Pharmacists carry out very important roles and must be highly trained. Pharmacists work in a variety of settings, ranging from pharmaceutical companies to hospitals and independent chemists and carry out a range of roles.
How do you become a pharmacist?
Pharmacists are highly qualified, and to become a pharmacist in the UK you have to complete a university degree course. All universities have specific entry requirements for their degree courses, though most ask for Maths and science-based A-levels and minimum requirements in GCSE English and Maths. Most universities ask for Physics, Maths and Biology, but they may also accept Chemistry and another subject alongside two of the required subjects. Most courses ask for A and B grades at A levels. Many universities also accept equivalent qualifications, including Scottish higher and the International Baccalaureate.
Successful completion of the course gives students a Master’s degree and all courses last four years. The course comprises of four key areas, including pharmacology, pharmacy practice, pharmaceutics and pharmaceutical chemistry. After students have completed the degree course, they must complete a further year of training before they can register with the General Pharmaceutical Council. Students are required to train in a clinical setting, before passing an examination.
Pharmacy assistants work under the supervision of pharmacists. Pharmacy assistants have a range of different roles, which may include ordering medications, advising patients about medication (if they have the relevant expertise to do so) and labelling medications.
Pharmacy assistants do not go through the rigorous training that pharmacists do but they do require a level of expertise. Most pharmacy assistants learn on the job; they apply for a post and then work towards an NVQ qualification in Pharmacy Service Skills. Some posts require minimum requirements at GCSE levels; this normally involves grades A-C in Maths, English and a Science-based subject.