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Pharmacists are experts in medicine. They dispense medicine, following doctor’s prescriptions for patients, and give advice to customers or patients regarding the use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs.
The role of a pharmacist has been evolving over recent years as they take on a more advisory role than previously, with less focus on purely dispensing drugs.
Pharmacists can work in a number of places, from community pharmacies in the high street or supermarket, to hospitals and GP practices, as well as participating in research within the industry or at universities.
Useful qualities for a pharmacist to have include a kind and caring nature, good communication skills, and an appreciation for maths and science.
How to get into pharmacy
A degree course in pharmacy (MPharm Degree) at an accredited institution is needed. Following the MPharm Degree, graduates are then required to work for a year in industry, then take a final exam, before they can register as a pharmacist in the UK.
Qualifications and experience
Entry requirements for an MPharm Degree are a minimum of three A-Levels, with Chemistry being mandatory as one of the three. Biology is also recommended as a second, and it is helpful to have Maths or Physics as a third.
The A-Level grade requirements vary from university to university, however it is usual for a minimum of BBB to be expected. Grades A-C in a minimum of five subjects at GCSE, including Maths and English, are also required.
The average salary for a pharmacist is £38,000. A starting salary in pharmacy can range between £20,000 and £30,000, while it is possible to earn up to £60,000 after ten years in the profession.
The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), 12 Whitehall, London SW1A 2DY. 0870 890 4333. Website: www.abpi.org.uk
National Pharmacy Association, 38-42 St.Peter's Street, St. Albans AL1 3NP. 01727 832161. Website: www.npa.co.uk