Industries

pharmaceutical

Apprenticeships, Degree Apprenticeships and Work Experience

Pharmaceutical


If you wish to cure the most heart-wrenching of diseases or even just fix the common cold, the pharmaceutical industry may be the perfect industry for you. The discovery, development and manufacture of drugs and medicine is crucial to the survival of our society and you too could work in this highly rewarding sector.

Industry Summary

The pharmaceutical industry is a noble field that has many opportunities for those of all educational standards. The sector employs innovative minds to research, develop, produce and market medicines – and it isn’t easy, to work in this industry you must be able to work as a team and prepared for a good challenge.

For many in the pharmaceutical industry, it’s the desire to help improve the lives of other people that drives them – this is truly a career that helps you give something back to the people who most need it. If variation is what you’re after this sector is perfect for you. Technological advancements and the changing healthcare needs of the general population mean that your role will constantly be reacting to the bigger picture – whether that’s the tools you use when creating medicines, or the new illnesses that you’re trying to cure.

There are a huge range of roles to pursue in the pharmaceutical industry, open to a range of qualification levels. For instance, to pursue a pharmaceutical sales role you may not necessarily need a qualification but may be employed based on your experience, however, for other science-based roles, you’ll be required to have a specific degree in a related field such as chemistry.

 

What options can I take for a career in the pharmaceutical industry?

 

Work Experience

If you’re still unsure if the pharmaceutical industry is the right path for you, work experience is an ideal way to find out. Not only will you get a chance to see what it’s like to work in the industry, but you’d get to talk to others to find out how they got where they are and maybe even make some useful contacts in the future. Having work experience will show employers that you’re genuinely interested in working in the pharmaceutical industry and have some of the skills that will make you a great employee. Why not contact your local pharmacy or doctor’s surgery and see what they can offer you?

Unsure about what a work placement could involve? You should’ve asked!

 

Apprenticeships

As an apprentice, you’ll have the opportunity to get stuck in. You’ll have a full-time salaried role working alongside experienced colleagues who are able to guide you, but you’ll also be working towards a qualification (that your employer will pay for) which will see you go far in your career. You have the chance to apply your theoretical knowledge into your job to continually improve until you know all the ins and outs of the pharmaceutical industry. Furthermore, why not consider a Business Administration apprenticeship – with this you’ll have the skills to work within the pharmaceutical industry such as in a pharmacy or in a production plant.

  • Level 2 – Pharmacy Services Assistant

Want to know what apprenticeships are all about? We have you covered!

 

University

University is one of the most common routes for people to take with an interest in the pharmaceutical industry. Not only will a university degree give you all the theoretical knowledge you’ll need in your future pharmaceutical career, but it will also give you the essential capabilities that employers want to see in their graduate employees. You can also choose your modules which will allow you to specialise in certain areas of the pharmaceutical sector – this may help you direct your career to a certain route in the future. Here are some examples of pharmaceutical degrees for you to consider:

  • Diagnostic Radiography BSc (Hons)
  • Toxicology BSc (Hons)
  • Pharmaceutical Science BSc (Hons)
  • Pharmacology BSc (Hons)
  • Pharmaceutical and chemical Sciences BSc (Hons)
  • Pharmacy Science and Health BSc (Hons)
  • Pharmaceutical Chemistry BSc (Hons)

Want to find out what University could offer you? We have your back!

 

Graduate Jobs

Huge amounts of pharmaceutical companies offer employment to recent graduates, some also running graduate schemes to better prepare their candidates. These schemes deliver a structured training programme to their recruits in order to give them a better understanding on the running of the company. Most roles in the pharmaceutical industry require a science-based degree, but there are some opportunities for others to gain work – most notably business or economics-based graduates who can support the commercial functions of the business.

Want to know what graduate jobs are all about? We can help!

