(Dispensing chemist, community pharmacist, hospital pharmacist)
Pharmacists provide expert advice on the use and supply of medicines and medical appliances.
- 4 Year Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree approved by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC);
- 1-year pre-registration training course in a pharmacy;
- 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 into year two.
If you don’t have science A levels, you could do a 5 year course at a few universities.
Pharmacists have a highly responsible job, dispensing drugs and checking prescriptions according to strict controls. You’ll need the following skills:
- abilities in science and maths;
- very high standards of accuracy and attention to detail;
- excellent customer care and communication skills;
- organisational skills and ability to prioritise work;
- business skills (if you’re running a community pharmacy).
- dispensing medicines in a high street or supermarket pharmacy
- giving healthcare advice about prescription and over-the-counter medicines;
- advising on drug dosages and risks;
- running screening programmes for diabetes, cholesterol or blood pressure;
- visiting care homes to advise on the use and storage of medications;
- ordering and controlling stock;
- running a business, including supervising and training staff.
- working with doctors and nurses and other healthcare staff;
- producing medicines when ready-made ones aren’t available, for example, cancer treatments;
- buying, quality testing and distributing medicines throughout the hospital;
- visiting wards and patients to talk about medicines and dosages;
- dispensing medicines for patients being discharged from hospital;
- supervising trainees and junior pharmacists.
Local NHS Service:
- giving advice to GPs and nurses on how to choose and prescribe medicines;
- running GP practice clinics.
Education or Industry:
- doing research into new medicines;
- running clinical trials.
In all of the above roles, you’ll observe high standards of security and confidentiality.
- Starter: £26,500.
- Experienced: £32,000 to £41,000.
- Highly Experienced: £41,000 to £83,000.
These figures are taken from NHS pay grades. In a community pharmacy, salaries can be similar.
- You’ll usually work 37.5 hours a week, including weekends and on call. As a community pharmacist, you could work up to 48 hours a week in a retail location.
- As a hospital pharmacist, you might work in the NHS or at a private hospital.