the occasional night and weekend shift. Approximately 21% work part-time. Perhaps this is because, according to MacKinnon, “pharmacy is the kind of field where somebody could take career breaks or work part-time to raise children and later return to a full-time job.”