Why become a pharmacist?

What is a pharmacist?

A pharmacist is a health professional who is skilled in the science and practice of preparing and dispensing medicinal drugs.

Pharmacists treat patients by drawing upon a deep understanding of how drugs affect the human body: their therapeutic benefits, their side-effects, how they react when mixed with other medicines and what doses are best under which circumstances.

Does that mean, as a pharmacist, you’ll spend all day standing behind a counter, handing out pills?

Absolutely not.

There’s much more to pharmacy than you might first think.

What does a pharmacist do?

As a pharmacist, you work as part of a team with other healthcare professionals. Together, you help patients to maintain and optimise their health and to guide them through sickness. Jobs don’t get much more important than that.

Every day, you offer your expert advice to make sure that members of the community in which you work - whether it be a town, a neighbourhood or a hospital - are taking the right medicine or seeking the right treatment.

And if you’re not working in a pharmacy itself, you might find that your career takes you to roles in government, industry, research or clinical-trials.

Pharmacy is changing fast

Pharmacy has a long and remarkable history, but it isn’t stuck in the past.

Our ageing population makes an increased and changing demand for pharmacists’ skills inevitable.

The ever-growing complexity of medicines will mean that pharmacists will require ever-higher levels of scientific knowledge.

The growth of healthcare teams will mean that increased scientific knowledge will need to be matched by a growth in soft skills like teamwork, communication and problem solving.

Whatever the future holds, though, one thing will remain the same: pharmacists will always do the sort of work that changes people’s lives for the better.

Pharmacist salaries

Pharmacists have an exceptionally important vocation. They work hard - to become qualified and in their day-to-day roles. They are well-rewarded for the importance of their work and their expertise.

You can read read about pay scales for pharmacists (including graduate salaries) in each Australian state and territory ( except the ACT) on the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia website.

The Fair Work Ombudsman website also features a detailed rundown of the Pharmacy Industry Award Pay Guide.