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Where can a pharmacy degree take you?

by South University
December 17, 2018
A photo of two South University physical therapist assistant students.

The role of pharmacists in the healthcare system is evolving to meet the demands of the profession and society. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 60% of pharmacists work in independent or chain pharmacies, while about 25% work in hospital systems. However, a Doctor of Pharmacy degree can also lead to careers you’re less familiar with. Here are some of the other interesting ways you can use your professional pharmacy training.

Nuclear pharmacy

Nuclear pharmacists compound, measure, and deliver the radioactive materials used in diagnostic imaging (MRI, CT, etc.) and other procedures. Preparing radioactive materials is done in specialized containment rooms. The materials are then transported to hospitals and medical offices. Instead of working with patients, nuclear pharmacists interact primarily with healthcare technologists and physicians.

Primary care practice settings

Many clinical pharmacists are now embedded in primary care practice settings. These pharmacists manage the medication therapy for the practice. Embedded clinical pharmacists are more involved in drug therapy initiation and management than pharmacists in other community-based settings.

Government

Government agencies at the local, state, and federal level employ pharmacists in organizations such as the Food & Drug Administration, National Institute of Health, Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Veterans Administration, and even NASA. Pharmacists are also integral to the military.

Within these organizations, a pharmacist may conduct many tasks, including dispensing medications, counseling on medication usage and side effects, managing medication storage and procurement, conducting research, developing drug policies, and reviewing new drug applications.

Long-term care and consulting

Long-term care facilities are places where the elderly or individuals unable to care for themselves receive ongoing care from others. These facilities include nursing homes, mental institutions, correctional institutions, rehabilitation centers, and adult day care centers.

Often working as consultants, pharmacists review the medications of long-term care patients and provide recommendations and information to the other members of the healthcare team. In many cases, pharmacists provide specialized compliance packaging and medication administration training to care givers.

Home health care

Pharmacists who work in home health care serve patients in their home, preparing intravenous medications for people who require such products as antibiotics, parenteral nutrition, pain management, and chemotherapy. These pharmacists may monitor the patient’s reactions and progress and adjust treatment as necessary. In their work, they collaborate with home health nurses, hospice organizations, and social services team members.

Higher education

Working in higher education can also be a rewarding opportunity that allows you to help mentor future pharmacists. Pharmacy faculty teach in the classroom and also serve as preceptors for students completing experiential rotations. These pharmacists conduct research and publish scholarly literature as well.

Pharmaceutical industry

Pharmacists perform vital roles in the development, testing, sales, and marketing of new and existing drugs. They conduct clinical research, educate other professionals, and advise prescribers on the appropriate use of drug products.

Entrepreneurship

Pharmacists have a long history of entrepreneurship. They have developed products and businesses in a variety of industries including soft drinks, software, online and brick and mortar stores, medical devices, and much more. There really is no limit on how you can utilize your professional pharmacy training to create valuable products and services in the marketplace.

Planning Your Pharmacy Career

As you can see, the pharmacy world has a wealth of career opportunities. Even beyond the eight areas, pharmacists may be involved in pharmaceutical benefit management, regulatory affairs, poison control, medical writing, managed care, and more. No matter what your pharmaceutical interests, the right position can be out there for you!

Get started on pursuing your goals with South University’s 3-year accelerated Doctor of Pharmacy program offered at our campuses in Savannah, GA, and Columbia, SC. To speak with an admissions representative, request information or call 1.888.444.3404 today.

by South University
December 17, 2018
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3 Reasons to Choose a Career in Pharmacy

by South University
October 5, 2018
A photo of South University pharmacy students at their commencement ceremony.

If you’ve ever gotten a prescription filled before, you’ve interacted with a pharmacist. You also could have met with them in a hospital or long-term care setting. Maybe they’ve even given you a flu shot or checked your blood pressure. Pharmacists can do many tasks and work in many places! The pharmaceutical and healthcare industries are growing fields and being a pharmacist is a great career option for anyone who is a strong communicator and who enjoys science and math. If you’re looking for a healthcare career that can allow you to assist and educate people in achieving wellness, pharmacy could be an excellent fit for you. Here are three reasons why this field is worth considering.

1. You could help others get and stay healthy.

Pharmacists work directly with patients to help them get healthy as fast as possible. They work with patients to identify and address anything, such as lifestyle or diet, that might impact their ability to take medications as prescribed. (This is why communication skills are so important for pharmacists!) As medication specialists who collaborate with patients and health care professionals, pharmacists can improve medication adherence and health outcomes, while decreasing medication mistakes, harmful effects, and costs.

A photo of South University pharmacy students.Pharmacists can provide immunizations and be particularly valuable during natural disasters and epidemics. They can also help patients better manage medication for chronic diseases and provide important health services such as:

  • Blood pressure monitoring
  • Cholesterol screening
  • Asthma care
  • Smoking cessation consulting
  • Bone density scans for osteoporosis screening
  • Diabetes disease management
  • Anticoagulation management

2. You could pursue a variety of jobs and career options.

Pharmacists can work in a wide range of settings, including community or independent pharmacies, long-term care facilities, hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry, mail-order pharmacies, government agencies, academia, and even in patients’ homes.

Depending on your career path, your roles could include tasks such as

  • Dispensing medication, instructing patients on how to take medicines, educating them on side effects, and checking for potential negative interactions between medications
  • Working in a medical care team to determine effective medications and doses for hospital patients
  • Managing medications and providing advice to care providers for nursing home patients
  • Measuring and delivering the radioactive materials used in digital imaging
  • Preparing intravenous medications for homebound patients
  • Teaching clinical pharmacy courses and acting as a preceptor for student rotations
  • Helping pharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs
  • Informing healthcare providers about new medications and facilitating clinical trials
  • Supervising pharmacy managers, staff pharmacists, or pharmacy technicians within a retail chain

After earning your Doctor of Pharmacy, you may pursue a residency or advanced training that prepares you to more easily move between these different areas and take on many diverse, exciting, and rewarding jobs over the course of your career.

