Careers in Pharmacy: Out of the Box Options

careers in pharmacy

You’ve got your degree.  Check.

You’ve completed your internship. Check.

You’ve got yourself registered. Check.

And now you’ve got yourself a job that you go to day in and day out. Or more likely you go to that job on the weekends and at night because let’s be honest getting a steady 9-5 Monday to Friday job in community pharmacy is like pulling hen’s teeth. Cheers to those in hospital pharmacy – you’ve got it made.

And you’re left feeling…unsatisfied. Jaded. Is this all there is?

While your friends from school work their way up their respective career ladders you’re left wondering where to now? Do you just see out your days working in community or hospital pharmacy? Or are there alternative careers for pharmacists?

Ready to take a career leap? Here are some options you might not have considered.

Community Pharmacy

Of course, ownership is one avenue to go down if you’re in community pharmacy. But there are plenty of other options if you want to get out of the dispensary:

Hospital Pharmacy

Your avenues are a bit clearer if you’re already in hospital pharmacy. Opportunities include stewardship of antimicrobials and opioids, quality use of medicines, governance roles and community liaison.

If you’re in community pharmacy and think you might want to make the leap to hospital, don’t be frightened by the knowledge gap. You may have to consider a role at a regional/rural or smaller hospital initially in order to get your foot in the door.  From time to time SHPA host seminars for pharmacists wanting to make the transition so keep an eye out for those.


Interested in taking a step into the big bad world of Big Pharma? Actually, it’s not THAT bad. Plus there are heaps of options for pharmacists to work in the pharmaceutical industry:

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Medical affairs
  • Clinical research
  • Regulatory affairs
  • Pharmacovigilance
  • Health economics
  • Medical science liaison
  • Medical information

All are great options for pharmacists. You might want to have a chat with a recruiter to work out which of these roles would suit you.

Defence Force

Both the Army and Air Force hire pharmacists either as permanent members of the Defence Force, reservists or even as civilians.

It can be an interesting career option, with opportunities to work overseas and exposure to situations you might never otherwise come across.


There are heaps of opportunities for pharmacists to work at both State and Federal Government level. Some roles are geared specifically for pharmacists, others are just generally for someone with a tertiary degree in health. Options include:

  • Public health & population health policy
  • Medicines regulation
  • Project management
  • Medicare
  • Primary Health Networks
  • Inspector
  • Poisons Information
  • Health economics

Some roles will require further education or training, like a Masters degree in Health Economics or Public Health, but you should be able to get your foot in the door with your B.Pharm or M.Pharm, a solid resume and great responses to the targeted questions.

Academia & Research

Of course, you can go back to Uni as a lecturer, tutor or to complete research. There are also opportunities to get involved in clinical research if that’s your thing.

Non-Government Organisations

An NGO might be an option for you with opportunities like:

  • Program coordinator
  • Project officer
  • Clinical consultant
  • Pharmacy liaison officer
  • Practice support
  • Quality assurance
  • General Manager/CEO
  • Medical writing


A few more out of the box options for you.

  • Got a go get ’em attitude and heaps of ideas? Maybe entrepreneurship is the way to go.
  • More of a do-gooder? Consider volunteering overseas for an organisation like Medicines Sans Frontiers. While it’s not a paid opportunity it will give you an amazing experience and your skills and expertise will benefit those in need.
  • As with Government, there are opportunities at consulting firms for people with tertiary education in health disciplines.
  • If you have tech or IT experience then there are many opportunities to combine pharmacy and IT skills.

So, as you can see, no matter where your interests lie there are plenty of career options to get excited about.

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