How do you become a pharmacist?

THE midwinter flu season is underway with Brits and coughing and sneezing their way through the day.

January also sees peak pressure on GPs and hospital admissions, so the NHS is encouraging families to make the most of their local pharmacy.

Pharmacists play an importnat role in the community


Pharmacists play an importnat role in the communityCredit: Getty

As the unsung heroes of the medical world, pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals who offer clinical advice and over the counter medicines.

PM Rishi Sunak’s mother ran a pharmacy in Southampton and the Government has pledged £645m investment in community pharmacies over the next two years.

Pharmacists currently are on the UK Government’s skilled worker shortage list, with an estimated 35,600 job roles on offer to 2027. 

Job numbers are expected to grow 6.9 per cent annually as Brits become more comfortable visiting their pharmacy instead of the GP.

So if you want a secure job which make a difference to your local community, here’s all you need to know from Sun Jobs.

How do you become a pharmacist? 

There are three main jobs in pharmacy – Pharmacist, pharmacy assistants who help pharmacists prepare, order and dispense medicine and pharmacy technicians who manage the supply of medicines.

Each role requires specialist medical training but the level of qualifications differ. You can find out more at

What qualifications will you need? 

For pharmacy assistants, there are no set entry requirements, but you will be expected to have good literacy, numeracy, and IT skills plus basic GCSEs. 

Pharmacy technicians need to complete a two-year accredited pharmacy technician course involving a mix of practical work experience and study.

You’ll usually be employed by a pharmacy as a pre-registration trainee pharmacy technician and study for a level 3 apprenticeship.  

You can then register with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and practise as a qualified pharmacy technician.  

For a roles as a Pharmacist, you must complete a comprehensive five-year programme of academic and practice-based teaching. In your first four years, you will study for a Master’s degree in pharmacy (MPharm) at university.

This is followed by a one-year paid work placement called a foundation training year. After this, you register with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and legally practise as a pharmacist

What is the salary for a pharmacist? 

Starting salaries for a pharmacist average around £35,000 and rise to £69,000. For pharmacy assistants, typically earn between £22,000 and £28,000 while Pharmacy technicians take home between £25,000 and £30,000.

What is the career progression for a pharmacist?

Pharmacy is a respected filed and there are a number of ways to progress in your career.

You could move up to become a team manager, regional or national manager or become a pharmacy consultant.

There are options to work in a GP practice or health centre, set up your own community pharmacy business or even work in the UK Forces.

Some pharmacists also move into teaching, scientific journalism or publishing

Ready to pill in the gaps in the pharmacy workforce? Here are the top jobs this week from Sun Jobs.

Pharmacy Technician / Accuracy Testing Technician, Pharmacy2ULtd, Leeds

Click to collect a new role with online Pharmacy2U.

The Job: Pharmacy2U, the UK’s largest online pharmacy, is hiring an Accuracy Testing Technician.

What You’ll Do: Joining the Clinical Team at the Pharmacy2U facility in Leeds, you will act as an accredited final checker for dispensed items, ensuring all daily dispatch performance targets are achieved. You’ll be responsible for ensuring all prescriptions received are dispensed; complying fully with P2U dispensary operations procedures; adhering to all legal, ethical, professional and company requirements; and ensuring good stock control within the pharmacy.

You’ll Need: Applicants for this position will need an Accuracy Checking Technician or Pharmacy Technician qualification with the ACT module, and be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council. Ideally, you will have two years’ experience working within a pharmacy environment.

Apply Now: See further details of this Accuracy Testing Technician role, along with other roles with Pharmacy2U, here.

Pharmacy Dispensing Assistant, Badham Pharmacy Ltd, Stroud

Take your first step on the pharmacy career path with this super entry-level role.

The Job: Badham Pharmacy Ltd is recruiting a Pharmacy Dispensing Assistant to join the dispensing team in its family-run business.

What You’ll Do: The Pharmacy Dispensing Assistant will assist the pharmacist in providing safe and effective delivery of all pharmaceutical services at branch level, demonstrating excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work accurately with great attention to detail. You will assist in ensuring the effective and efficient running of each pharmacy.

You’ll Need: The successful candidate will be NVQ2 qualified, with a desire to further their professional training. There may be an opportunity to progress to NVQ3 or Accuracy Checking Pharmacy Technician, along with space for trainee dispensers where no qualification is necessary as full training will be provided.

Apply Now: See more details of this Pharmacy Dispensing Assistant role here, along with other opportunities with Badham Pharmacy Ltd, here.

Lead Prescribing Pharmacist, Operose Health, Southend-on-Sea

Prescribe yourself a career upgrade with this senior role.

The Job: Operose Health is looking for a Lead Prescribing Pharmacist for the Redbridge, Barking and Southend region.

What You’ll Do: The Lead Prescribing Pharmacist will work closely with the regional management team to help improve patient care and make cost-effective prescribing decisions within the region. You will apply effective clinical judgment in the prioritisation and decision-making aspects of your role, acting within your professional boundaries as part of a multidisciplinary team consisting of GPs, ANPs, Physician Associates, Paramedics and First Contact Physios.

You’ll Need: The ideal candidate will be a qualified pharmacist holding an independent prescribing qualification, with an undergraduate degree in pharmacy and registration with the General Pharmaceutical Council. Previous General Practice experience is desirable, but full training and induction will be provided.

Apply Now: Apply for this position, along with other opportunities with Operose Health, here.

Discover thousands of open vacancies for jobs all across the UK now on The Sun Job Board.


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