Can pharmacist get into academic career?

Usually people assume that being a pharmacist, you only need to work in pharmacies. This however isn’t true and pharmacists can work and have a career in academic area too. It means the opportunity to influence the next generation of professionals, conduct research and be able to educate them, while still being able to practice pharmacy.

Moving to academia can bring in new challenges as things are not as easy as it seems and not to be done for money, but purely out of satisfaction of being able to influence the people.
To work in academia, a pharmacist needs a PhD and several years of experience. Although you can also find a work as graduate teaching assistant if you are in the process of getting PhD, you need to qualify your potential for teaching. You should also have the ability to produce research papers and publication of your academic work. You should have the ability to expand your knowledge in order to be able to teach broad curriculum. Excellent oral and written communication skills are must. You should be able to work with a team as well as individually. It certainly would help knowing a little bit about computers because good IT skill is another requirement for this career that you should prepare yourself for.

In early phase of your career, you would certainly have a hard time finding a permanent contract as an HE lecturer and you should be looking forward to work with a fixed-term contract. Many universities and colleges are your most common employers. Many of them are state run and few small independent sectors in the UK. Opportunities are available overseas as well if you are willing to go for it. If this is something you would be interested in, you can find the details from Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) website.

If you plan on getting into academia, you have to manage time between teaching and clinical work, both of which can be tiresome at the same moment. It could be hard for anyone. To be able to teach, you should have up to date knowledge about ever evolving medicine. Splitting your time can gain you benefits here. You should be as supportive as you can to be able to teach to your students. You need to constantly prove that you are passionate about the teaching aspect of this career. You should be prepared for raising the bar. It looks difficult but teaching itself is not an easy job. If it was that easy, everyone would be doing it. But those who try to swim in deep waters are obviously the ones to be rewarded the most.

Most intuitions provide trainings and seminars to their staffs. They cover administration, IT, Management skill, personal development and research techniques. They will also support staffs that are willing to train themselves outside their institutions. You should complete formal postgraduate teaching qualification once you are in post. This is compulsory if you are a teaching staff in a permanent contract. You may complete this alongside your normal working responsibilities.

For first few years of your career, you will spend most of your time building up your skills as a teacher and gain more teaching experience. This will help you developing your research profile. As you progress, you are expected to produce publishable work. You may also get additional responsibilities in administration, management, research and teaching. Your promotion will depend on your willingness to undertake different responsibilities and on your research profile.