How to pursue a career as a Registered Pharmacist in Australia

A pharmacist is tasked with preparing medications by reviewing and interpreting the orders of the physician. A part of their job description is identifying therapeutic incompatibilities, dispense drugs, and labelling pharmaceuticals.

Based on his/her expertise, a pharmacist advises doctors and medical practitioners regarding the medicines’ side effects, dosages and how to take them in moderation.

If you wish to pursue a career as a pharmacist, check out the provisions related to how to become a registered pharmacist in Australia. As an international student, you have to understand different procedures. One of them is getting your pharmacist registration done at the earliest with authorities of the Australian state, province or territory concerned. Doing so is mandatory. Otherwise, it would be an offence.

There are several options if you want to apply for pharmacist jobs in Australia. You can work in hospitals, retail businesses, academic, pharmaceutical industry, government bodies or armed services.

General Skilled Migration

To migrate and work in Australia, an individual aspiring to become a pharmacist has to file visa application under the General Skilled Migration category. Two visas—Skilled Nominated Visa – subclass 190 and Skilled Regional sponsored visa – subclass 489 are relevant to work in the country.

For overseas registration, you need to complete a tertiary Pharmacy degree such as a Bachelor degree or Master of Pharmacy. Aspiring graduates, on the other hand, will have to register with the Australian Pharmacy Board. However, they need to complete an internship of one year to become a registered pharmacist in Australia.

Qualified pharmacist

Once you have become a qualified pharmacist, you can work in hospitals, retail pharmacy outlets and pharmaceutical firms. Among the primary duties include establishing a good rapport with doctors and suggesting which medicines are best for any patient. Along with pointing out errors in hospital medication charts, you have to brief patients on how they work. Other tasks cover visiting patients’ homes, supervising pharmacy interns/students and promoting health awareness.

The average salary as a pharmacist in Australia is decent with a minimum pay rate of $27.19 per hour revised from the earlier wage of $26.28, whereas an intern earns $23.25 reviewed from $22.46 as of July 1 this year.

Chemistry and mathematics are subjects that benefit high school students who want to enrol in a pharmacy degree course. The course includes human biology, biology and physics subjects alongside English language competency. Every Australian university should have an ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) score of minimum marks so that students get admitted in Bachelor's degree in pharmacy.

Two-year full-time serves the purpose of post-graduate degree holders enrolling in Master of Pharmacy. Pass these examinations to a certain level, which include Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) or Graduate Australia Medical Admissions Test (GAMSAT). Some of the prominent Australian universities which offer pharmacy degrees include The University of Western Australia, The University of Sydney, Griffith University, The University of Tasmania, Monash University and The University of Canberra.

English competency

As far as English competency is concerned, you can either choose from IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or OET (Occupational English Test). Every visa applicant who wants to pursue a degree course in pharmacy has to score A or B in OET’s 4 components, or you should have a minimum score of 6.5 in every component, i.e., 7 as the overall band score. The score is part of IELTS Academic level which is prerequisite for enrolment in Stage I Examination of APC or used in Stream B of CAOP (Competency Assessment of Overseas Pharmacists) Examination. Both these exams are conducted in Australia or overseas.

Examination of Stage I

This examination comprises of two papers and has questions with multiple choice answers ranging from pharmaceutics, pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmacology, therapeutics to physiology. It is held in March and September every year. The exam is conducted overseas as well as in Australia. International students can expect a skill assessment letter after completion of Stage I exam.

Examination of Stage II

The test involves the practice of pharmacy includes practical, written and oral components. Every Australian state/territory conducts this test.

On completion of both these examinations and interviews based on Stage I and Stage II, candidates are issued the Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) certificates, entitling them to apply for registration and to explore job prospects in Australia. APC certificate has earned recognition among pharmacy bodies in Australia.

Abundant courses from top universities shape up your career if you are an international student aspiring to become a registered pharmacist. Consult our team of immigration and education consultants who will guide you at every step of your journey.
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