by Stephen Vodhanel, PhD
Based on recent Money magazine story, “The 50 Best Jobs in America,” college professor ranks number 3, while pharmacist ranks number 13.
According the U. S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of pharmacists is expected to increase by twenty-five percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.
Several factors for the expected increase for pharmacists are scientific advances leading to new drugs and drug delivery, expanding insurance coverage for medications, the aging of the population, and an increase in the complexity of healthcare management.
While employment statistics for college professors are slightly lower than for pharmacists, the profession has long been known as a highly rewarding career. Some of the job perks for college professors are flexible schedules, research time, ample time off during holiday breaks, and the personal rewards of teaching others in a field which one is passionate about.
Considering many of the facts of both professions, a career choice of pharmacy professor just might be a wise decision or just might offer the best of both worlds.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), the shortage of pharmacy faculty around the nation has remained high for several years, and the future growth of pharmacy education is expected to create even more demand.
“The shortage of pharmacy faculty, now and in the future, represents a serious public health threat in the face of the rapidly growing consumer demand for prescription drugs,” said Lucinda Maine, executive vice president of AACP.
In a 2009 report prepared by the American Pharmacists Association and the American Society of Health-system Pharmacists, faculty recruitment and retention has been identified as one of the top issues and challenges of colleges and schools of pharmacy. According to this report, in the 2008-2009 academic year, only 52% of open faculty positions were filled.
At pharmacy conferences and professional events throughout the nation, faculty shortages is often a topic of discussion.
“I personally know this to be true,” says Rashid Mosavin, Ph.D., MBA, associate dean of the School of Pharmacy. “At pharmacy conferences around the nation, it is quite common, when meeting a dean or associate dean from another school, for the discussion to turn to various open faculty positions that remain empty. It seems at any given time there are three or more open faculty positions at any of the 125 or so schools of pharmacy across the nation.”
For many pharmacists, the lure of a college professorship has to do with sharing a wealth of knowledge to the next generation of pharmacists, while giving back to the profession that has given so much to them. For a pharmacist, returning to school very often leads to a great and rewarding career.
Photo: Pharmacist Javad Tafreshi, Pharm.D., BCPS (AQ Cardiology), F.A.H.A., with students at Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy.