Pharmacists supply, dispense and manufacture medicines and pharmaceutical products in hospitals and community pharmacies, and advise on their appropriate use. They also conduct research into the formulation, production, storage, quality control and distribution of medicines and pharmaceutical products.
To become a pharmacist you usually have to complete a degree in pharmacy at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics are normally required. You may also be required to attend an interview. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in pharmacy. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks.
Pharmacists may perform the following tasks:
Most pharmacists work in community pharmacies, with some owning their own practice or partnership. They also work in hospital pharmacies providing services to patients. A number are employed by pharmaceutical companies in drug research, marketing and design, or by universities and TAFE institutes.
A community pharmacist is involved in dispensing prescriptions, providing advice about drug selection and usage to doctors and other health professionals, providing primary healthcare advice and support, and educating customers on health promotion, disease prevention and the proper use of medicines. They usually have a high level of contact with the public.
A consultant pharmacist is employed by community pharmacies or hospitals, or is self-employed and contracted by community pharmacies, to provide medication reviews for residential care or ambulatory care patients and/or other medication-related cognitive services.
A government pharmacist is involved with the regulatory control of pharmaceutical and medical products at state, territory or federal level.
A hospital pharmacist operates as part of a healthcare team and is involved in monitoring medication usage, counselling patients, providing drug information and advice to health professionals and the community, conducting clinical trials and preparing products for patient use. They usually have a lot of contact with other health professionals and members of the public.
An industrial pharmacist is involved in research and the development, manufacturing, testing, analysis and marketing of pharmaceutical and medical products.