Pharmacists make a difference to the lives of their patients through an expert knowledge of medicines and health.You need to study for an accredited Master's degree in pharmacy (MPharm) which is a five-year programme of integrated academic and clinical based teaching. Years 1-4 will be as a student, followed by a one year paid work placement called a foundation training year. Typically, you'll need three A-levels or equivalent in chemistry and a second science or maths at AAB to BBB, although universities differ so it's important to check. GCSEs are considered alongside A-levels, with most schools of pharmacy expecting a minimum of five GCSEs including maths, English language and one science. Some universities accept vocational qualifications such as BTEC Level 3, National Extended Diploma in Applied Sciences or the Access to HE Diploma.Pharmacists working in the NHS will work standard hours of around 37.5 a week which may include shifts. Newly qualified pharmacists will usually start in the NHS at band 6 and with further experience and training can apply for posts up to band 9. Terms and conditions can vary for pharmacists outside of the NHS, including those working in high street and retail pharmacies.The skills needed to be a pharmacist include good customer and science skills, a general understanding of pharmacy and how it benefits patients, and strong communication skills to be able to speak to patients and other healthcare professionals.As a registered pharmacist, you could work in community pharmacy or in a hospital, general practice, NHS 111 or the armed forces. Or you could work in the industry, academic or research sectors. Some pharmacists mix and match their career between different sectors. Within the next few years, all pharmacists will be qualified to prescribe when they complete their training.
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