GUEST BLOG: Determining the right pharmaceutical career path for you

UoY Careers Rocket illy  Guest blog written by Josephine Rose, on behalf of Intech-online

Many prospective students may have choosen their pharmaceutical study programme already which is most commonly based on their high level of interest for the field. However, it must be stressed that career paths must be considered carefully. As well as relative interests, gained skills and knowledge, the personality of the applicant should also suit the requirements of the targeted job.

Therefore, it is recommdend to do a psychometric test which helps gaining insights into your personality, and thus support your career decision process positively. Interestingly, these tests are very common in employers’ recruitment processes, in order to preselect candidates. Luckily, satisfactory versions of these tests are accessible for you thanks to cost-free providers such as TeamTechnology or the platforms Prospects and TargetJobs. Being aware of your personality, as well as reading the following short job descriptions of pharmaceutical job-options, will help you determine which range of studies and jobs actually fit your personality.

Generally speaking, pharmacists assign and educate patients about developed medicines, and pharmaceutical scientist research, develop, test and produce completely new drugs. Most commonly, a three year’s bachelor degree (BSc) in Pharmaceutical Sciences prepares a student to work in pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, researching and producing new medications. Against assumptions that holders of a BSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences are only working in laboratories, there are also educational marketing, and industry careers possible (see Intech Recruitment for a better idea). Having a Pharmacy degree (M. Pharm), which takes four years and a year of practice, qualifies a graduate to work in pharmacies, chemists, hospitals, private or public homes with care facilities and select or prescribe drugs for patients. However, some graduates decide to work as a teacher, lecturing and assessing students.

It should be considered that the work as a pharmaceutical researcher includes using computers, sophisticated technology and microscopic items. Furthermore, it must be imagined that the development of a new drug could take several years. Therefore, personality traits such as a high level of attention for detail, precision, stamina and patience are needed as a researcher. In contrast, working as a pharmacist requires stress resistance and a higher level of soft skills including communication, empathy, and relationship building skills. More precisely, placements at drug stores tend to be more monotonous, as opposed to the work in hospitals which requires high developed patient-facing, clinical decision making skills, and the ability to work under pressure.

In a nutshell, people who tend to be introverted, like stability and repeating procedures, may make great industrial and retail pharmacists. In contrast, those who are fascinated by the mysterious may make great researchers, as opposed to sales professionals and teachers who tend to be extroverted and prefer change. Finally, people who like to care for others are extroverted, empathic and stay calm under pressure; these are people that may be great in clinical areas or care.

As soon as the decision is made and necessary qualifications gained, recruitment agencies who specialise on different sectors such as pharmaceutical/medical jobs or utilities jobs can become great partners to help get that very first and vitally important position.