About Me

Hi! My name is Paul. I am a legal drug dealer, Blogger, YouTuber, and Videographer. I also enjoy learning and sharing my knowledge of personal finance.

First, thank you for stopping by to learn a little bit more about me and supporting my YouTube videos and blog. This post will explain about how I grew up and why I decided to create this blog and YouTube videos.

I am 28 years old (born 1986) born and raised in Seattle, Washington. Both of my parents were born and raised in Vietnam and immigrated to the United States during the Vietnam War. You can say that I am a blend of Chinese and Vietnamese.

Starting Pharmacy School

Starting Pharmacy School

Growing up I was fairly sheltered and had a pretty ordinary childhood. Both of my parents worked and earned modest incomes. I grew up with interests in finance, business, computers, cars, and healthcare. Nothing really stood out to me at the time and I felt fairly lost throughout high school.

In 2005, I entered college at Washington State University not having a clue what I really wanted to do with my life. Asian culture and my family always pushed me to become a doctor of some sort, lawyer, or an engineer. At the time I did not even consider this professions because I was a rebellious teenager.

My first semester was quite adventurous and fun, it was the first time that I had complete freedom with my time. I met a lot of people and partied quite a bit. Due to my poor time management and lack of focus I registered my worst GPA in my life with a 2.4 GPA. This was a wakeup call to get my priorities straight and manage my time properly.

I decided to research and ask my family what they thought would be a good career. After utilizing Google for researching salaries and future job growth, I ended up with liking the idea of pharmacy. That summer I volunteered at an independent pharmacy and and loved it! This solidified my push to apply to pharmacy school. In subsequent semesters my GPA increased dramatically to 3.5-4.0 range for the rest of my time in the undergraduate studies. I graduated in 2009 with Magna Cum Laude honors in Biological Sciences.

So why then am I creating this blog and videos on how to get into pharmacy school? I found it extremely difficult to get quality information on how to apply to pharmacy school. There is a plethora of little details required to apply to graduate schools and specifically in this case, pharmacy school. Students must find out what type of pre-requisite courses are needed for each pharmacy program, preparing for the standardized exam called the PCAT, deadlines, letters of recommendation, pharmacy experience, interviewing, resume writing, personal statements, and extracurricular activities.

In 2008, I was accepted to the University of Washington School of Pharmacy. After 4 years of hard work I graduated in 2012 and started my pharmacy career in Long Term Care Pharmacy and Inpatient Hospital Pharmacy. I currently practice in both of these areas and enjoy caring for my patients.pharmacist blog

I learned a lot about the process of applying to pharmacy school and hope to share my experiences and knowledge with the rest of the aspiring future pharmacists.

Thank you, please comment below on your stories!

Contact Information: Please comment below. I do my best to respond daily. Thank you!

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37 thoughts on “About Me

  1. JR

    Hey Paul, which specialty pharmacist gets paid the most? Oncology, pediatrics, cardiology, industry, consultant, ID…? Please elaborate.
    Thanks a lot.
    JR.

    Reply
    1. ThePharmacistBlog Post author

      Specialties generally will pay slighter more than a general pharmacist at this current time. As time progresses I expect specialities salary to grow at a much faster rate than general pharmacists (just a guess, no evidence or data to back up this claim). It is hard to say which specialty is most compensated. There is a lot of variables to take into account such as geographic location of the job, years of experience, certifications, demand, and the type of employer.

      Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Hi Paul

    i found your blog through youtube. I am a pharmacist transitioning from retail to hospital setting and I have an interview coming soon at a particular hospital. Would you know what kind of question I should ask the interviewer to increase my chance getting hired?

    Reply
    1. ThePharmacistBlog Post author

      There are many things you can ask about. If you have any particular interest in a specific area in the hospital that you want to learn. Ask them about training in that area and you want to specialize in it. Ask about pharmacy protocols and what clinical things pharmacists can do. Ask about precepting students and residents. Ask about how pharmacists are playing a role in hospital reimbursement with the affordable care act involved now. Ask about medication reconciliation if they are doing that. Those are just some ideas. Good luck

      Reply
  3. Abimael

    Hey Paul,

    I have been watching your videos and they have been of great help. I am wondering why you always say “Eat your vegetables” at the end of your videos. Is there a story behind it? You should make a Vlog!

    Thanks,
    Abimael

    Reply
    1. ThePharmacistBlog Post author

      That is a good question. Maybe I’ll make a VLOG about it, thanks for the idea and stopping by

      Reply
  4. Maxima

    Hey Paul,

    Just found your blog and it has been integral in my consideration of pursuing a PharmD.

    I’m a career changer – I have a Bachelors in Economics (GPA: 3.0) and a Masters in Finance (GPA: 3.9) and have been working in the financial services industry (corporate/private banking) for the past 3 years. I’ve always wanted to make an impact (yes, the cliche “help people” answer) and I’m just not getting that feeling of satisfaction by being a financial leech (fees, fees, more fees!)

