Pharmacists ensure safe and quality use of medicines, and optimise health outcomes by contributing to selecting, prescribing, monitoring and evaluating medicine therapy, and researching, testing and developing pharmaceuticals and medical products.
receiving prescriptions, checking patients' medicine histories, and ensuring optimal dosage and methods of administration and drug compatibility before dispensing
preparing or supervising the preparation and labelling of liquid medicines, ointments, powders, tablets and other medications to fill prescriptions
advising prescribers on drug incompatibility and contra-indications
reviewing and monitoring the medicine therapy of individual patients, and assessing the effectiveness of the total medicine therapy
maintaining prescription files and recording issue of narcotics, poisons and habit-forming drugs
storing and preserving vaccines, serums and other drugs subject to deterioration
supplying non-prescription medicines, and diagnostic and therapeutic aids
supervising and coordinating the work of Pharmacy Technicians, pharmacy interns and Pharmacy Sales Assistants
conducting research to develop and improve pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and related chemical products
conferring with Chemists, Engineering Professionals and other professionals about manufacturing techniques and ingredients
testing and analysing drugs to determine their identity, purity and strength in relation to specified standards
developing standards for drugs used in pharmaceuticals
JSA produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. The latest data are for the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. Over this period, the number of workers:
- is expected to grow strongly
- is likely to reach 37,700 by 2026.
Source: Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Notes: The number employed includes people who work in this occupation as their main job. People who work in more than one job are counted against the occupation they work the most hours in.
Employment projections figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Calculations based on these rounded figures may result in differences to the numbers that are displayed on this page. Employment projections data (including occupations) can be downloaded from the Employment Projections page.
Number of Workers
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Earnings and hours
Around 68% of people employed as Pharmacists work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is similar to the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 43 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
Median full-time earnings are $1,980 per week, this is much higher than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $1,924
- 1 in 4 earn more than $2,548
Median hourly earnings are $52, this is more than the all jobs median ($41 per hour).
Sources: Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average. Full-time median earnings and median hourly earnings: ABS, Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021. Compared to all jobs median.
Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)
|Earnings||Pharmacists||All Jobs Average|
Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
Most Pharmacists work in the Retail trade industry. They are also employed in industries like:
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2021.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Pharmacists||All Jobs Average|
Around 70% of Pharmacists live in capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 62%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Pharmacists is 34 years. This is younger than the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 25 to 34 years.
Females make up 62% of the workforce. This is 14 percentage points above the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Pharmacists||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||3.8||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
A bachelor degree in pharmacy is needed to work as a Pharmacist. Some workers have a postgraduate qualification.
Registration with the Pharmacy Board of Australia is required.
- Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
- ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Pharmacists||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||19.5||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||0.4||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Pharmacists who can connect with others, provide good customer service and have good communication skills.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Reading work related information.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Talking to others.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Teaching people how to do something.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
54%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Looking for ways to help people.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
52%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
50%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
50%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Using maths to solve problems.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
72%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
65%Medicine and dentistry
Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities, including preventive health-care measures.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
54%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
54%Therapy and counselling
Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.
53%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
49%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
49%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
41%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
37%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
36%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
28%Economics and accounting
Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.
27%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
27%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Listen to and understand what people say.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Communicate by speaking.
Read and understand written information.
Write in a way that people can understand.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
55%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
52%Working with numbers
Add, subtract, multiply, or divide.
Choose the right maths method or formula to solve a problem.
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Notice differences between colours, including shades of colour and brightness.
See details that are far away.
Put together small parts with your fingers.
Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
82%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
81%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
80%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
71%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
69%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
68%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
67%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
67%Making sense of information and ideas
Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.
67%Helping and caring for others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support.
66%Giving expert advice
Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups.
66%Working with the public
Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.
65%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
65%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
60%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
58%Communicating with the public
Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.
58%Managing payments and orders
Monitoring and controlling resources and the spending of money.
58%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
58%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
56%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
54%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Interests and demands
Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
100%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
Talk on the telephone.
Talk with people face-to-face.
99%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
98%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
96%Consequence of error
Work where mistakes have serious consequences.
96%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
95%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
Use electronic mail.
94%Responsible for outcomes
Take responsibility for the results of other people's work.
91%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
90%Repeating same tasks
Repeat the same tasks or activities (e.g., key entry) over and over, without stopping.
Work with people in a group or team.
89%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
Work to strict deadlines.
84%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
84%Spend time standing
Spend time standing at work.
84%Angry or unpleasant people
Deal with unpleasant, angry, or rude people.
81%Disease or infection
Be exposed to disease or infections.
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 29-1051.00 - Pharmacists.
Links and downloads
Research and reports
The Skills Priority List provides a current labour market rating and a future demand rating for nearly 800 occupations nationally. Current labour market ratings are available for occupations at a state and territory level.
Occupation profiles data are available for download.
The Employment Projections are available for download.