As the coronavirus pandemic surges around the country, the demand for pharmacists is rising as well.
Just after the virus began spreading, CVS announced the recruitment of 50,000 pharmacy professionals for full-time, part-time, and temporary positions. The CVS website has numerous postings for pharmacists, pharmacy techs, pharmacy managers, and other related jobs.
Walgreens is planning to hire 9,500 full-time, part-time, and temporary pharmacy professionals. In late April, the company began offering bonuses for full- and part-time pharmacy workers. Amazon also is expected to hire pharmacists.
The hiring spree is an abrupt turnaround from the job trends in pharmacy. During the past year, pharmacy chains were closing stores and reducing the number of pharmacy workers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics had projected little growth in the profession from 2018 to 2028. While demand was projected to increase in hospitals and clinics, the retail pharmacy sector was expected to contract, leading to a virtually stagnant job growth overall.
Employment at retail, mail, and specialty pharmacies was expected to drop by about five percent by 2028. That is about 11,000 fewer pharmacists than work in those sectors now. This is the latest forecast from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is a more grim outlook than several years ago when the Bureau projected an increase of more than 5,000 pharmacists overall.
A Boost for the Profession
The pandemic has led to a good deal of positive publicity for the profession and greater recognition for pharmacists and their job. Pharmacy leaders are hopeful this heightened awareness could lead to more interest in pharmacy among students and a greater appreciation among the general public of the role pharmacists play in healthcare delivery.
One of those roles is administering immunizations, and pharmacists may play a greater role in combating the pandemic by administering Covid-19 tests, and eventually, vaccines for the virus.
However, it is too soon to tell how this will play out in admissions to pharmacy schools, according to leaders in the profession, noting that there has been no uptick in applications for the 2020-21 year.
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