UT Pharmacy “Defying” Trend of Difficult Job Market

Until 2006, UT had the only pharmacy school in the state. Now there are six.

Until 2006, UT had the only pharmacy school in the state. Now there are six.

Tennessee’s oldest school of pharmacy claims to be having an easier time than others finding jobs for its graduates. On commencement day, 86 percent of students had accepted job offers or postdoctoral positions.

Three pharmacy schools in Tennessee graduated their first classes this year, and there’s been concern among pharmacists about finding jobs for all of them.

Some of the newer colleges of pharmacy have been slower to publicize* placement figures. UT – which had the only program in the state until recently – says it’s “defying” the trend.

Marie Chisholm-Burns is the new dean of UT's pharmacy school, which is based in Memphis.

Marie Chisholm-Burns is the new dean of UT’s pharmacy school, which is based in Memphis.

Marie Chisholm-Burns is the dean and credits UT’s affiliation with multiple hospitals in Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville.

“It’s a combined prescription, if you will. We have tradition and longevity, combined with opportunities.”

While UT Pharmacy grads are finding work, Chisholm-Burns says they have had similar experiences to those from other schools. Because baby boomers held onto their jobs during the recession, many have had to find work outside the role of a traditional community pharmacist in areas like healthcare IT or clinical trials.

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As of April 30, Belmont University reported a 71 percent placement rate of its inaugural class of pharmacists. Lipscomb University, which began its pharmacy school the same year, says in a statement that current stats “would not be representative” of the ultimate job placement figures. Union University also has not released employment numbers.

*In the original version of this story, WPLN incorrectly lumped Belmont in with schools that have been slower than UT to publicize placement rates. We regret the error.

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