Pharmacists are responsible for the safe supply of drugs and medicine to the general public, this could be in hospitals, pharmacies and doctors surgeries. They will provide expert advice, compare compatibility with other drugs the patient is taking, check the dosage and give advice to customers on minor illnesses or ailments.
To become a pharmacist you will need to complete:
- 4-year Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree approved by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)
- 1-year pre-registration training course in a pharmacy
- pass a registration exam
If you don't have the qualifications to get onto an MPharm degree, you could do a 2-year pharmacy foundation degree. You could then take a job as a pharmacy assistant or technician and apply for the MPharm degree directly in year two.
Entry requirements for your degree course are usually:
- 4 or 5 GCSE's at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent including English, maths and science
- at least 1 A level or equivalent for a foundation degree
- 2 or 3 A levels or equivalent including chemistry for a degree
Career Path and Progression
There's a formal career structure in the NHS, so with experience you could progress to team manager or pharmacy consultant. You could also work in GPs’ surgeries or health centres.
Promotion opportunities can be good if you're working for one of the larger pharmacy chains where you can apply for regional or national management positions.
With experience, you could set up your own community pharmacy business.
After further training, you could go on to teach pharmacy students at university.
Another option is to move into related areas like scientific journalism or publishing.
To do research, you'll need a further postgraduate qualification in a subject like toxicology or pharmacology.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society offers professional support services.
Related careers you may be interested in:
- Pharmacy technician
- Good communication skills
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- Strong mathematical skills
- Accuracy and attention to detail
- A logical approach to problem solving
- An interest in the health and well being of others
- The ability to train and supervise other members of staff
£24,000 to £47,000