Jobs in Demand: Pharmacy Professionals Talk Career Advancement

Three young professionals share tips for entry and success

Setor Lotsu, clinical pharmacist (Image: Lotsu)

Pharmacy has become one of today’s most rewarding career paths. With an increasing demand for pharmacists in retail stores, hospitals, and pharmaceutical sales, the profession offers significant potential. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 25 percent increase in pharmacists by 2020. Though the profession is on the rise, African-Americans only make up 7.1% of the workforce. With an average starting salary of $116,000, careers in pharmacy can improve the economic status of black families and communities.

BlackEnterprise.com caught up with three young pharmacists who took the path less traveled by pursuing a career in the industry.  Their hard work has paid off and they share tips for entry and success in the industry for young professionals on the come up.

Setor Lotsu

Age: 33

Profession: Clinical Pharmacist

Daily Grind: Setor’s first introduction to pharmacy came while working as a cashier at Walgreen’s in high school. Upon the advice of the store’s pharmacist, she became a certified pharmacy technician—but that was just the beginning. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in bio-chemistry, and her Master’s degree in public health from Texas A&M, Setor pursued admission to pharmacy school and landed a spot at the College of Pharmacy at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.

Today, Setor offers her pharmaceutical expertise as a Clinical Pharmacist at one of Houston’s largest county hospitals.  Different from a retail pharmacist, Clinical Pharmacists engage more with doctors, review patient profiles, and make recommendations on pharmaceutical regimens.

Pros & Cons: Setor was most attracted to pharmacy because the profession offers more flexibility than other medical professions. Though she chose to complete a one-year pharmacy practice residency, the profession does not require post-graduate residencies like that of medical doctors. The option of going straight to work after pharmacy school is what attracts many students to pursue careers in pharmacy. Other than the general stresses that come as a result of patient care, Setor appreciates the diversity she experiences every day as a pharmacist.

Tips for the Trade: Dr. Lotsu urges budding young professionals to volunteer in one or more of the various settings where pharmacists work before making a career decision.    “They might realize that they like one area more than the other,” she says. She also suggests seeking out the counsel of a mentor who can help guide you through the pharmacy school and job search process.

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