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Pharmacist: Dr. Scott Kislak

Pharmacist: Dr. Scott Kislak

What has been your greatest success?

My greatest success in pharmacy came when I was working for Shop n’ Save pharmacy. I ran a blood pressure clinic there for a little over two years and I was able to help many people. One instance sticks out above all the others. A man came to one of the free blood pressure screenings and I found that he had developed remarkably high blood pressure. I recommended that the patient get in contact with his doctor as soon as possible and get in for a check up. When the man went to the doctor, they found that many of his arteries around his heart were clogged and he was dangerously close to suffering a heart attack. The man underwent surgery three days after his office visit and recovered.

More on Pharmacists

Salary: $67,860 - $119,480
Min. Education: Doctorate
Related Careers: Physician, Dentist

What are some of your personal and/or professional goals for the future?

I would like to move to a position as a pharmacy district manager. These individuals oversee a large number of pharmacies and are basically the link between corporate offices and the individual stores.

Is it important for someone to be passionate about pharmacy in order to be successful in the field?

That depends on how you define successful. It is possible to be an intelligent person who does well in school to get their degree and practice pharmacy and get good pay. However, the best pharmacists are the ones who do have a passion for helping others.

Education Information and Insights

Tell us about your pharmacy education. Where did you go to school? What was your undergrad degree in? Why did you choose the schools you chose?

I went to school at the University of Pittsburgh. For pharmacy, there was no undergrad degree. There were two years of “pre-pharmacy” where one completed electives and the basic math and science courses and then four years of pharmacy school. At the end of the six years one graduates with a doctor of pharmacy degree, also known as a PharmD. I chose the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy because I am from Pittsburgh and it is one of the top 10 pharmacy schools in the country. One added benefit of going to pharmacy school at Pitt is the link between UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center), which is one of the largest health care systems in the country, and the pharmacy school. This link offers students the ability to see many different types of pharmacy careers and make connections that will enable them follow the career path of their choice.

What do you need to do or have to get into pharmacy school?

To get into pharmacy school, one needs outstanding grades, SAT scores, etc. Every pharmacy school sets up their program a little differently. There are some pharmacy programs that enroll students from pharmacy school out of high school and they complete their six years of college with no distinction of undergrad, grad, etc. Other schools, such as Pitt, break it up into two years of “pre-pharmacy” and four years of pharmacy school. In the first two years, one completes general college electives and basic requirements with a heavy emphasis on science such as biology and chemistry. After the pre-pharmacy requirements have been met, one can apply to pharmacy school. Getting into pharmacy school is extremely competitive. Two years ago at Pitt, there were more than 5,000 applications for the school’s 90 spots.

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