    I’m very interested in the pharmacist career path, but given my age (27 going on 28), would this be a prudent choice? I still have some loans from undergrad/masters (40k) and I don’t want to be add 80-100k more in student loans when I graduate at age 34 IF the payoff isn’t worth it.

    Will the transition be difficult for me given my very different background? I know I’ll have to take the prereqs (probably at a community college), but after graduating would it be possible to get a job since I’m older and don’t have as much experience?

    Reply
    1. ThePharmacistBlog Post author

      Hi Maxima,

      This is definitely a tough choice on your part due to the extra debt you would accrue if you pursue this career change. If I were you I would calculate a rough estimate as how long it would take to get to the break even point. As you mentioned you would be 34 years old when you graduate and an extra 100k in debt in addition to the 6 years of lost income (benefits/retirement matching/investment capital gains ect…)? Then you would also calculate 100-140k/year as a pharmacist and you probably end up breaking even around 10+ years later? If not more years depending on your current income. You would be 44 years old at the break even point. This would be the pros/cons I would weigh if I were you.

      Also take into consideration the market conditions for where you want to practice: http://pharmacymanpower.com/usstatemap.jsp
      The link is a map of the United States and gives you an idea of market conditions for pharmacists. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  5. Anonymous

    I am planning to work in a Pharmaceutical manufacturing industry later.. Will PharmD help me in that? Does it include basics of how to make medicines, formulate, compound them? Or is it completely clinical and hospital based? What do you suggest..

    Reply
    1. ThePharmacistBlog Post author

      I do not know much about this area of pharmacy. In pharmacy school there is only 1 class and it is very brief with learning how to compound medications. If you want to further specialize in compounding you can work in private own ones and learn from experienced compounding pharmacists. I believe you can also take courses or learn from the PCCA (http://www.pccarx.com). Hope this helps

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        I’ve heard about another degree called a bachelors in pharmaceutical sciences.. would that be better?

        basically, i want to know how to make medicines. formulate them. after doing the pharmd, will it prepare me for that? basic making of medicines and formulation? please help me out! i have to apply for my course this month

        Reply
  6. kebby

    Hi Paul, I’m currently a student at WSU, and this is my second year trying to complete the pre reqs, and I’m wondering about any advantages to getting a full bachelors degree before applyng to Pharmacy school. I know it’s not required to have a Bachelors degree to enter Pharmacy school and that you could get in with just taking the pre-requisites they look for, but is there any real advantage to getting a BS (Bachelor of Science degree) before Pharmacy School or will a BS be useless once you get your Pharm D anyway?

    I’m currently just taking the necessary pre-reqs but Pharmacy is the plan so I’m not sure if I should use my credits toward a BS degree or if I should just focus on going straight to Pharmacy school once my pre-reqs are all done.

    I’ve heard that getting a bachelors once you know you want to be a pharmacist is useless because your Pharm D is a professional degree anyway. I’ve also heard that applicants with a BS are more likely to get into some pharmacy schools, but it still isn’t required once you’ve taken the necessary pre-reqs. (ie, you can get good grades in your pre-reqs and a good scores on the PCAT and still be a competitive applicant.)

    Reply
    1. ThePharmacistBlog Post author

      I personally recommend to attack pre reqs first and apply ASAP. The bachelors degree is pretty much useless unless it is an engineering degree or something more specific that is required to get a job. General science bachelor degrees are pretty much useless. I wrote a little about this in one of my blog posts. Good luck!

      Reply
  7. Kimberly

    Hey Paul, I’m currently a P1 student at Mercer. In my mind I really wanna be a clinical pharmacist, but what I’ve heard from the professors and the student organizations so far, it’s very tough to get in residency. I’m very shy and quiet person. All the clinical professors at my school always recommend leaderships, research, networking….all the extracurricular stuffs that I’m always scared. Do you have any tips for me? my first semester is not going well even though everybody said P1 is the easiest year (I totally believe them). I’m trying to pick myself up next semester and see how far I can do. What was your GPA when you graduated? (if you don’t mind me asking), what other extracurricular activities that you’d done,and why do you think you didn’t match? What would you have done differently if you could go back to your pharmacy school again?

    Reply
    1. ThePharmacistBlog Post author

      Hi Kim,

      You just gotta figure out what works best for you during pharmacy school. Yeah I would recommend doing a few things just to have on your resume but overall GPA will get you that residency interview. I think to be competitive you want your GPA to be 3.5 or higher. Most residencies will have a minimum of 3.0 to even be considered. Also many residencies accept students based on personality and how that individual would fit within the pharmacy department. It also depends on your goals as a pharmacist and what you want out of the residency, because each program is different in what it offers. Good luck!

