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How do I become a pharmacist?

In order to qualify and practice as a pharmacist, several educational goals need to be achieved.

To apply for a pharmacy degree course, you will have to meet the educational entrance requirements for admittance to an accredited 4-year MPharm degree course.

After the successful completion of the MPharm course you will receive an MPharm degree. There are a number of further steps to go through before you will be able to register with either of the pharmacy regulators in the UK, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) in Great Britain or the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI). Once registered you can then practice as a qualified pharmacist in the UK.

Once you have completed an MPharm you will need to undertake one year of pre-registration training. With the Queen’s MPharm, this can be in either Great Britain or Northern Ireland. The pre-registration training year is where you will further develop the skills that you gained during your degree, as a paid employee in a professional environment. Entrance on a pre-registration year is competitive and outside the control of the School of Pharmacy. No School of Pharmacy in the UK can guarantee that you will receive a pre-registration training place.

A proportion of pre-registration places are with the NHS, but the majority of placements involve working with community pharmacists. Again, you should be aware that your place on the pre-registration year is not guaranteed, as the number of available placements is dependent on different factors. One such factor is that the availability of pre-registration places offered by community pharmacies can vary from year to year. International (non UK/EU/EEA) students are also very likely to require a UK visa specifically for the pre-registration year, which can be dependent on meeting a number of conditions.

After the completion of 52 weeks of pre-registration training to the required standard, and subject to you passing the registration examination of either the GPhC (if you undertake your pre-registration training in Great Britain) or the PSNI (if you undertake pre-registration training in Northern Ireland), you will be eligible to register with the appropriate regulator and practice as a fully qualified pharmacist. Note that Pharmacists registered initially with the PSNI can subsequently register with the GPhC and practice in Great Britain, and vice versa, as there is complete reciprocity between the two pharmacy regulators in the UK. The Queen’s MPharm degree is fully recognized and accredited by both regulators.