Dentistry, pharmacy or radiography?(24 Posts)
DD (17) has always wanted to be a dentist. She did well in her GCSEs, she got 10, all As and A*s, but has come down a lot in her AS exams, a mixture of between A to D and even a U in one module . She did work hard for the exams and was very upset with the results, and is going to resit quite a few papers next year.
The school has told us that dentistry is out as she won't get any offers because of her AS results, so she is now talking about radiography. She has considered pharmacy in the past too. She has this idea that pharmacy is boring, but I know pharmacists who love what they do.
Does anyone have experience of these courses and careers? I don't know enough about them to advise her. I would like to know if there are actually jobs at the end of the degrees, if there is good career progression, and if dentists, pharmacists and radiographers enjoy their jobs or do they wish they'd done something else.
She could possibly do graduate entry dentistry or medicine after her initial degree, but that is way into the future!
I have no knowledge on those careers either I'm afraid, but although many pharmacists and radiologists love their jobs, it's what your dd thinks about those careers that counts, and if she doesn't fancy them there's no point in doing them.
On the other hand she needs to decide from a position on knowledge - so can she get in touch with any hospitals and shadow any pharmacists or radiologists for a week?
Alternatively work like buggery and get her A levels up to scratch and apply for dentistry once she has her results, assuming they're good enough.
She's shadowed quite a few dentists as that was what she originally wanted to do. Now it seems that isn't possible, so she's getting in touch with radiographers, luckily we know a few! I would like her to just have a look at pharmacy too. One of her friends is doing pharmacy in university and finds it boring, but I'm sure the job isn't boring. I've also tried to explain to her that in most jobs, there will be boring bits or parts that you don't like. It's not all excitement all day long even in a dream job!
I just don't want her to do a degree and find that there are no jobs at the end of it. This is why I need advice about the different career paths.
Would she take a year out and consider applying once she hs her a levels?
The tuition fees are currently paid in radiography. Newly qualified band 5 jobs are also plentiful, in fact lots of trusts are struggling to recruit.
The mid-career pharmacists and dentists I know either hate their jobs or are brain-dead.
I am a pharmacist and did not recommend it as a career to DS or DD. The problem is that there are a limited number of employers so career progression can be difficult and a lot of people leave the profession after qualifying.
Hospital pharmacy is not brilliantly paid at the lower levels but has more potential to achieve higher posts although there are very few of them. It is probably more mentally demanding and challenging as there is a lot of clinical input, a clinical diploma is essential to get off the lowest grades and some then go on to become prescribers in their own right.
Community pharmacy is better paid to start off with but there is less progression, you hit your standard salary quite quickly after qualifying but, for most pharmacists, that then stays at that sort of level for most of your career. Clinical diplomas are not essential and not many prescribe. Some combine this with management in companies like Boots, Co-Op, etc but all of these companies are there to make a profit so salaries are not great. When I first qualified many retail pharmacists had an ambition to own their own shops but the big chains have bought a lot up and pushed prices so high that is no longer an option for most
Apparently in the next few years we will begin to see more pharmacists than jobs too so, overall, I would say don't do it unless she has a burning desire for it
I've worked in hospital pharmacy and found it very dynamic. Never a dull moment! It's a very responsible role and I would liken it to medicine without the "hands on" aspect. Community pharmacy is a totally different role and never really appealed to me TBH.
You need to be very detail oriented and precise in your work habits. Helps if you have a really good grasp on chemistry and maths.
I had to give it up for health reasons and I really miss it. On that note--another point is that you spend most of the day on your feet. Guess that's true of most healthcare type jobs--radiology too. It's something that never occured to me when I was (young) training.
I trained as a radiographer for a while (2 years) and it's a fairly demanding course. Career progression is good, as people can branch out into ultrasound etc. There's 2 different courses though, therapeutic (so radiotherapy) and diagnostic. She can call the local x ray department and do a few days work experience. The course I was on wouldn't allow me to join until I'd done this. It's not a boring job, but you do find that you're taking perfectly normal x rays of the same body bits for most of the day, which can be dull. I didn't mind though as you never know.
ladysybil is right work experience is very important for radiography applications-however a lot of departments like the candidate to be over 17.5 years due to ionising radiation regulations. Work experience can still be undertaken but is generally limited to procedures that do not involve live fluoroscopy (real time X-rays).
I don't know where you live OP but our large local hospital (south coast) is undertaking a hospital wide open day which includes the x-ray department as well as other specialities which might equally interest your DD and fuel her career ambitions.
