What does a pharmacistdo?

There are different roles that pharmacists undertake, most commonly they prepare or supervise the dispensing of medicines, ointments or tablets. Pharmacists also promote health awareness in the community and advise patients on using their medicines in the safest way possible. They may also be involved in developing legal and professional practice standards or advising government about manufacturing and supplying of medicines. Some pharmacists work in researching and developing new medicines and other health related products.

Tasks:

  • Preparing or dispensing medicines, ointments and tablets
  • Advising patients on taking medication including dosage and side effects
  • Advising on non-prescription medicines, sick room supplies and other products
  • Researching and developing medicines
  • Manage pharmacies or pharmaceutical companies

What skills do I need to be a pharmacist?

Pharmacists need to have a scientific mind and good communication skills as they interact with patients and other health professionals every day to provide advice, ask questions and dispense medicines. They need good logic and problem-solving skills coupled with an attention to detail, as they will be dispensing drugs that could have side effects for patients or interactions with other medicines they are taking. Being interested in and understanding biology, physiology and pharmacology are also important aspects of the profession.

Skills/attributes
  • Able to communicate simply and clearly
  • Careful, methodical and detail-oriented
  • Able to work independently
  • Understanding of patient needs and concerns

Specialisations

While most pharmacists in Australia work in privately run retail pharmacies, find them working in a wide variety of environments such as hospitals, aged care facilities and the army. Pharmacists may also choose to work within the pharmaceutical industry, researching, developing and evaluating the effectiveness of medications.

Community Pharmacist

Working in retail pharmacies, community pharmacists dispense preparations, provide advice on drug selection, educate customers on health issues, promote disease prevention and ensure proper medicine use.

Consultant Pharmacist

A consultant pharmacist is someone who is employed by a community pharmacy or hospital to provide medication reviews for residential care or ambulatory care patients.

Government Pharmacist

Government pharmacists are involved in the regulatory control of pharmaceutical and medical products at the state/territory or federal government level.

Hospital Pharmacist

Operating as part of a healthcare team within a hospital, a hospital pharmacist monitors medication usage, counsels patients, provides drug information and advice to health professionals and patients, conducts clinical trials and prepares products for patient use.

Industrial Pharmacist

Industrial pharmacists carry out research for pharmaceutical manufacturers. They are responsible for the development, analysis and testing of new medical compounds and often work closely with doctors and other health professionals to conduct clinical trials of new drugs.

Study pathways for pharmacists

Pharmacists need to complete a Bachelor of Pharmacy at university, taking four years to complete. Students who have already completed a science degree can undertake a Graduate Diploma of Pharmaceutical Science.

Getting Started

Find courses perfect for those who want to get a better understanding of the health industry.

Skill Building

Grow your professional skill set with a qualification in the bustling health industry.

Professional Development

Find advanced and post-graduate course in health to push your career further.

Industry Recognition

Registration with the Pharmacy Board of Australia is necessary to become a pharmacist in Australia.

Getting a job after graduation

Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your pharmacy career. Take a look at our sample resume and cover letter and put your best foot forward when you apply for pharmacy jobs.

Job Prospects and Salaries

Looking forward, job prospects for pharmacists in Australia are predicted to remain very strong over the next five years.