Graduate careers advice: you and your pharmacy degree

Most pharmacy graduates work as pharmacists in large retail chains or smaller pharmacies. Other opportunities exist within regulatory bodies, academia and the pharmaceutical industry.

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Read our graduate careers advice on how your career in pharmacy can develop.

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Work experience

Relevant work experience will display your enthusiasm and initiative to potential employers, and will show them that you can apply the skills acquired on your course to a practical workplace.

Many retail pharmacy chains offer summer placement programmes, which last from six to eight weeks. You may even be recruited as a pre-registration trainee from such a programme.

Unpaid experience can be found in a hospital pharmacy in a work shadowing capacity, for a short period of a few days to a week.

Working in a retail environment or healthcare setting will help to develop your customer service and patient care skills, along with enhancing your knowledge of over the counter medications.

More information on work experience can be found here .

What sectors?

Most pharmacists work in large retail chains or smaller, independent pharmacies. Health centres and GP surgeries can also offer employment opportunities.

Most hospital pharmacists work within the HSE but you can also work for private hospitals.

Whether on a self-employed basis or through an agency, qualified pharmacists can work as temporary replacement pharmacists.

Private sector organisations, like pharmaceutical companies and food and drink companies, employ pharmacy graduates to work in such areas as quality assurance, research and development, marketing, and sales and management.

Your pharmacy CV

The subject specific skills a pharmacy degree equips you with include:

  • knowledge of the design and manufacture of medicines;
  • the ability to produce pharmacy-specific scientific documentation;
  • analysis of medicines;
  • awareness of the ethics and law regarding the supply of medicines;
  • the operation of pharmaceutical instrumentation.

Transferable skills include:

  • communication;
  • teamwork;
  • numeracy;
  • problem-solving;
  • time management;
  • commercial awareness.

Postgraduate study

As a postgraduate qualification isn’t required to practise as a pharmacist, very few pharmacy graduates go on to further study.

If you wish to pursue a career in scientific research and development, you can study for an MSc or PhD in areas like pharmacy, prescribing and drug development.

If you prefer a career outside pharmacy, you can undertake a relevant postgraduate or vocational course to enhance your skills and develop your knowledge of other areas.

More information can be found in our Further Study section.

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