      Reply
  8. Kyle H

    Hey Paul, I am a senior at Airport High School in Michigan. I have to interview someone for a senior project we have to do. Doing something pharmacy related I thought it would be cool to get your opinion, its only about 10 questions I have to ask. If you could shoot me an email, that would be very much appreciated. Thanks much -Kyle (kyle12851@hotmail.com)

    Reply
  9. Tran

    Paul, this is quite the coincidence! I discovered you on youtube about a year ago and really liked your videos. I only realized today that you also have an active blog; wish I had found out sooner. I’m in my senior year of undergrad at the UW, majoring in physiology. I’m planning on taking a gap year to get more experience as a pharm asisstant before applying, as well as studying for the PCAT. Anyways, I thought I’d say hi and thank you for providing us with all of these very informative tips! If you were ever on the main parts of campus (of UW 2011-12) where all the first and second yr undergrads have classes, we might have walked past each other at some point! It’s a small world.

    Reply
    1. ThePharmacistBlog Post author

      Yeah it is a small world. There have been several times when people come up to me and say they watch my YouTube videos. It is pretty crazy. In 2011-12 I was mostly doing my rotations so I wasn’t on campus very often. But maybe we did haha. Thanks for supporting the blog and videos 🙂

      Reply
  10. Michelle

    Hi Paul,
    I ‘m considering applying for pharmacy school, but I’m a little hesitant. I have a degree in biochemistry but went into military service after college. I was in for about 5 years then got out. I’ve been really out of the academic loop for a while. I’m concerned about where to get recommendations or what the applications committee will think when they see I’ve been out of school for so long? For example, most schools I look at recommend having taken prereqs within the past five years. Did you go to pharmacy school with anyone who was in a similar situation?

    Reply
    1. ThePharmacistBlog Post author

      There were older students in my class. I believe the oldest was probably early 50s but I have no idea when these older students took their courses. Honestly if it is only “recommended” I would still try and apply. You got nothing to lose except for them to tell you that you have to retake your classes. But to avoid wasting time and money I would ask the school directly if you have to take the courses over. Just explain your study of why it has been so long since you have taken those courses.

      Reply
  11. Danielle

    In your “pharmacy experience before pharmacy school” you mentioned a pharmacy assistant license but I did what and i saw no mention of pharmacy assistant only pharmacy technician.m Does pharmacy assistants not exist in florida?

    Reply
    1. ThePharmacistBlog Post author

      I just visited DOH for Florida and don’t see it either. Seems like Florida does not have pharmacy assistants from what I can tell. I would talk to some pharmacies nearby and ask them if they have assistants or if there are any licenses you need to actually volunteer or work in the pharmacy.

      Reply
  12. zhenniren

    Hi, Paul
    I just found out your blog. it is awesome
    I am currently biology major and pharmacy-intended.
    I did not know if i really like Pharmacy or not i want to explore.
    but you talked about networking. how can i start networking? is that mean i need to be good friend with somebody or something? i honestly dont have those networking but i dont know how to start. for example, if i want to ask people who are in retail pharamcy store, how can i ask them and i doubt they will want to share it with me.

    Reply
    1. ThePharmacistBlog Post author

      Yes networking is very important. All the jobs I have received in my life have been through networking. I would say up to this point at 28 years old I have had at least 10 jobs starting at the age of 14 years old.

      1st thing is try to volunteer in the healthcare field and specifically pharmacy if possible. Hospitals are usually willing to have some volunteers. Talk to pharmacy school programs in your area, they may be able to provide you with more resources. Ask your friends and family if anybody knows a pharmacist that can help you out. Don’t be afraid to ask, worst thing is they can say no. You move on, no big deal! Also you can even try to go to pharmacy conferences or meetings. I would check out your states pharmacy association website to see if they have any events going on that you can attend and just meet people.

      Good luck!

      Reply
  13. John

    Hi Paul
    You make great videos! I’m starting my P1 year in 2 months. I watched your video on provider status but I still dont get how its HUGE news for pharmacists. You mentioned that PharmDs will be able to “bill for their services”. Does that mean that pharmacists can charge EXTRA for consultation? Or does it only count towards the salary? Can you please explain to me what it really means? Thank you very much.

    Reply
    1. ThePharmacistBlog Post author

      It is still early in the game for exactly how it will affect the pharmacist profession. But from my understanding is that now insurance companies are forced to pay pharmacists in the state of Washington for different types of services as mentioned in my video. Other states such as California that have also implemented pharmacist provider status but the law does not mention anything about reimbursement. In Washington’s law they mention that pharmacist must be reimbursed at the same rate as other providers. That is the big news.

      I don’t believe it will affect pharmacist salaries in anyway but will hopefully create a new income stream into the profession that will create more jobs. Hopefully that helps.

