Pharmacists ensure safe and quality use of medicines, and optimise health outcomes by contributing to selecting, prescribing, monitoring and evaluating medicine therapy, and researching, testing and developing pharmaceuticals and medical products.

A Bachelor Degree or higher and a 1 year post graduation development year is required. Sometimes relevant experience or on-the-job training is also needed in addition to a qualification. Registration or licensing is required.

Tasks

  • receiving prescriptions, checking patients' medicine histories, and ensuring optimal dosage and methods of administration and drug compatibility before dispensing
  • preparing or supervising the preparation and labelling of liquid medicines, ointments, powders, tablets and other medications to fill prescriptions
  • advising prescribers on drug incompatibility and contra-indications
  • reviewing and monitoring the medicine therapy of individual patients, and assessing the effectiveness of the total medicine therapy
  • maintaining prescription files and recording issue of narcotics, poisons and habit-forming drugs
  • storing and preserving vaccines, serums and other drugs subject to deterioration
  • supplying non-prescription medicines, and diagnostic and therapeutic aids
  • supervising and coordinating the work of Pharmacy Technicians, pharmacy interns and Pharmacy Sales Assistants
  • conducting research to develop and improve pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and related chemical products
  • conferring with Chemists, Engineering Professionals and other professionals about manufacturing techniques and ingredients
  • testing and analysing drugs to determine their identity, purity and strength in relation to specified standards
  • developing standards for drugs used in pharmaceuticals

Job Titles

  • Hospital Pharmacist
  • Industrial Pharmacist
  • Retail or Community Pharmacist
  • Hospital Pharmacist

    Prepares and dispenses pharmaceuticals, drugs and medicines in a hospital pharmacy. Registration or licensing is required.

  • Industrial Pharmacist

    Undertakes research, testing and analysis related to the development, production, storage, quality control and distribution of drugs and related supplies. Registration or licensing is required.

    Specialisations: Pharmaceutical Officer (Army)

  • Retail or Community Pharmacist

    Dispenses prescribed pharmaceuticals to the public, educates customers on health promotion, disease prevention and the proper use of medicines, and sells non-prescription medicines and related goods in a community pharmacy. Registration or licensing is required.

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $1,334 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    very strong
  • Skill Level

    Bachelor Degree or higher
  • Employment Size

    25,100
  • Unemployment

    below average
  • Male Share

    40.4%
  • Female Share

    59.6%
  • Full-Time Share

    69.8%

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This is a large occupation employing 25,100 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has grown strongly.
Very strong growth is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create between 10,001 and 25,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

  • Pharmacists work in most parts of Australia.
  • They mainly work in: Retail Trade; Health Care and Social Assistance; and Manufacturing.
  • Full-time work is fairly common. Full-time workers, on average, work 39.4 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,334 per week (higher than the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • The workforce is fairly young. The average age is 34 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
  • Around 6 in 10 workers are female.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate was below average.

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
YearNumber of Workers
200514800
200616000
200718100
200821600
200922200
201022200
201121900
201222000
201319600
201432700
201525100
202030100

Weekly Earnings

Full-time Earnings

All Jobs Average

Weekly Earnings (before tax)

Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
EarningsPharmacistsAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings13341230

Hours

Weekly Hours Worked

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryPharmacistsAll Jobs Average
Full-time69.868.4
Part-time30.231.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)39.440.0

Main Industries

Top Industries

Main Employing Industries (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Retail Trade74.9
Health Care and Social Assistance19.7
Manufacturing2.2
Public Administration and Safety1.3
Other Industries1.9

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StatePharmacistsAll Jobs Average
NSW31.431.8
VIC30.225.5
QLD14.119.8
SA7.86.8
WA11.611.2
TAS1.62.0
NT0.91.1
ACT2.31.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketPharmacistsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190.3-5.45.4
20-2414.8-9.99.9
25-3437.2-23.423.4
35-4417.8-21.721.7
45-5411.6-21.121.1
55-595.2-8.78.7
60-644.3-5.95.9
65 and Over8.8-3.83.8

Gender

Male Share

Female Share

Gender (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryPharmacistsCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males40.4Males53.6
Females59.6Females46.4

Education Level

Top Education Levels

Highest Level of Education (% share)

Source: ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of QualificationPharmacistsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate19.8-8.68.6
Bachelor degree75.3-17.917.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma0.0-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV0.0-18.918.9
Year 124.9-18.718.7
Years 11 & 100.0-17.717.7
Below Year 100.0-8.18.1

A Bachelor Degree or higher and a 1 year post graduation development year is required. Sometimes relevant experience or on-the-job training is also needed in addition to a qualification. Registration or licensing is required.

If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

Employers look for Pharmacists who can connect with others, provide good customer service and have good communication skills.

Knowledge

The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Medicine and Dentistry

    86% Important

    Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

  2. Customer and Personal Service

    82% Important

    Customer and personal services. This includes understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

  3. Mathematics

    76% Important

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  4. Chemistry

    75% Important

    Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change. Danger signs and disposal methods.

  5. English Language

    73% Important

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

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Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Activities

The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge

    95% Important

    Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.

  2. Interacting With Computers

    92% Important

    Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

  3. Getting Information

    92% Important

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  4. Processing Information

    91% Important

    Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.

  5. Documenting/Recording Information

    88% Important

    Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

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O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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