Alternative titles for this job include Dispensing chemist, community pharmacist, hospital pharmacist

Pharmacists provide expert advice on the use and supply of medicines and medical appliances.

Average salary (a year)

£31,365 Starter


£44,503 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37.5 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on a rota

How to become

How to become a pharmacist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course


You'll need to complete:

If you do not have the qualifications to get onto a MPharm degree, you could do a 2-year pharmacy foundation degree. You would then take a job as a pharmacy assistant or technician and apply for the MPharm degree in your second year.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • at least 1 A level, or equivalent, for a foundation degree
  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including chemistry

More Information

More Information


Further information

You'll find more on pharmacy careers and training from Health Careers and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

What it takes

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • customer service skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • maths knowledge
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to read English
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

What you’ll do

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your tasks will depend on which area of pharmacy you work in. In this role you could:

  • dispense medicines in a community pharmacy, hospital or a GP practice clinic
  • give healthcare advice about prescription and over-the-counter medicines
  • advise on drug dosages and risks, to the public, patients, GPs and nurses
  • run screening programmes for diabetes, cholesterol or blood pressure
  • visit care homes or hospital wards to advise on the use and storage of medications
  • order and controlling stock
  • run a business, including supervising and training staff
  • produce medicines when ready-made ones aren't available, for example, cancer treatments
  • buy, quality test and distribute medicines throughout a hospital
  • supervise trainees and junior pharmacists

In education or industry, you could:

  • do research into new medicines
  • run clinical trials

Working environment

You could work at a store, in an NHS or private hospital or at an adult care home.

Career path and progression

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.

You could join the armed forces as a pharmacist. You can find out more at:

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.

Current opportunities

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a pharmacist right now.

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Courses In England

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Jobs In the United Kingdom

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