Pharmacy Courses overview
The study of pharmacy examines the science and method of creating and dispensing pharmaceutical drugs. Combining the elements of both chemistry and health science, this branch of science lets you pursue a career in healthcare and make a difference in the world of medicine.
Pharmacists are health professionals who ensure people are able to get safe and effective medical aids to improve the health of the population. You will learn how pharmacists work in tandem with doctors to ensure people get the assistance they need to get well. Learn what it takes to join a community of health professionals who know all there is to know about drugs and gain responsibility for the important task of monitoring our use of medicine.
A degree in pharmacy will give you expert knowledge on how drugs can be used therapeutically. While creating and doling out drugs are the main tenets of pharmacy, pharmacists also do tasks such as reviewing medications and providing detailed information on drugs. Pharmacists are also trained to provide a safe clinical service to dispense drugs in a safe manner.
Is pharmacy for me?
You could flourish with a career in pharmacy if you are passionate about health services and are interested in how medicines work. If you are considering a career in pharmacy, you should also be scientifically minded and committed to dedicating yourself to years of education to give you the necessary skills and knowledge to work in the field.
Those who wish to work in a pharmacy in Australia must complete a tertiary degree in pharmacy. The minimum degree to be legally allowed to work in Australia is a bachelor, but a masters of pharmacy is also highly sought after.
A pharmacy undergraduate degree programme generally required four years of full-time study. Your university will usually require that you have studied maths and chemistry, and they will look favourably on those who have also studied subjects such as biology, human biology, or physics. Check with your university to see the compulsory prerequisite subjects for the pharmacy course you are interested in to avoid disappointment.
You can also study pharmacy as a postgraduate degree. Again, you will need to have completed some of the scientific subjects listed in the previous paragraph. Other units that will help you get accepted into a Master of Pharmacy programme include pharmacology, physiology and biochemistry. A Master of Pharmacy usually takes 2 years full-time to complete.
Once you graduate with either of these tertiary degrees in pharmacy, you will need to register with the Pharmacy Board of Australia and complete an internship before you can legally work as a pharmacist. Pharmacy internships usually last for one year and must be done with a registered pharmacist.
You may also get a doctorate in pharmacy, either on a research or coursework basis depending on your institution.
Being qualified in pharmacy means you could be dispensing medicines all over the country, in a variety of establishments and capacities.
A degree in pharmacy will make you eligible for the following careers:
This primary healthcare position will see you working with doctors to provide the right medicine for your patients. You will be required to dispense and advise the best health practice and match medicines with certain conditions (source).
You will work in a hospital setting providing the right medicines for those in a clinical environment. While it is a similar role to a conventional retail pharmacist, hospital pharmacists may often be dealing with more serious disorders and illnesses.
Regulatory affairs officer
Pharmacists with this type of job are charged with ensuring the best practice for dispensing drugs is enshrined in law. This includes keeping ineffective drugs off the market and regulating the use of certain types of medicines.
Pharmaceutical association employee
Here you can represent the knowledge and experience of your fellow pharmacists and help create the best medicines possible.
Pharmaceutical company employee
These types of pharmacists will use their knowledge about medicines to create new products. Often the work will involve representing drug companies in a medical sales capacity.
Pharmacologists study drug composition in great detail. You will work in a research or drug development capacity by studying chemicals and their biological effects on people (source).
Pharmacy is a degree with great potential to explore many different areas of interest. Those who choose to specialise in these more honed areas within the field of pharmacy will find themselves with an advanced set of skills and knowledge that could help them land a job in their area of interest.
Pharmacy specialisations include: