Biochemistry and pharmacy which is better? biochemistry vs pharmacy in Nigeria
BETWEEN #BIOCHEMISTRY AND #PHARMACY, WHICH IS BETTER?
Biochemistry is a branch of science that deals with the chemical processes within and outside of living things. Biochemistry is a laboratory based science that combines biology and chemistry. It is a paramedical course. You can study biochemistry in the university in two forms: (1) Medical Biochemistry (2) Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry (BSc. Biochemistry). The course spans for 4 years.
Pharmacy is the clinical health science that links medicine with chemistry and it is charged with the discovery, production, disposal, safe and effective use and control of medications and drugs. You can study Pharmacy in the university and receive a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree (B.Pharm) after 5 years of study in the university.
Pertaining to ease of admission it is easier to gain admission into the university to study Biochemistry than pharmacy even if you fall short of the cut-off mark specified by the university.
Biochemists work as analysts and professionals in institutions and industries such as Hospitals, Food industry, Oil companies, FMCG’s, Quality control agencies and the energy sector. Biochemists also work in the education sector. This sector has the highest number of biochemists in service in both secondary schools and Tertiary institutions as Biochemists are very versatile and can teach a relatively high amount of subjects and courses.
As a pharmacist, you can work in community pharmacies, Hospitals, Clinics, Extended care facilities, Psychiatric hospitals, and regulatory agencies. As a pharmacist you can also work in locum while looking for the perfect job for yourself which is an edge pharmacists have over Biochemists and biological science professionals in general.
Compared to Pharmacists, Biochemists have a wider range of career opportunities. As a graduate of biochemistry you be fixed in all types of jobs including academics.
Biochemistry’s field of research, study and practice you can get into are really diverse especially if you are interested in biological sciences with areas of research such as Tumor biology and microRNA research. Biochemistry graduates can also further their studies by having masters in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology after your first degree in Biochemistry (Pharmacy students can do this also).
Pharmacy is a plethora of other subjects ranging from anatomy and physiology to pathophysiology and medicinal chemistry to pharmacognosy. There is no doubt that Pharmacy has a higher reputation than Biochemistry as a course and in society but this also depends largely on institution and context. But both Pharmacists and Biochemists have very similar work places and perform very similar operations. Biochemists are also in competition with every other biological science graduate.
This is perhaps where the difference between Pharmacy and Biochemistry are most evident. It should be noted that there is a huge difference in the private and government pay for both Pharmacists and Biochemists. The average salaries of Biochemists are; As a fresh graduate of Biochemistry, your average salary is about 150,000 per month, as an intermediate biochemist you’ll earn about N300,0000 per month while a graduate of biochemistry with at least 15 years of experience earns about 600,000 per month.
However in government hospitals biochemists averagely earn about 120,000-180,000 while those in private hospitals earn about N50,000-N120,000 depending on level and experience. As a fresh graduate of Pharmacy, your average salary is about N75,000- N100,000 in a private institution while in a government institution your average salary would be around N165,000- N200,000. As a mid-level Pharmacist in a private institution your salary would be around N150,000- N250,000 while in a government institution, your average salary would be around N250,000- N450,000. As an experienced Pharmacist in a private institution, you would earn about N200,000- N400,000 averagely while in a government institution you would earn about #450,000- #800,000 on the average.
Both courses are solid but if you are driven by passion for the biological sciences and have an aversion for Chemistry and Formulation sciences the Biochemistry is the way to go. But if you are more interested in job prospects and considering the current economic climate then Pharmacy is a no-brainer.
Shyllon Olayinka Enoch, Undergraduate student of Biochemistry at Obafemi Awolowo University.
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