How to work as a pharmacist in the UK

6 August 2021  •  Locum
How to work as a pharmacist in the UK

Did you know that your medical experience could open up doors for travelling across the world whilst gathering valuable experience and working a job that you love? Countries, including the UK, are always looking for experienced locum professionals from around the globe to take over short term roles in the healthcare industry, providing you with the perfect opportunity to travel! One role that travelling medical professionals commonly seek out is UK pharmacist jobs. These roles can be competitive, so it is essential to know as much as you can about how to work as a pharmacist in the UK before you apply.

This article will give you the rundown on how to work as a pharmacist in the UK, what kind of jobs are available for pharmacists in the UK, and answer some of your questions about the job. Working as a locum medical professional could be the best career decision that you've ever made!

What sort of pharmacist jobs are available in the UK?

With the correct qualifications to work as a pharmacist in the UK, you could find yourself working in a variety of exciting roles.

Community pharmacist

Community pharmacists are responsible for dispensing prescription medicines and advising the public around their general health. You will be required to provide people with the correct information regarding the use of medications, supplements and over the counter products.

Community pharmacists are usually based in high-street pharmacies or in doctor's practices. Locum pharmacists working in this role are typically paid by the hour and can receive higher pay for weekends or holiday work.

Hospital pharmacist

Hospital pharmacists are considered experts in medicine and provide patients with information about the effects of medication on the body. As well as supplying medicines, you will also be involved in the purchasing and quality testing of the medications that you provide, working closely with hospital nurses and medical staff to ensure that all patients receive high-quality treatment.

Most hospital pharmacists will work within the NHS or in the private sector and work an average of 37.5 hours per week. There are often options for flexible contracts, part-time hours or even career breaks.


A job as a pharmacologist will lead you into a more research-focused role in which you will work with other professionals to discover and improve medicines. For example, it might lead you to study reactions to various medicines, understand the effects of medicine on the body, and find out the root behind unwanted side effects.

Working as a pharmacologist whilst studying for a PhD in the UK is an excellent opportunity for any academics looking to enhance their qualifications. Most roles will require 9-5 working hours; however, part-time jobs are available.

How to work as a pharmacist in the UK

Register with the GPhC

To work as a UK pharmacist, you must meet qualification requirements and register as a pharmacist with the GPhC. The GPhC regulates all pharmacists working in the UK to maintain high standards and ensure that everyone holds the correct qualifications.

Registration requirements

To apply to register with the GPhC, you must meet several requirements:

  • Complete and Overseas Pharmacists Assessment Programme.
  • Complete 52 weeks of pre-registration training in England, Scotland or Wales and have this signed off by a tutor.
  • Complete the GPhC registration assessment and achieve as pass result.

You must also hold an accredited Pharmacist masters degree (or equivalent) from a university or other credible training provider. This qualification will be checked when you register for the GHpC, and if it does not appear to be equal to at least a bachelor's degree, you will be asked to complete an assessment on the syllabus of the degree you have studied.

English language requirements

To work as a pharmacist in the UK, you must be able to speak good English. You may be asked to provide evidence of your English language skills when you apply to the GHpC. Evidence could include a recent pass of an English taught pharmacy course in a majority English speaking country, a recent pass of the English Language testing system (academic version). It could also include a recent practice, of at least two years, as a pharmacy professional in a majority English speaking country.


Do Pharmacists get paid well in the UK?

The rate of pay for UK pharmacy jobs can be very varied and will depend on your position and experience. The average salary for a pharmacist working in the UK is £47,241, which is well above the national income average. Some locum pharmacy jobs will pay hourly rates, which often pay higher for a weekend or holiday work. You may also receive increased pay rates for unsociable hours, including late night or early morning shifts.

Can I work as a Pharmacist whilst travelling in the UK?

Yes! Many locum jobs offer part-time hours or flexible contracts that allow you to explore the country whilst working. It is also possible to receive a career break whilst working in a UK pharmacist role- this is a chunk of time given to you to travel to other countries whilst still holding your job position.

What qualifications do I need to become a pharmacist in the UK?

Most locum pharmacy jobs will ask for a masters degree, or equivalent, in pharmacy from a valid university or training provider. You will also need to register with the GHpC and will need to provide evidence of English language skills.

Are pharmacists in demand in the UK?

Pharmacists are high in demand in the UK within both the NHS and private sector. If you fancy working as an NHS pharmacist or finding out more about current roles, then why not get started? You could find a job through our site and start your next adventure today!

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