How to become a Pharmacist in South Africa

If you are reliable, organised and have an interest in medicine, choosing a career as a pharmacist might be a great option for you. From taking a look at the average pharmacist salary to courses and training, the Job Mail team delves a little deeper into what it takes to become a pharmacist in South Africa. If you are already qualified, be sure to browse through the pharmacist jobs advertised on Job Mail.

pharmacists in sa


With great pharmacy courses, training and qualification programmes available in South Africa, there are a number of study opportunities to choose from. To gain entrance to training courses and programmes, subjects that are required include Mathematics and Computer Literacy.

There are educational institutes across South Africa where you can complete a pharmacy course. Once you are qualified you can search for relevant vacancies. From reading prescriptions to offering health advice, there are plenty of responsibilities that come with this role.

The Job Description of a Pharmacist

Pharmacists are responsible for preparing and dispensing medicine to individuals. They connect pharmaceutical companies to doctors. According to PayScale the average annual pharmacist salary is R396 790. Pharmacy and people management training are associated with higher pay for this role. Hospital pharmacy capabilities are also associated with bigger financial rewards.

A pharmacist is responsible for understanding prescriptions that have been written by a medical practitioner. They read the prescription and ensure that the medicine is dispensed accurately according to the doctor’s specifications. They review the combination of medicines that they are dispensing to an individual to make sure that it is safe.

The duties of these professionals include providing the public with information that promotes wellbeing. Employees in this role suggest generic options when necessary to make medicine more affordable for their customers. They are required to oversee staff.

working pharmacist

Professionals in these roles order stock and make sure that there is sufficient medicine available to dispense prescriptions. They communicate with medical representatives to gain information about the latest products on the market.

An important part of this role is record keeping. A Pharmacist is required to ensure that they carry out their duties while maintaining legal compliance.

Choosing a Pharmacy Course and Training Programme

To qualify as a pharmacist you must complete a Bachelor of Pharmacy. It is essential that the course is accredited by the South African Pharmacy Council. Typically you will complete a 4 year qualification as well as 1 year of practical training and a community service component.

Relevant qualifications are offered at Rhodes University and the Tshwane University of Technology. Other options include the Northwest University and the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal.

pharmacist work environment

While the entrance requirements vary between different educational institutions typical requirements include a National Senior Certificate with English, Mathematics, Physical Science and Life Sciences. Computer Literacy is recommended if you want to enrol for a pharmacy course.

This profession is regulated by the South African Pharmacy Council. If becoming a pharmacist is not the right career choice for you, another option is to become a pharmacy assistant.

Personnel Skills and Traits of Pharmacists

If you are passionate about the medical profession, becoming a pharmacist may be the right career for you. An interest in chemistry is essential for this role. To succeed in this medical career, you will need to care about the health of other people.

Good interpersonal and communication skills are beneficial. Pharmacists need to be trustworthy and dependable. They must be able to maintain a professional and friendly demeanour as well as maintain the confidentiality of their clients.

Organisational and computer literacy skills are essential. Analytical skills are required for this role. These skills are required to manage processes. Attention-to-detail and a focus on quality are vital for this role.

Work Environment

A pharmacist is typically required to work 37.5 to 48 hours in a week. Weekend work is often necessary. Some employers may require you be on-call for after hour emergencies. Full-time and part-time positions are available. Another option is to start your own pharmacy and become self-employed.

Pharmacists usually work in a pleasant environment but they spend long hours on their feet. Their work environment includes a wide range of people who they need to interact with on a daily basis.

pharmacist job


Qualified professionals can find employment in four separate areas. The first type of pharmacist jobs can be found at local pharmacies. In this context the pharmacist serves the public by preparing prescriptions from medical practitioners.

They are tasked with reading doctors’ prescriptions precisely, locating the correct medicine and dispensing the specified amount on medication. An important part of this role is checking that the medicines that they dispense to an individual is safe to take.

If you are looking for employment opportunities in this medical field, you can also search for vacancies on cruise ships. Qualified professionals are in demand as this occupation is listed as a scarce skill.

Professionals in this role fulfil similar duties to those carried out in a pharmacy. In this context they work with the ship doctor.

A pharmacist can find relevant positions in laboratories where they are involved in manufacturing medicines. These positions are available at pharmaceutical companies as well as at research laboratories.

Their duties include overseeing the production of medicines as well as developing new medicines. Once they have developed a new medicine they need to test it to make sure it is safe and effective. Another duty associated with this position is report writing. A pharmacist in this field may be tasked with brochure writing as well as marketing tasks.

pharmacist career

Another option for pharmacists is to work at a hospital where they are tasked with dispensing medicine. They are also required to complete administrative tasks.

Looking for pharmacist jobs on Job Mail? Register your CV on Job Mail and start applying for exciting job opportunities advertised on From the work environment to the pharmacist salary, there are plenty of advantages to pursuing a career as a pharmacist.

How to become a Pharmacist in South Africa
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How to become a Pharmacist in South Africa
Pharmacists are responsible for preparing and dispensing medicine to individuals. They connect pharmaceutical companies to doctors.
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Job Mail
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32 Responses

  1. I am currently a first year Pharmacy student

  2. Interested in a study bursary

  3. Angelina says:

    I am interested in pharmacist course but I don’t have Maths and Science, what can I do to qualify?.

    • Hi, please contact the relevant training provider(s) for entrance requirements. For study pharmacy, you will need to have good marks in maths and science. Good luck!

  4. Niel says:

    Want to know about the pharmacy assistance and institutions that offer this course.

  5. Sibongile says:

    I would like to study Pharmacy so what can I do?

  6. BEATRICE says:

    Am a Kenyan citizen with a diploma in pharmaceutical technologist licenced by the pharmacy and poisons board. would like to work in south africa

  7. Candice says:

    What are the prices for the course

  8. sipho says:

    I’m interested to do the course of pharmacist but i only have Maths and Biology. Can i qualify?

  9. Buyiswa says:

    I would like to do Pharmacist course

  10. Buyiswa says:

    Need more information please email

  11. wendy says:

    Do I stand a chance to be considered for admission to pharmacy school even if I spend 2 gap years?

  12. Sithembile says:

    Hai I’m interested in pharmacist but I don’t have Maths and Science

  13. Hold says:

    I want that job



  15. Abigail says:

    I want to study pharmacy but I don’t have mathematics and scince

  16. Sibongile Shandu says:

    Hi m a professional nurse ,but I want to change and do pharmacy

  17. Nelson says:

    I studied biotechnology and I want to work in pharmaceutical industry or pharmacy sector. not sure if I study pharmacology would be a right thing to put me in the right place?.

    • Jani Grey says:

      Hi Nelson,

      We’d like to suggest that you get in touch with people who work in the field you’re interested in to find out what is necessary to do the same work. You can also contact universities and colleges to give you guidance.

      Kind regards,
      The Job Mail Blog.

  18. Ntombizanele Sokutu says:

    Part time pharmacist studies in South Africa Colleges

    • Jani Grey says:

      Hi Ntombizanele,

      Please refer to the section titled Choosing a Pharmacy Course and Training Programme.

      Kind regards,
      The Job Mail Team

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