Internship Tips Every Pharmacy Student Should Know
Over the past decade, employment for pharmacists has continued to climb. This is attributed primarily to an aging population that’s slowly beginning to increase its need for prescription medication.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment for pharmacists is expected to increase by 14 percent through 2022, and the median annual wage for a pharmacist was $116,670 in 2012. With this increasing demand for the occupation, students enrolled in pharmacy technician classes need to do everything it takes to keep up with the stiff competition of their peers.
Internships have become an essential part of any graduate’s resume, as it shows that you not only have gained some minor experience, but you’ve put in the extra effort to increase your knowledge of your specific field while juggling with school. As more students begin to enter the job market, you need to make sure your resume doesn’t get lost in the shuffle before graduation. Here are some important internship tips every pharmacy student should know, as well as how to get the most from your internship:
Benefits of an Internship
Sure, having an internship position under your belt is a great opportunity to gain some experience and spruce up your resume, but there’s essentially one reason to obtain an internship – to get a job. According to a survey published in Forbes, 69 percent of companies with 100 or more employees offered full-time jobs to their interns in 2012, and the trend appears to be rising as the National Association of Colleges and Employers reported a near 6 percent increase of co-op hiring in 2013.
Even if you’ve graduated college without experiencing an internship, landing one after you’ve left school can easily turn into a full-time position. To put it simply, securing an internship at some point certainly won’t hurt your chances of receiving that pharmaceutical job you’ve been training for.
Seeking a Pharmaceutical Internship
When you’re trying to secure an internship, there are plenty of factors to consider. For starters, most states require that anyone applying for a pharmaceutical internship need to apply for an intern license from the board of pharmacy of that state. Here is one example of the qualifications needed to apply for a pharmacy internship according to the state of California:
- Must be currently enrolled or a graduate of a school of pharmacy recognized by the Accreditation Council for Pharmaceutical Education.
- A graduate of a foreign pharmacy school with a certificate from the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination Committee.
- Someone who has failed the pharmacist licensure examination four times.
- Must pass a criminal background check.
A pharmacy internship license applies mostly to students who are specifically looking for experience within a retail pharmacy store or sector. However, the first and easiest place anyone enrolled in a pharmacy technician college should look for an internship should be at their school. These can be found during the summertime, and scheduling a visit with a counselor or professor who oversees an internship program will allow you to gain better insight into what you need to get in as well as what you’ll get out of it.
Another area to seek out pharmaceutical internships is through a hospital, and more often than not, these can be obtained through a professor or colleague at school. If you know or are familiar with a faculty member of your college who is a doctor, odds are they currently or used to work at a hospital. Asking them for advice or assistance is often the first step into securing an internship.
Preparing for an Internship
After you’ve assembled your resume together and have compiled a few references, the next step in the application process for a pharmaceutical internship is usually an interview. This can be an intimidating moment for a student who’s never experienced one before, but there are a few ways you can adequately prepare.
For starters, speak with professors or students you know who have experience interviewing already. Ask them any questions you have about the procedure, and write down any tips they give you. Next, ask a counselor if there’s anywhere within campus that you can set up a mock interview, which are usually provided to students after scheduling an appointment.
Finally, do some research about the place you’re applying to. You never know when little things like knowing the company’s history or understanding its practices will help you stand out in the pool of fellow pharmaceutical intern applicants.
Know What You’re Gaining Out of It
While it’s easy to think that any type of experience is suitable for enhancing your resume, it’s always a good idea to try to line something up that is specifically related to the topics your researching in school. If a career in retail pharmacies is what interests you, apply at dozens of grocery stores or dispensaries until you get accepted. If it’s something more research-orientated you’re after, then seeking out a summer internship with your school is probably the best bet for you.
1 “Internships May Be The Easiest Way To A Job In 2013,” Jacquelyn Smith, Dec. 12, 2012.http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2012/12/06/internships-may-be-the-easiest-way-to-a-job-in-2013/
2 “Occupational Outlook Handbook,” United States Department of Labor, Jan. 8, 2014. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacists.htm
3 “Intern Pharmacist Registration Application Instructions,” California State Board of Pharmacy, http://www.pharmacy.ca.gov/forms/intern_app_pkt.pdf