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Will It Be Difficult to Find a Pharmacist Job in California Post-Graduation?

Updated on February 14, 2018
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Catherine is a recent PharmD grad currently working as a community pharmacist in California.

There are currently more than 10 pharmacy schools in California. With new pharmacy schools like West Coast University, Keck Graduate Institute, and Chapman University graduating their first class this year, the question that goes through many future graduates' mind is will it be difficult to find a job in California? It depends on many factors.

1) Location. If you narrow your job search to just the desirable areas of California, then yes, it will be difficult. However, if you are open to less desirable areas of California, then it might not be as difficult. There are definitely job openings in rural areas of California. I know this, because an out of state 2018 graduate informed me this past December that he was offered a job at a chain store pharmacy in Central California.

2) Work Experience. Having prior work experience and being a good employee will put you at an advantage over someone with no work experience when applying for a position in the desirable areas of California. I know this, because I reached out to a company's recruiter and was told the few openings that they had in my hometown were offered to their interns. Moreover, a few colleagues who worked for the company prior to pharmacy school and returned from an out of state school had no issues returning to the district that they once worked at.

3) Networking. It may be more difficult but definitely not impossible to find a job in California if you are graduating from an out of state pharmacy school. Employers are flooded with a lot of online applications. All it takes is an email to the right person to have your application looked at and be offered an interview. That was how my colleague and I was able to get our jobs for the same company.

4) Date of Application. The earlier you apply, the better. Instead of attending my college's career day in the fall, I waited until Spring of last year to apply for jobs. Since I waited until March/April, I ended up with a job even further from my hometown than my colleagues.

My advice to those seeking job opportunities in California is apply early on, reach out to HR, and be open to relocate.

© 2018 Catherine

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