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Pharmacist: Dr. Scott Kislak

Pharmacist: Dr. Scott Kislak

In retrospect, what do you know now that you wish you knew before you pursued your education?

When I applied to pharmacy school, I had no idea about the multitude of careers that pharmacy offered. Like most people, I only thought of a pharmacist as the person at the neighborhood drug store. Pharmacy offers much more than this. There are pharmacists who specialize in animals and work with vets, work in operating rooms, round with doctors in the hospital and recommend what medications patients should be on, pharmacists who work for lawyers or are also lawyers that work on malpractice cases, pharmacists who work for insurance companies that decide what drugs should be covered, and many more.

How has your education benefited your career?

The University of Pittsburgh was a great school and prepared me well for my career. In order to practice pharmacy, one must pass a state board exam after graduation. I was very well prepared for the state board exam.

What factors should prospective pharmacy students consider when choosing a school?

There are several things to consider when selecting a school. There are numerous places where one can find national rankings of pharmacy schools. When visiting a school, it is a good idea to ask how the previous year’s graduating class did on their boards. They should be able to give you an exact number. As a point of reference, 97 percent of Pitt students pass on the fist try. One should also consider how long the pharmacy school has been in existence. There are not very many pharmacy schools, and the demand for pharmacists is high, so many schools have been trying to add pharmacy schools in the last decade. I would suggest going to a more established school rather than those newcomers. The final thing I would suggest is to pick a few and apply to at least two or three. As I said before it is very competitive and pharmacy schools only enroll students once a year so if you don’t get into the program, you have to wait an entire year to reapply.

Does graduating from a prestigious school make a difference in landing a good job?

Yes, if you go to a good school you will have a few job offers before you graduate. If you graduate from any pharmacy school, you will have no problem finding a job working at a drug store, but you may have a harder time getting more prestigious jobs in clinical pharmacy without going to a good school.

What types of continuing education requirements should pharmacy students expect once they graduate and land a job?

This requirement varies depending on the state in which one practices. In general, the requirement is between 10 and 20 hours a year. This is not an obstacle at all, as there are opportunities to complete these hours in a variety of places, including every pharmacy magazine that one receives.

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