Career outlook for pharmacist

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would help people get the right medicines and drugs and use them safely to treat illnesses and disease.

You’d check prescriptions, dispense medicines and make sure that the laws to control medicines are met.

You could work as a community pharmacist, for example in a high street shop, or in a hospital pharmacy either in the NHS or in a private hospital.

As a community pharmacist you would:

  • Give healthcare advice and help to customers
  • Prepare medicines bought at the counter
  • Give advice on how to use medicines correctly, including the amount to use (dosage) and any risks
  • Sell a range of products
  • Deliver medication to people who are unable to leave home
  • Visit care homes to advise on the use and storage of medications
  • Order and control stock

You would also run or help to run the business, including supervising and training staff.

In a hospital, you would:

  • Advise on most suitable form of medicine, such as a tablet, inhaler or injection
  • Advise on the dosage for medicines
  • Produce medicines, for example, creating a treatment or solution when ready-made ones are not available
  • Visit wards
  • Advise colleagues about medicines and give them up-to-date information
  • Buy, quality test and distribute medicines throughout the hospital
  • Supervise trainees and junior pharmacists

Another option is to work as a pharmacist within a local NHS service.

You could:

  • Advise GPs about prescribing
  • Run a clinic at a GP practice
  • Train local prescribers on issues related to managing and prescribing medicines.

You could also work in education or in industry, carrying out research into new medicines and running clinical trials.

You can see more about this role in the National Health Service on the Pharmacist page on the NHSScotland Careers website.

Working conditions


As a pharmacist in a hospital setting, you would usually work 37.5 hours a week, including weekends and as part of an on-call rota. As a community pharmacist, you could work up to 48 hours a week, full-time. Part-time work is often available..


You would work in a pharmacy in a shop or hospital.

UK employment status





Self employed


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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


You need an honours degree (SCQF level 10) or postgraduate qualification (SCQF level 11) in pharmacy

To enter a pharmacy degree (SCQF level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of four Highers at AABB (gained on first sitting). Some courses may also ask for Advanced Highers.

To enter a postgraduate course (SCQF level 11) you will usually require an honours degree in a relevant subject. 

Useful subjects

Required by most courses:

  • Chemistry
  • Maths
  • Biology or physics
  • English

You will also need

Once qualified you need to complete one year of supervised training before you can register with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC): you must be registered to work in the community or in hospital pharmacy.

Helpful to have

Any extra qualifications that show your understanding of the sciences, health and medicine such as Skills for Work Health and Social Care (SCQF level 6) or Laboratory Science (SCQF level 5).