Charting New Territory: Diverse Career Opportunities for PharmD

It has often been thought that upon graduation, Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) graduates have been limited to 2 traditional routes: Community and Hospital. However, in the past 5 years, career opportunities have diversified and PharmD graduates now have a choice in where and how they work. Let’s examine the different opportunities that PharmD can present:

Community Pharmacy:

Community pharmacy opportunities have expanded with provincial governments in BC and Ontario allowing prescribing for minor ailments. This joins Alberta and Saskatchewan in permitting pharmacists to prescribe and it is expected that many other provinces will soon follow suit. There are opportunities to move up the ladder by becoming a pharmacy manager or pharmacy associate in which you will be responsible for managing the pharmacy or store on a day-to-day basis. Other opportunities include specializing in a certain area of expertise such as diabetes or chronic kidney disease to provide optimal
care for your patients.

Hospital Pharmacy:

Hospital pharmacists can practice within hospitals and be a member of the clinical team. Roles and responsibilities can include but not limited to solving drug therapy problems, providing comprehensive medication management, and answering drug information questions from health care providers and patients. Hospital pharmacists can further advance their career by specializing in certain areas of expertise such as internal medicine, pediatrics, or critical care.

Pharmaceutical Industry:

A PharmD is relevant to the pharmaceutical industry as it positions graduates to work in unique roles in medical affairs. These can include positions such as medical science liaisons, regulatory affairs, medical operations and strategy, medical information, and sales. These roles involve working with cross-functional teams to provide knowledge translation to physicians and patients on the status and development of a new drug or therapy.

Technology Companies

With new health apps being developed and improved almost constantly, PharmDs with some technical and coding background can jump into the tech realm to become a project manager or consultant on the development of apps that can help patients monitor their blood sugars, vital signs, or methods for notifications of when to take their medications.

Regulatory Bodies/Insurance Companies:

There are opportunities in many different regulatory bodies where PharmD graduates are required. These regulatory bodies can include Health Canada, Provincial Health Authorities, Work Safe organizations, College of Pharmacists and many more. Additionally, insurance companies such as Blue Cross are also options for where PharmDs can be utilized.

Ultimately, there are many different career options for PharmDs to pursue and one should not feel limited to traditional expectations. Be open to exploring different career paths and choose one that best aligns with your values and interests