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Summary of occupation

Pharmacists supply and make medications and other prescription drugs in hospitals and pharmacies. They prepare and supervise the dispensing of a range of medications, ointments, tablets and other medicinal products, as well as advising both patients and physicians on their appropriate use. They also conduct research on the manufacture, production, storage and distribution of medicines and drugs. Pharmacists have the opportunity to work across the state, from our cities and towns to more remote areas.

ANZSCO description: Pharmacists supply and make medications and  other prescription drugs in hospitals and pharmacies.
Alternative names: Chemist
Specialisations: Community/Retail Pharmacist, Consultant Pharmacist, Government Pharmacist, Hospital Pharmacist/Pharmaceutical Officer (Army), Industrial Pharmacist
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A pharmacist needs:

  • a desire to help people
  • communication skills
  • logic and problem-solving skills
  • an interest in biology, physiology and pharmacology
  • the ability to lead and train others
  • discretion and maturity when discussing personal health issues
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Working conditions

Pharmacists may work in community pharmacies, chemists, aged care facilities, hospitals and other medical establishments. They may also visit patients in their homes. Part of their time may be spent researching and testing pharmaceutical products, however most pharmacists make up prescriptions and consult with patients and other health care professionals.

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Salary details

On average, pharmacists can expect to earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. 

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Tools and technologies

Pharmacists often use laboratory equipment and more traditional means for combining medicines such as a mortar and pestle and measuring equipment. They also work with a range of pharmaceutical and medicinal drugs in liquid, capsule and tablet form, as well as other treatments like ointments, balms and lotions. They often use computers, and usually wear sterile clothing including gloves and gowns.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a pharmacist you usually have to complete a degree in pharmacy at university.

Curtin University offers a four year Bachelor of Pharmacy. The University of Western Australia also offers a Masters of Pharmacy, which requires an undergraduate degree in science. Contact the university for more information. 

​To work as a pharmacist in Western Australia, you must be registered with the Pharmacy Board of Australia.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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Related links

Related videos

Pharmacist Video Pharmacist Occupation

Pharmacists supply and make medications and other prescription drugs in hospitals and pharmacies.

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