Pharmacy Careers Information

If you're interested in science and healthcare, and like helping others, a career in pharmacy could be for you!

What do you need for a career in pharmacy? How can you get started? And what different areas can pharmacists specialise in?

The answers are all below!

And if you're giving a talk about pharmacy at schools or careers fairs, we have some helpful links to resources and our own pharmacy careers leaflet.

  1. How do I become a pharmacist?
  2. What qualifications do I need to become a pharmacist?
  3. What personal skills should I have?
  4. What's the pay like?
  5. What can I do with a pharmacy degree?
  6. Materials for teachers & careers advisors

1. How do I become a pharmacist?

Experts in medicines, pharmacists play a key role in improving the health of the nation, and ensuring patient safety. No wonder that pharmacy is one of the fastest growing areas of healthcare!

Pharmacists are experts in medicines and their use: they train as scientists and clinicians and have a unique set of skills and knowledge. Using this scientific knowledge they advise patients on how to take medicines and recommend the best medicine for particular conditions and diseases.

The third largest healthcare profession in Great Britain, pharmacists work in many different settings, developing new medicines, supplying medicines, providing advice about medicines, and offering health services.

Some pharmacists are also prescribers, and like doctors can prescribe medicines on prescriptions. They also work within the wider healthcare team, ensuring that patients receive the best possible care.

Other roles: Pharmacists also work in other roles with less direct contact with patients, for example, in universities, regulation, government organisations, research, publishing and the pharmaceutical industry.

Your skills: Pharmacists need excellent communication skills to translate technical medical information to patients, and because they often work in busy environments must be organised, logical, able to manage multiple tasks and remain calm under pressure. They have a good eye for detail and are thorough and accurate in what they do.

Pharmacists work in teams and are often involved in education and training others, so good people skills are essential, too.

2. What qualifications do I need to become a pharmacist?

School or college

You'll need GCSE’s or National 5s in:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Chemistry
  • and at least one other science.

Then, A-levels at A-B grade in:

  • Chemistry
  • and two of Biology/Mathematics/Physics.

Highers in Chemistry, Maths, English, Physics, and Biology/Human Biology. You may also be expected to take Advanced Highers in Chemistry and/or Biology.


Each university may have slightly different entry requirements, so we always advise checking specific requirements with any potential universities.

Registration as a pharmacist

  • To register with the regulator, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), you'll also need to complete one year's practical training placement and pass the registration exam.

3. What personal skills should I have?

You should: 

  • Have an analytical mind and pay great attention to detail
  • Be friendly and like people
  • Have good communication skills and be able to explain things simply.

4. What's the pay like?

Although we can't advise on exact salary figures, a quick survey shows that as a qualified pharmacist you could probably expect a starting salary equivalent to around £30,000 to £35,000 depending on the area of pharmacy you choose to work in.

After 10 years you could expect to be earning between £45,000 to £65,00, possibly more depending on seniority and your level of responsibility.

Pharmacy technicians could expect a starting salary equivalent to around £13,000 to £15,000 rising to £25,000 to £30,000 after 10 years.

5. What can I do with a pharmacy degree?

You've got your pharmacy degree, what now?

27 Cross

As a valued health professional, after five years of study and training you’ll find many doors open to you and a career that offers security, flexibility, variety, opportunity, satisfaction and excellent rewards.

Pharmacists’ roles are constantly evolving and new roles are now emerging in exciting areas of healthcare. Many of the experiences and skills you develop in practice can be transferred to other pharmacy environments and roles.

Portfolio careers straddle several sectors of the profession. As a pharmacist, around 80% of your skills are transferable and the other 20% can be learned and adapted for new roles. 

Today, as your career develops, it's common to have a job in more than one area of pharmacy, either working part-time in different places or moving through different sectors.

As new and more clinical roles evolve, the world of pharmacy is moving away from working in silos and in defined pharmacy sectors, and towards a more generic approach.

Different roles in pharmacy

6. Materials for teachers & careers advisors

We've produced a leaflet for students aged 13-17 years who are interested in a career in pharmacy.

And if you're speaking at local schools or careers fairs, the NHS has some excellent pharmacy careers resources for use in England, Scotland, and Wales.