Pharmacist apprenticeships - where to start
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 for the MPharm degree in your second year. You'll usually need at least 1 A-Level, or equivalent, for a foundation degree and 2 or 3 A-Levels, or equivalent, including chemistry.
- a 4-year Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree approved by the General Pharmaceutical Council
- a one year pre-registration training course in pharmacy
Pharmacist apprenticeships - what it takes
Skills and knowledge
- 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 pass background checks
Pharmacist apprenticeships - what you'll do
Your tasks will depend on which area of pharmacy you work in. In this role you could:
In education or industry, you could:
- dispense medicines in a community pharmacy, hospital or a GP practice clinic
- give healthcare 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 hospital wards to advise on the use and storage of medications
- order and controlling stock
- run a business, including supervising and training staff
- produce medicines when ready-made ones aren't available, for example, cancer treatments
- buy, quality test and distribute medicines throughout a hospital
- supervise trainees and junior pharmacists
- do research into new medicines
- run clinical trials
You could work at a store, in an NHS or private hospital or at an adult care home.
Career path and progression - Pharmacist apprenticeships
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.
You could join the armed forces as a pharmacist.
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 professional support services.