How to become a pharmacist: Usman's story

Meet Usman and learn more about life as a pharmacist for the North West Ambulance Service. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

I've always wanted to help people, so pharmacy seemed like the right career choice for me.

  • Usman is an urgent care desk pharmacist. He speaks with patients over the phone and provides expertise on medicines, for example where there are errors with medication or a patient has accidentally or intentionally taken the wrong dose
  • He was inspired to become a pharmacist as he has asthma and, growing up, was helped a lot by his pharmacist
  • It can be quite an emotional job but Usman has learnt to maintain professional boundaries so he can stay composed and do his best for his patients.
Watch Usman's colleagues in action on BBC One's Ambulance.

What to expect if you want to become a pharmacist

Pharmacists provide expert advice on the use and supply of medicines and medical appliances.

  • Pharmacist salary: £30,500 - £45,000
  • Pharmacist working hours: 37 to 40 hours per week. You work shifts, which could include evenings, weekends and bank holidays.

What qualifications do you need to be a pharmacist?

  • Typical entry requirements: You'll need to complete a four-year Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree approved by the General Pharmaceutical Council, a one year pre-registration training course in Pharmacy If you do not have the qualifications to get onto a MPharm degree, you could do a two-year Pharmacy foundation degree. You would then take a job as a pharmacy assistant or technician and apply for the MPharm degree in your second year. You'll usually need at least one A-level (or equivalent) for a foundation degree, three A-levels (or equivalent) at grade B or above in Chemistry, and either Biology, Physics or Maths to get onto a Pharmacy degree. You could get in with arts subjects, if you do the foundation course to bring you up to speed with your sciences.

You'll find more on pharmacy careers and training from Health Careers and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Work experience in your area
Find work experience placements with Workfinder.

Tips and advice
Help with interviews, writing a CV and all things work experience related.

Work experience can help you make informed decisions about your future career.
Matt: Air ambulance doctor
Tanoh: paramedic
Sarah: critical care staff nurse