 

Other routes

Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical industry is one wherein a qualification is highly important as it deals with the vital issues of people’s health. Most roles in the sector require a certain amount of training and so accreditation of this is looked for by most employers. If you’re interested in a career in the industry but are worried that you may not be suitably qualified, why not seek out training providers and see how you could go about gaining the training you’ll need for your dream role.

Start your search for your perfect career in pharmaceuticals

Career Progression, Discover Your Future

Chemical scientists

Work Description

Chemical scientists analyse and research physical aspects of chemical structure and change within substances and develop chemical techniques used in the manufacture or modification of natural substances and processed products.

Qualification

Entrants usually possess a degree. Entry may also be possible with an appropriate BTEC/SQA award, an Advanced GNVQ/GSVQ Level III, or other academic qualifications. Further specialist training is provided on the job. Some employers may expect entrants to gain professional qualifications.

Job Tasks

develops experimental procedures, instruments and recording and testing systems; conducts experiments to identify chemical composition, energy and chemical changes in natural substances and processed materials; analyses results and experimental data; tests techniques and processes for reliability under a variety of conditions; develops procedures for quality control of manufactured products.

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Analyst, chemical Analyst, chief Analyst, county Analyst, public Assistant, research Associate, research Chemist, analytical Chemist, chief Chemist, consulting Chemist, development Chemist, electroplating Chemist, government Chemist, industrial Chemist, inorganic Chemist, laboratory Chemist, managing Chemist, manufacturing Chemist, metallurgical Chemist, nuclear Chemist, organic Chemist, photographic Chemist, physical Chemist, polymer Chemist, research Chemist, research and development Chemist, shift Chemist, superintending Chemist, technical Chemist, textile Chemist, works Chemist Consultant, chemical Director of research Doctor of chemistry Electro-chemist Flavourist Head, section Manager, research Officer, experimental, chief Officer, experimental, senior Officer, research Officer, sampling, milk Officer, scientific Officer, technical Researcher Scientist, research Scientist Worker, research 

Estimated Pay

Information on weekly pay (average, median and decile) is taken from a combination of two sources: the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE); and the Labour Force Survey (LFS) (both conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS)). ASHE is widely regarded as the most reliable source of information on Pay and Hours, however it does not include information on pay by qualification as well as some other characteristics (such as self-employment).

Unemployment Data

The level and rate of UK unemployment for this career path measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) as a percentage, using the International Labour Organisation's definition of unemployment.

Projected Employment Levels

Estimated Hours

Biological scientists and biochemists

Work Description

Biological scientists and biochemists examine and investigate the morphology, structure, chemistry and physical characteristics of living organisms, including their inter-relationships, environments and diseases.

Qualification

Entrants usually possess a degree. Entry may also be possible with an appropriate BTEC/SQA award, an Advanced GNVQ/GSVQ Level III, or other academic qualifications. Further specialist training is provided on the job. Some employers may expect entrants to gain professional qualifications.

Job Tasks

studies the physical and chemical form, structure, composition and function of living organisms; identifies and studies the chemical substances, including microbial infections, involved in physiological processes and the progress of disease; performs tests to study physiological and pathological characteristics within cells and other organisms; researches the effects of internal and external environmental factors on the life processes and other functions of living organisms; observes the structure of communities of organisms in the laboratory and in their natural environment; advises farmers, medical staff and others, on the nature of field crops, livestock and produce and on the treatment and prevention of disease; monitors the distribution, presence and behaviour of plants, animals and aquatic life, and performs other scientific tasks related to conservation not performed by jobholders in MINOR GROUP 214: Conservation and Environment Professionals.

