Supply vs. Demand for Pharmacists: What to Expect May 2010

As the College approaches the start of the fall semester, you have already been engaged full throttle in starting and completing your summer advanced practice experiences.   It is hard to imagine that graduation is only 9 months away, however, the recruitment season will soon be starting.  This year more than any other over the last five years, I would encourage you to start early and be diligent in your application, interview and selection process.

The change in the economy over the past year has probably affected you and members of your family.  This affect may have been small or it may have been monumental.  As Dean, I have been watching the job market and the discussion of pharmacists supply vs demand very carefully.  I can say with confidence that the current situation is extremely variable and rapidly changing.

The article that you can find at this link ( includes information from many sources.  It confirms that the economy has delayed retirements of practicing pharmacists and caused many employers in both retail and hospital sectors to freeze positions and reposition their staffs.  There are variations geographically. Some areas have a distinct pharmacist shortage - others have a more balanced job market between supply and demand.  The future trends seems to support that once the economy recovers, current pharmacists' retirements paired with an aging demographic and the need for OTC and prescription medications and their management, will continue to require the services of pharmacists.

Until that happens, what should you do to make your job search successful today?

1) Create a strong resume or curriculum vitae now.  Have a faculty member, mentor and or career counselor at Drake review the document and provide feedback. Remember that Kelli Pitts ( is here to help you with this process.

2) Keep all of your options open.  Whether you are considering entering practice or continuing with post-graduate training, pursue all options until you have to make a decision.

3) Participate in the College's Fall Recruitment Events. This is an opportunity you cannot pass up.  If you need to travel to attend the events, plan ahead and discuss how you can attend with your preceptor.  Attend the Graduate Interview Seminar on Oct. 8. If you are not able to attend, view the presentations online following the event (an email with the link will be sent once the materials are posted after the event). Following the Graduate Interview Seminar, schedule an interview with as many employers as possible on November 13th.  Find out more information about the companies as well as numerous residency programs at the Pharmacy Career Fair on November 12th.  Once committed to attend, practice your interview technique. Send thank you notes  after your interview.  Follow-up at appropriate intervals.

4) Participate in the ASHP personal placement forum.  This forum is a center for health system positions and post-graduate residencies. A small investment in December may pay great returns in May.

5) Don't take getting a job for granted.  What was once a buyer's market (with the graduate being able to be extremely choosy) is changing to a seller's market (where the employer can be or has to be extremely selective).   Areas similar to the Des Moines market have fewer positions available.  You may have to take advantage of areas of need in rural areas or other parts of the country upon graduation.

6) Utilize the College faculty and staff to help you during your search.  Do not let distance keep you from using these resources. Faculty have networks and connections.  They can serve as a reference, connect you with a potential employer and mentor you through this process. I am sure there are many other ways to maximize your success when choosing your next career step.

The one thing I am sure of is that your academic preparation and professional development at Drake has positioned you for success.

The transition from College to your first career position is one that requires your active engagement.

Be engaged!


Best regards,

Dean Rospond


CPHS Upcoming Events
Doctor of Pharmacy Hooding Ceremony
Saturday, May 17 @ 4 p.m.
[Knapp Center]
Undergraduate Commencement [B.S., Health Sciences]
Sunday, May 18 @ 10 a.m.
[Knapp Center]
Graduate and Doctoral Commencement [PharmD]
Sunday, May 18 @ 2:00 p.m.
[Knapp Center]