The Daily Gamecock

Pharmacy Day hosts 20 employers

Career Center event attracts more than 70 USC students

Over 20 hiring pharmacy retailers set up shop in the Russell House Ballroom to talk jobs in one of health care’s most in-demand careers. From 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., the Pharmacy Day Career Expo, hosted by the Career Center, attracted over 70 pre-pharmacy and pharmacy students, said Career Center coordinator Erica Lake.

The event fell on the final week of American Pharmacists Month, during which students and faculty from the South Carolina College of Pharmacy have been visiting local hospitals and health centers to educate patients on their medications and raise awareness of the vital role pharmacists play in the public’s health.

“Even with the economy being down, people are still going to get sick,” said second-year pharmacy student Summershone Bowman as she checked out different employment settings at the event.

“Health care is going through major changes, but people still have to get medications in an affordable way,” Bowman said. “They should get to know their pharmacist as well as they know their regular physicians.”

Following the event, recruiters representing pharmacy companies from Target and Walgreens to Providence Hospital conducted interviews with students seeking internships, part-time and full-time employment. Rite Aid Pharmacy District Manager Rob Bowman had eight interviews lined up for the afternoon.

Rob Bowman, who has no relation to Summershone,  said that despite the increased interest in the industry for its job opportunities, which are expected to grow 17 percent by 2018, and six-figure median salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of pharmacy graduates has remained the same in the past five years due to competitive progression and limited education resources.

However, the SC College of Pharmacy’s USC Campus Dean Randall Rowen hopes that events such as the Career Expo and the opening of a new SCCP Upstate campus in August will help meet rising demand in the state.

“Improving the quality of health care is a big issue, and pharmacies are getting more involved with management and working with patients,” Rowen said. “It’s going to be a team approach, but it’s clear that in order to get the best outcome, South Carolina needs pharmacists.”