Thank you everyone, that's really interesting information. Lots of things to think about.
What subjects is she doing?
What attracted her to dentistry? Would a career as maxillofacial prosthetist or a dental technician suit?
What about a dental therapist? They do much of what a dentist does and it is more varied than a hygienist.
She's unlikely to get an offer for pharmacy without at least AAB predictions at A'level. The better schools expect AAA as a minimum and some are even moving to offers with A*. My previous school also rejected any applicants who were also medicine or dentistry candidates. They also received 5 applications for every place on the course.
It is a very good degree, with lots of options for future career choices, including research, but competition is fierce these days.
If you want more info on pharmacy applications/degree etc feel free to pm me.
I know this May be an unpopular suggestion but what about nursing?
There is so much variety within nursing compared to other health related professions in my opinion
Also I know quite a few nurses who have gone on to do medicine.
The other groups of people in health who seem to enjoy it and have a degree of variety are the OTs and speech and language therapists.
Well, there are lots of careers in the medical-related sphere out there... what is it she particularly likes about dentistry I wonder? Maybe if she unpicks that she'll find some alternatives?
I have the sort of A-levels you could use for medicine, but decided I wasn't enough of a people person to do that, and have done interesting stuff in drug research (before the death knell of SAHMing).
I also have a near-phobia of saliva and snot which ruled out dentistry .
Before I applied to uni I toyed with the idea of pharmacy as I worked as a dispensing technician. but yes u agree the pharmacists job looked boring (retail pharmacy). I decided to study radiography and I'm now a qualified radiographer. There are a lot of jobs in radiography and a many opportunities to specialise in various areas. There is a higher need for medical imaging which continues to increase so I would find it hard to belive that radiographers are struggling to find jobs. I graduated in 2012 and my first job was on a graduate scheme for a private company who have trained me in MRI. I now work for them as a senior radiographer. I Have noticed that there seems to be a shortage of MRI trained radiographers and have been made aware of many opportunities for locum work with great financial benefits. I also recently seen an advert for radiographers to work in Australia either on a permanent basis or for a shorter period of time with the opportunity to go traveling (they pay for flights and accommodation! !). there's also the opportunity to work in research. so I do very strongly recommend radiography.
also with your radiography degree you can fast track into medicine by skipping the first year of the medical degree.
However I would just like to add that I didn't go to university until I was 22. I wasn't a high achiever at school for various personal reasons. If your dd has her heart set on dentistry then maybe she could consider taking an extra year to improve her grades and applying to university again in a year?
I know someone who is a radiographer. From her reports I don't think her course was very good (PM me for details if you would like, i wouldn't recommend anyone to choose that course if they could avoid it). However, she got through it, got the first job she applied for, enjoys it and has as much work as she can handle. I would base course applications on the hospital she would like to work at, as the placements for radiography seem to be long and many end up working at the hospital at which they were placed as a student.
Just caught up with this thread today!
Thanks, Natdee that is helpful. She seems really excited about radiography now. We are keeping in mind the chance of graduate entry dentistry in the future. Unfortunately she can't take an extra year for A levels, as dentistry courses won't take anyone who has done this.
Thank you Meandjulio, I will PM you.
I know a boy with stellar A levels and dentistry work experience. He didn't even get an interview for dentistry. Took a year out and reapplied, same result. He's doing biomedical sciences now.
My niece works as a dental asst & hygienist, loves her job.
I'm a radiographer! I think it's a good job, by and large, though the entire ethos of the NHS is changing so fast one's terms and conditions are also constantly changing.
As someone upthread has said, you can go into privately owned, NHS scanning MRI; personally, and with respect, I'd find that a bit boring on a daily basis! I am a CT and MRI radiographer but in a mad-house DGH . The thing about a job like mine is that it's very fast moving, ever changing, you're thinking on your feet all the time, risk-assessing, decision making; you're interacting with so many different types of people from one minute to the next; it can be messy and physically demanding; once you hit 50 (!) the call outs at 2am aren't so much fun...
But there are ever widening career progressions you can now follow like getting into reporting, all sorts of management; specialisation like neuro or cardiac or ultrasound- or you can do plain radiography. Whilst people get ill, you'll never be out of a job, though I'd be a bit wary of the Australian offers- if they can't find an Aussie to do the job, it'll be in some one-horse town in the Outback! (I worked in Oz for 15 years...)
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