So, you’re interested in becoming a pharmacist but don’t quite know where to go next. Luckily, unlike with a lot of careers, the path to becoming a pharmacist in the UK is quite straightforward; that isn’t to say it’s easy, but if you take the right courses and pass the right exams, you’re basically guaranteed a job at the end. Let’s take a look at where you start with that process.
Get your masters
The first step to becoming a pharmacist in the UK is to complete your Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree, studying at a university accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). You’ll likely need three A levels, with grades between BBB and AAB; however, depending on your circumstances, you may be able to get onto a course with different qualifications.
Getting your MPharm degree will generally take four years of full-time study, more if you choose to do it part-time. The degree covers a wide range of subjects, including pharmacology, legal and ethical requirements of the industry, and principles of patient care.
Undergo your training
Once you’ve finished the theoretical element of your MPharm degree, you’ll need to do a year of paid training in the field. During this time, you’ll work in a pharmacy under the supervision of an experienced pharmacist, putting your theoretical skills into practice and learning through a whole range of further practical experiences.
Register with the GPhC
After you’ve done your year of training, you’ll then be able to register with the GPhC. This is a legal requirement to becoming a pharmacist in the UK – as your career progresses, you’ll be able to register with other professional organisations, including services to find you locum work such as Pharma Seekers.
You’re good to go!
Once you’re registered with the GPhC, you’ll be able to go out and seek employment as a fully qualified pharmacist. There are multiple roles you can choose between, from working in community pharmacies to research roles and advisory positions.
As is the case with all medical professions, as a pharmacist in the UK you’ll need to commit to ongoing professional development. This is both a practical and legal necessity, to ensure that you’re able to operate to the high standard necessary to provide proper care for your patients. This will likely mean conducting a combination of self-directed learning and other more structured forms of education like attending workshops and going on courses.
Focusing on developing complementary skills
In addition to your technical skills and theoretical medical knowledge, there are a number of other skills you’ll want to work on in order to become a top-notch pharmacist. These include developing your communication skills, ensuring your ability to work with an incredibly high degree of accuracy even in fast-paced environments, and your general interpersonal skills.
Hopefully, that clears up the process you’ll need to follow in order to become a pharmacist in the UK. As long as you’ve got your A levels, you’ll be able to apply to study for an MPharm degree, then do your year in industry and register with the GPhC. Once qualified, you’ll have a whole host of opportunities made available to you, from advisory work to roles in community pharmacies.