      Reply
  14. hiddencyclist

    hey paul. I’ve been taking healthcare prereq’s for 3 years now and was originally planning on taking the pcat in the fall until I heard about the supersaturation of the market. two of my solutions, one of them is either going into another healthcare field that my prerequisites fill, or finding a way to guarantee myself a job in the pharmacy field after i graduate. What would you say are the biggest tips that you would say would be able to help me do that? I could work on either flexibility or competency.

    Reply
    1. ThePharmacistBlog Post author

      If you have a good network in pharmacy already, you should be able to find a job fairly easily. Now if you don’t know a single person in pharmacy, that will be tough. Example: I know some technicians where they have many family members as pharmacists so they already have a big network they can call upon if they are looking for jobs, especially if they have family members in high level management positions.

      I would look on “indeed.com” and search pharmacist for your area and count how many open pharmacist positions are available. Then search your next healthcare profession you are considering and see how many positions that has. There is no easy answer to your question but that should give you a better idea what to expect.

      Reply
  15. Sara

    Hi Paul,
    I’m currently a senior in college in the process of applying to pharmacy schools. From interning, I gained a lot of experience in pharmacy (community, hospital, and research with drug design) and became very interested in it. However, I’m also aware that pharmacy is one of the more high-risk healthcare career paths due to the saturation. I am very fortunate to not have to take out loans for undergrad or pharmacy school, so it does give me much more of an advantage to be able to risk those low-paying years of PGY1/PGY2 to become a more competitive applicant in a hospital setting. However, I cannot help but be extremely concerned by the saturation and no law implemented to stop opening up more pharmacy schools.

    Which brings me to my question: Given that most of the country (I’m from Virginia) does not have provider status, do still you see any room for growth in pharmacy outside of the realm of having provider status? Because of the saturation and having to raise the bar for pharmacy as a whole, have more competitive applicants necessarily been getting better positions?

    Reply
  16. Lena

    Hello Paul,

    My name is Lena and I am currently in the process of applying to the University of Washington, specifically to study geriatric pharmacy. Could you share some pros and cons about your position working in long term care?

    Reply
  17. Jake

    Paul,
    I noticed that during the time you started pursuing pharmacy, it was something you’d pursue if you wanted job mobility, easy pickings, and high pay. Seeing how quickly the field got saturated (past ~5 years?) and none these things exist anymore after you graduated, would you still have pursued pharmacy?
    I’m an undergraduate student with a competitive GPA (3.5+), and like the jobs in hospital pharmacy more than other healthcare fields for those that do end up in a good place but due to the saturation, I’ve been worried about banking my future job mostly on luck with networking and the law changing (provider status). I’m also worried about the pay for pharmacists going down due to decreasing demand due to increasing saturation, is this definitely a possibility? I’m not very knowledgeable about economics, but have been really trying to understand the job market lately.

    Reply
  18. Susan

    Paul,

    Oh my! You’re the guy on Youtube vlogging about apply to pharmacy school! I remembered watching you back in 2011 when I was applying and I was always thankful for the tips! Now I’m in my 4th year of pharmacy school and about to graduate next May!

    Just wanted to say thank you!

    Reply
  19. Andrew Pentis

    Hello Paul,

    My name is Andrew, and I’m a reporter covering careers. I’m putting together a few articles about the career of a pharmacist and would love to interview you. Could you email andrew(at)valuepenguin.com at your earlier convenience?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  20. Kevin

    Hey Paul,

    Nice to see a pharmacy blog/website/discussion that isn’t all negative, doom and gloom. I’ve just been accepted into a pharmacy school and after being on SDN (the worse) and the r/prepharmacy subreddit my joy of being accepted into a program that I have been working towards the last 3 yrs plus not thinking I’d have a chance due to UG mistakes (in a non-health science major but since a BS affected my GPA calculations in PHARMCAS) has slowly been sucked out. I felt accomplished, proud, and lucky to be going to pharmacy school but after reading posts of anyone can get into pharmacy these days, the profession is slowly eroding, and etc, etc, etc I’ve felt a little down.

    My question for you though is, I noticed you didn’t do a residency? Now that hospitals, at least in my area are pushing for this requirement, are you concerned that you might be pushed out by those who have been through a residency? I’d also like to become a the best candidate on paper so that I can get an interview and really shine where I excel at, which is interactions. What are the basics of a qualified CV in your opinion? I’ve seen your post of having >3.5, leadership roles, experience through working while school. Am I missing anything else?

    Reply
  21. Pietro

    Hi Paul,

    i’m an italian pharmacist. I would like to work in us(i love florida).
    How can i do? I know that i have to pass naplex. Do you have some informations for foreign pharmacists?

    Thank you so much. Your blog is great !!

    Pietro

    Reply

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