3. You could have high earnings potential and job security.

In South Carolina and Georgia, where South University’s PharmD programs are located, pharmacists had average annual wages of $123,720 and $117,690, respectively by state.

In May 2018, the median annual wage for pharmacists in the US was $124,170, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10% earned less than $87,420, and the highest 10% earned more than $159,410. In South Carolina and Georgia, where South University’s PharmD programs are located, pharmacists had average annual wages of $123,720 and $117,690, respectively by state. Of course, pharmacists are employed all over the country, with most Americans living within five miles of a pharmacy.

As for job growth, the BLS predicts that demand for pharmacists will grow about 6% between 2016 and 2026. This demand will be driven by several factors. First is the increasing number of prescriptions filled, due in part to the needs of our aging population. According to Statista.com, 4.13 billion prescriptions were filled in 2017 and that number may grow to 4.57 billion prescriptions filled annually by 2024. In addition to filling these prescriptions, pharmacists will be needed to assist elderly patients in navigating complex medication requirements and regimens, and assist them in finding ways to lower their prescription spending.

Additionally, as researchers continue developing new medicines, pharmacists will need to aid care providers and patients in understanding the differences between the medicines and determining which medicine is the best fit.

Take the Next Step Today

South University offers a 3-year accelerated Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD) program at our campuses in Savannah, GA, and Columbia, SC. Including 1600+ hours of clinical experience and taught by experts in the pharmacy field*, our PharmD program can prepare for you to enter professional practice or a pharmacy residency program. Learn more now!

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.

by South University
October 5, 2018
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A Passion for Teaching and Preaching: Meet Doctor of Ministry Program Director, Paul McCuistion

by South University
February 9, 2017

“I’ve been preaching all of my life,” says Doctor of Ministry Program Director at South University, Tampa Campus and Orlando Learning Site Dr. Paul McCuistion. “When I was three or four, I’d have my stuffed animals lined up on the bed and I’d be preaching to them.”

Although he’s been a professor now for over eight years (and loving every minute of it), Dr. McCuistion has spent much of his professional life working full- or part-time in the pulpit. He actively practiced ministry for 20 years, some full time; some bi-vocational. “There aren’t many careers that you could name that I haven’t somehow come in contact with,” he says. “I did construction, insurance, title work, a little bit of everything, and enjoying life.” Some were to support ministry and others to support my family while I did graduate work.

At 52, he decided he wanted even more. “I walked into the house one day and told my lovely wife, ‘I think I'll go back to school,’” he recalls. That announcement, that decision, turned into an 11-year quest resulting in two master’s degrees and a PhD. First, he earned a Master of Arts in the New Testament from Johnson University and a Master of Arts in Theology from Saint Leo University—where he also began serving as an Adjunct Professor.

For Dr. McCuistion, teaching feels right. He loves to do it and has for a long time. In fact, he remembers attending his first Bible camp at age nine and then returning the following Sunday to share a full report of what he learned in front of the church congregation.

“I always knew that I could teach; it’s just a gift,” he says. “When God sets his sights on something, there’s no guesswork about it. You know the call and you know that you’re responsible for it.”

Soon after his master’s, Dr. McCuistion earned a Doctor of Philosophy in the New Testament from the North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa. He then taught at two other institutions before joining the Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program at South University in 2016.

“Coming to South University has been the highlight of my academic career,” he says. “Not only am I getting to work with world-class scholars, but this program is the first I’ve seen that’s truly connecting the study of theology with the application of theology in church ministry.”

The practicality of South University’s DMin program aligns well with what Dr. McCuistion is doing in his own personal ministry, Teaching4Jesus Ministries. Through Teaching4Jesus, Dr. McCuistion leads a seminar that helps churches to sharpen their focus on Jesus. Working with his brother, David whose background is in organizational leadership, Dr. McCuistion also guides church leaders in developing and refining their mission, vision, goals, and strategy—ensuring that these all tie back to that underlying theological focus. Their vision for T4J is Empowering Christians for service that builds up of the body of Christ.

The DMin program at South University has been a great fit for Dr. McCuistion, who sees extreme value in the way the program teaches students not only the underlying theology of ministry, but also gives them practical tools and strategies for connecting it to their ministry practice.

“First, we lay the foundation and then we move into ministry skills—leadership and management, discipleship, communication skills, conflict mediation. Then there are practicum courses and advanced ministry skills. The program moves from theology to application of theology,” he explains. “I think it’s tremendous.”

Join Dr. McCuistion for a Workshop that can Support Your Ministry

This February, Dr. McCuistion and South University are offering a workshop for pastors in the Tampa and Orlando areas. The workshop, titled “Forging the Sword of the Spirit: Historical Survey of the Development of the New Testament Text,” will review the history of the written Bible and is designed to help ministry practitioners answer a question that many of today’s churchgoers are asking: “Can I trust the Bible to be God’s Word for today?”

All ministry professionals are invited to attend this workshop at South University, Tampa Campus on February 28th from 6 to 8pm and at our Orlando Learning Center on March 7th from 6 to 8pm. The event will include a Meet and Greet, a Presentation from Dr. McCuistion and a 30 minute Q&A session. If you can’t make it, follow South University on Facebook for news and other upcoming events. To learn more about the DMin program, request information online or at 1.888.444.3404 anytime.

by South University
February 9, 2017
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