In this month’s blog post we’d like to talk to you about veterinary pharmacy, as this is a career option a lot of you showed interest in earlier this year. Veterinary pharmacy is a generally well known alternative career, however not many students know exactly what this career involves or how to get there. Extra training on top of the pharmacy degree is usually required, but the role of a veterinary pharmacist can be very different depending on their specific jobs. Read on to find out more about what veterinary pharmacy is and what pharmacists and pharmacy students can get out of veterinary pharmacy as a career!
What is Veterinary Pharmacy?
This is a specialist area of pharmacy that considers medicines prescribed for treating animals, which may include a wide range of roles, such as medicine: manufacture, supply, distribution, and administration for a variety of different animals. Often a veterinary pharmacist will work with vets, advising them on the safe delivery or storage of medicines intended for animal use. Veterinary pharmacy is still seen by many as an emerging area, where more jobs roles should become available in the near future.
We broke down this alternative pharmacy career choice into some pros and cons below:
- Veterinary pharmacy is an alternative to the traditional community and hospital careers, which offers many different challenges due to the wide variety of animals you may come across with different anatomies and therapeutic needs. If you find yourself less keen on hospital and community, but interested by the prospect of working with animals, this may be a career worth looking into further!
- Pharmacists’ previous experience with customers in community or hospital pharmacy may provide a good starting point, especially as this career has similar requirements for example the ability to perform efficient and high-quality consultations, along with a suitable knowledge of the various medicines regulations (this time relating to animal use).
- Some pre-registration veterinary pharmacy places are available, which is promising if you’re a student already keen on working in this area, however the places are not overly advertised. Students thinking about pre-reg would need to research and look for veterinary pharmacy pre-registration positions or speak to veterinary surgeons directly about potential opportunities.
- There are also positions within academia for veterinary pharmacists, which may involve teaching veterinary students.
- This career may provide varying levels of contact with animals depending on the job role you apply for.
- This career is very different compared to pharmacists working with medicines for humans and therefore requires extra training. There are postgraduate courses are available, which have been used before by pharmacists who found hospital and community were not for them e.g. Harper Adams University runs veterinary pharmacy courses aimed at pharmacists or those with animal science degrees.
- A veterinary pharmacist may come across many different animals and a very large market of products they may have not seen before.
- Pharmacists working in this area are very specialised- which may be good or bad depending on your point to of view.
- This area has few positions available, and many smaller veterinary practices have no need for a veterinary pharmacist. It may be better to keep an eye out for positions in larger veterinary practices as these are more common.
- Pharmacists may also encounter a salary drop to gain the right experience in order to progress in this career.
We hope this has given you more of an insight into veterinary pharmacy, for more information here are some website you might want to check out:
- Royal Pharmaceutical Society. Veterinary Pharmacy. https://www.rpharms.com/resources/careers-information/career-options-in-pharmacy/veterinary-pharmacy
- R. Morris. Veterinary Pharmacy. The Pharmaceutical Journal. https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/careers-and-jobs/career-qa/why-i-chose-veterinary-pharmacy-instead-of-community-or-hospital/20200126.article?firstPass=false
Keep an eye out for our next blog post in August and keep following our Instagram and Twitter accounts (@altpharmcareers) for regular updates!
Thank you for taking your time to read this blog post and stay tuned for more as we upload each month!