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Adviser, agricultural Adviser, horticultural Adviser, poultry Adviser Agroclimatologist Agronomist Agrostologist Anatomist Assistant, research Assistant, research Assistant, research Assistant, research Assistant, research Assistant, research Associate, research, clinical Associate, research Associate, research Associate, research Associate, research Associate, research Associate, research Associate, research Bacteriologist Biochemist Biologist Biotechnologist Botanist Breeder, plant Chemist, agricultural Chemist, biological Chemist, forensic Chemist, soil Conchologist Consultant, agricultural Consultant, arboricultural Consultant, dairy Consultant, farming Consultant, fisheries Consultant, forestry Consultant, horticultural Cytogeneticist Cytologist Cytotaxonomist Director of research Embryologist Endocrinologist Engineer, genetic Engineer Entomologist Examiner, forensic Fieldman Fieldsman Geneticist Helminthologist Herpetologist Histologist Histopathologist Horticulturalist Horticulturist Hydrobiologist Ichthyologist Immunologist Kinesiologist Lepidopterist Limnologist MLSO Manager, arboricultural Manager, research Manager, research Manager, research Manager, research Manager, research Manager, research Manager, research Microbiologist Monitor, trials, clinical Mycologist Naturalist Nematologist Neuroscientist, computational Nutritionist, agricultural Nutritionist, animal Nutritionist, research Nutritionist, ruminant Officer, advisory, district Officer, advisory Officer, advisory Officer, experimental, chief Officer, experimental, senior Officer, fatstock Officer, field Officer, field Officer, horticultural Officer, production, milk Officer, research Officer, research Officer, research Officer, research Officer, research Officer, research Officer, science, laboratory, medical Officer, scientific, laboratory, medical Officer, scientific Officer, scientific Officer, scientific Officer, scientific Officer, scientific Officer, scientific Officer, stock, live Officer, technical Officer, trials, field Ornithologist Osteologist Parasitologist Pathologist, plant Pathologist, veterinary Pathologist Pharmacologist Physiologist Researcher Researcher Researcher Researcher Researcher Researcher Scientist, agricultural Scientist, animal Scientist, aquatic Scientist, audiological Scientist, biomedical Scientist, clinical Scientist, forensic Scientist, horticultural Scientist, laboratory, medical Scientist, laboratory Scientist, marine Scientist, research, fisheries Scientist, research Scientist, research Scientist, research Scientist, research Scientist, research Scientist, research Scientist, research Scientist Scientist Scientist Scientist Scientist Scientist Scientist Scientist Serologist, veterinary Silviculturist Systematist Taxonomist Technologist, biomedical Technologist, genetic Toxicologist Virologist Worker, research Worker, research Worker, research Worker, research Worker, research Worker, research Zoologist 

Estimated Pay

Information on weekly pay (average, median and decile) is taken from a combination of two sources: the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE); and the Labour Force Survey (LFS) (both conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS)). ASHE is widely regarded as the most reliable source of information on Pay and Hours, however it does not include information on pay by qualification as well as some other characteristics (such as self-employment).

Unemployment Data

The level and rate of UK unemployment for this career path measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) as a percentage, using the International Labour Organisation's definition of unemployment.

Projected Employment Levels

Estimated Hours

Pharmacists

Work Description

Pharmacists dispense drugs and medicaments in hospitals and pharmacies and advise on and participate in the development and testing of new drugs, compounds and therapies. They counsel on the proper use and adverse effects of drugs and medicines.

Qualification

Entrants possess a degree in pharmacy. To register with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, entrants must have completed a one year period of pre-registration training and passed a registration exam. Further training is available to permit pharmacists to prescribe medicines independently.

Job Tasks

prepares or directs the preparation of prescribed medicaments in liquid, powder, tablet, ointment or other form following prescriptions issued by medical doctors and other health professionals; advises health professionals on the selection and appropriate use of medicines; highlights a drug’s potential side effects, identifies harmful interactions with other drugs and assesses the suitability of treatments for patients with particular health conditions; checks that recommended doses are not being exceeded and that instructions are understood by patients; maintains prescription files and records issue of narcotics, poisons and other habit-forming drugs; liaises with other professionals regarding the development, manufacturing and testing of drugs; tests and analyses drugs to determine their identity, purity and strength; ensures that drugs and medicaments are in good supply and are stored properly.

