If you’re thinking about becoming a Pharmacist, here we outline what you can earn, the available career paths and how you can increase your pay as a Pharmacist in the UK.
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Pharmacists are experts in medicines, with a deep understanding of how they work, how they should be taken, and which are most appropriate for particular illnesses.
They’re also hugely valuable health advisors, who can help people with everything from dietary issues to sexual health.
Qualified and knowledgeable, Pharmacists are a vital part of the healthcare community, and can work in retail pharmacies, hospitals, community health centres and beyond, both within the NHS and privately.
But when it comes to salaries, what should a qualified Pharmacist expect to earn?
This salary guide aims to answer those questions and many more.
What Is The Average Salary For A Pharmacist?
The average salary for a Pharmacist is currently £43,260 – according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.
However, salaries depend on lots of factors, including whether you work in the NHS or privately, your specialist area and how experienced you are.
While pay is transparent and regulated within the NHS, in the private sector it isn’t – and this ultimately makes predicting potential salaries quite difficult.
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What Does A Pharmacist Do?
A Pharmacist carries out a wide variety of duties which vary greatly depending on the setting in which you work.
But they may include:
• Advising patients on which medicines to take, and how to take them
• Advising other healthcare professionals on which medicines to choose in different scenarios
• Making sure patients use medicines safely and appropriately
• Providing information about potential side effects
• Advising on long-term health plans
• Ensuring medications are safe to use in combination with others
• Recommending changes to prescriptions
For Pharmacists that run their own pharmacies or are involved in manufacturing or purchasing medication, responsibilities expand into many other areas – including managing, recruiting and training staff.
How Is Pay Determined In The NHS & How Much Does A Pharmacist Get Paid?
Pharmacists in the NHS, once qualified, can expect to start on a Band 6 salary, which currently pays £31,365 a year.
Your salary increases incrementally each year, and the top of this banding pays nearly £38,000 annually.
With a few years’ experience, NHS Pharmacists can apply for Band 7 roles, which start at £38,890 and can rise to £44,503.
A band 9 role pays more than £90,000 a year.
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How Is Pay Determined In The Private Sector & How Much Do Pharmacists Earn?
In the private sector Pharmacist pay is much harder to pinpoint.
Roles are available in private hospitals and healthcare centres, but also in private high street pharmacies or within pharmaceutical companies.
All of these specialisms offer different levels of pay and different career paths.
Furthermore, in all areas of work in the private sector pay is unregulated, so your potential earnings are quite difficult to predict.
Broadly speaking, pay is roughly in line with the salaries on offer in the NHS.
Boots Pharmacists, who number around 7000 in the UK, are paid a starting salary of £36,600, for example.
It’s also worth noting that although Pharmacists who run their own pharmacies have the potential to earn far more money than as an employee, more often than not personal earnings are actually squeezed.
What Is The Career Progression For A Pharmacist – And How Can You Earn More Money?
In the NHS, as with many other roles there is a fairly clear and formalised career progression which can see you earn a steadily increasing salary.
Once qualified and suitably experienced, you can move from a basic Pharmacist position into becoming a team manager and then perhaps a Senior Pharmacist, Pharmacist Consultant or head of pharmaceuticals.
But there are many different routes your career could take.
You could choose to work privately, in the army, or you could go on to teach pharmacy students.
And with further, relevant postgraduate qualifications you could become a researcher in a more specific subject like toxicology.
In the private sector, promotional opportunities in pharmacies are similar to any other private organisation.
If you gain enough experience, perform well and build up further qualifications, you can ask for a pay rise or apply for more senior positions.
Regional or national management positions in large organisations are often occupied by former pharmacists.
And the other option is to set up your own pharmacy practice.
There are a great many challenges associated with running your own pharmacy – from the long hours to the various overheads.
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