WCU PharmD Students Explore Varied Pharmacist Career Paths

Two people holding hands at the beach

Mersedeh Kolyaei and Matthew Nadybal, who began dating just prior to enrolling at WCU in 2020 and who were married in 2021, are halfway through completion of the four-year PharmD program at West Coast University’s Center for Graduate Studies. When the conversation turns to what’s next, they may not have it 100% nailed down, but they have certainly narrowed it down.

And that’s a good thing because there are actually a great many career paths for graduating PharmDs.

That may come as a bit of a surprise to those of us who may have only encountered a pharmacist while picking up a prescription, but there are indeed many career paths for PharmD graduates to choose from, from retail to hospital, from corporate to government, from education to law…

One career path that both Kolyaei and Nadybal have expressed an interest in is becoming an oncology pharmacist where, after completing a 1-to-2-year residency, they would become part of a team tasked with the complete care of patients with cancer.

This type of PharmD job has particular meaning for Kolyaei who lost her grandmother to cancer, as well as her younger brother Jeffrey, who succumbed to Ewing’s sarcoma at the age of 21. From that experience, Kolyaei said it’s “something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Considering PharmD Career Specialties

The pharmacist’s role is to select the proper medications and, critically, the dosage amounts. The pharmacist also needs to be able to monitor and track the patient’s reaction and progress and then to adjust dosages and potentially medications as needed based on their assessments.

The residency option includes multiple potential paths in addition to the oncology track, including areas of pharmacy specialty such as infectious diseases and pediatrics.

Another area of interest for Kolyaei is pharmaceutical law. After completing a two-year program to earn a law degree, she said among her career paths then would be patent or medical malpractice law, or teaching.

For Nadybal, in addition to the residency track, he has an interest in a research-based career and that would include a 1-to-2-year fellowship most likely with a corporate pharmaceutical company working on drug development and/or clinical trials.

So many options and with two years of PharmD program ahead of them. Whatever path they choose, there’s still time to decide.

WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.