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)

£32,305 Starter


£45,838 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

38 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on a rota

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

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 to enter the MPharm degree in its 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

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

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

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

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 pharmacy, hospital or a GP practice clinic
  • give 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 hospitals to advise on the use and storage of medications
  • order and control stock
  • run a business, including supervising and training staff
  • 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 in an NHS or private hospital, at a GP practice, at a university, at a store or at a research facility.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

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. Salaries in the private sector are similar to the NHS but can be higher.

There are opportunities to work as a pharmacist in the military. You can find out more from: Defence Medical Services.

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 continuous professional development support.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

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

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Access to HE - Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Science - Full L3

  • Start date: 18 September 2023
  • Location: Welwyn Garden City

Access to Higher Education Diploma: Pharmacy and Bio-Medical Sciences

  • Start date: 11 September 2023
  • Location: Stamore

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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