Torn between Pharmacy School and Dental Hygiene.

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Julie McCray in philadelphia, Pennsylvania

90 months ago


I'm a 24 year old single mother and I'm at a crossroads. I've been working the medical field in medical insurance but I've been looking into more 'hands on' and focused medical career paths. I'm currently deeply interested in becoming a Pharmacist. I'm also interested in Dental Hygiene, but if I had acceptance from both a DH program and PharmD program, I'd choose Pharmacy. To me the only pros to Dental Hygiene is that it takes a lot less time to complete than Pharmacy school and the work scheduling will be part time. However, pharmacy is where my heart is. The only thing that makes me leery is that Pharmacy school is full of math and science and it's been years since I've really applied myself to those subjects. My GPA in high school ended as a 3.6 back in 2003. I was proficient in them then, but I don't want to be in Pharmacy school and realizing I'm struggling in math and science now.

My overall concern is which program is better suited for a single mother that's the breadwinner. I'm not married and am currently more focused on making a life for my daughter and self at the moment. I can't find any programs that offer flexibility in terms of nights or weekends so I'd really have to pick one and just give it all. With Dental Hygiene I'd have a career quite a bit sooner than Pharmacy school with it's 6+ year timeline. In the long run though, I think I'd regret not trying to go for my PharmD. They are two pretty different career paths so I'm a little torn. Any constructive feedback would be appreciated.



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Lesley in Saint Louis, Missouri

89 months ago

Hello Julie! I had received my G.E.D. in 2006 at the age of 28 and wanted to immediately enroll in college. Ive wanted to become a dentist since I was a teen but thats 8 years of school! So I wanted to do hygiene but the prerequisites would take over a year and the waiting list for the school was almost 2 years! Being a single parent with a son in grade school and bills I felt I didnt have that long to wait. So instead of being patient and going with my heart, I decided to go for a year and a half to become a dental assistant to make sure this is the field for me. I've been in the field for a year and 6 months and I love what I do, but hygiene is still in my heart! I plan on going back for hygiene within the next 8 months and wished I had stuck with this decision from the start. You have to be certain about going into the dentistry field because if your not u may really dislike it. My advice to you would be to have faith and pray hard about your next move and GO WITH YOUR HEART! Good Luck and God bless!

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Lesley in Saint Louis, Missouri

89 months ago

Keep reading on the dental hygiene forum about this career but keep in mind that a lot of hygientist on here are venting and it can be discouraging. Also try and see if there is a Pharmacist forum you can get advice from. Best Wishes

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Courtney in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

75 months ago

Hi, Julie!
I am an RDH and my husband is a pharmacist. I would...hands down.....recommend that you become a pharmacist. It's a career that should always be in demand...people will always need drugs. As a hygienist, it's an okay career. I am fairly new to it and already feel a little jaded. Yes, the hours CAN be flexible, but keep in mind that if you continue to live in Philly that it's a very competetive place. I just moved here from a tiny town in MD where it was much easier to find the hours I needed than it is here in Philly. The pay varies widely depending on where you live and it's not very good here in my opinion due to the area being oversaturated with hygienists. The one good pro is that it does only take 2-3 years to complete, but I am wary of how this career will pan out. It's been around for about 100 years but dental assistants seem to be gaining more access to what they can and can't do all while making lower pay AND the dentist can do cleanings if they have to. Pharmacy it seems to be very demanding in terms of gaining a degree. It's a ton of science and math but if it is your dream go for it. Don't regret not at least trying it out later on in life. If you have the time and finances you will have job security and make a very nice living at the same time.

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