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Adviser, prescribing Associate, pharmacovigilance Chemist, homeopathic Chemist, homoeopathic Chemist, nos Chemist, pharmaceutical Chemist Chemist Chemist and druggist Druggist MPS Manager, dispensary Manager, pharmacist's Manager, pharmacy Manager Manager Officer, pharmaceutical Owner Pharmaceutist Pharmacist 

Estimated Pay

Information on weekly pay (average, median and decile) is taken from a combination of two sources: the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE); and the Labour Force Survey (LFS) (both conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS)). ASHE is widely regarded as the most reliable source of information on Pay and Hours, however it does not include information on pay by qualification as well as some other characteristics (such as self-employment).

Unemployment Data

The level and rate of UK unemployment for this career path measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) as a percentage, using the International Labour Organisation's definition of unemployment.

Projected Employment Levels

Estimated Hours

Pharmaceutical technicians

Work Description

Pharmaceutical technicians work in hospitals or in the community and assist pharmacists in the preparation and dispensing of drugs and medicines.

Qualification

Entrants to training usually possess GCSEs/S grades or the equivalent. Training is typically a combination of practical experience and study at a college or by open learning towards vocational qualifications. To register as a pharmacy technician with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain an NVQ/ SVQ in Pharmacy Services at Level 3 is required

Job Tasks

checks received prescriptions for legality and accuracy; prepares drugs and medicines under the supervision of pharmacist; prepares specialised, tailor-made drugs for intravenous administration by hospital medical staff; labels and checks items prior to dispensing; maintains records of prescriptions received and drugs issued; advises patients or customers on the use of drugs prescribed or medication purchased over the counter; checks stock levels, orders new stock from pharmaceutical companies and ensures that drugs are stored appropriately.

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Technician, checking, accuracy Technician, checking Technician, dispensing Technician, management, medicines Technician, pharmaceutical Technician, pharmacy 

Estimated Pay

Information on weekly pay (average, median and decile) is taken from a combination of two sources: the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE); and the Labour Force Survey (LFS) (both conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS)). ASHE is widely regarded as the most reliable source of information on Pay and Hours, however it does not include information on pay by qualification as well as some other characteristics (such as self-employment).

Unemployment Data

The level and rate of UK unemployment for this career path measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) as a percentage, using the International Labour Organisation's definition of unemployment.

Projected Employment Levels

Estimated Hours

Pharmacy and other dispensing assistants

Work Description

Pharmacy and other dispensing assistants work under the supervision of pharmacists or other relevant health professionals to dispense drugs and medicines, issue pre-packaged prescriptions, sell over-the-counter medication, dispense spectacles and contact lenses and other related products.

Qualification

Entrants usually possess GCSEs/S grades. Training is typically received on-the-job, supplemented by study towards vocational qualifications. NVQs/ SVQs are available in relevant areas and at various levels, and apprenticeships may be available.

Job Tasks

checks received prescriptions for legality and accuracy and confirms patients’ or customers’ details; maintains records of prescriptions received and drugs issued; checks stock levels, rotates stock, orders new stock from supplying companies and ensures that products are stored appropriately; arranges displays of merchandise; relays information to customers under the direction of pharmacist or other health professional; carries out sales transaction, wraps and packages goods.

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Adviser, healthcare Adviser, optical Adviser, sales, optical Assistant, care, health Assistant, chemist's Assistant, chemist's Assistant, counter, medicines Assistant, counter, pharmacy Assistant, counter Assistant, counter Assistant, dispensary Assistant, dispenser's Assistant, dispensing, optical Assistant, dispensing, pharmacy Assistant, dispensing Assistant, dispensing Assistant, healthcare Assistant, lens, contact Assistant, optical Assistant, optician's Assistant, optometrist’s Assistant, pharmaceutical Assistant, pharmacist's Assistant, pharmacy Assistant, sales Assistant, shop, chemist’s Consultant, optical Dispenser, chemist Dispenser, pharmacy Dispenser Officer, technical, assistant 

Estimated Pay

Information on weekly pay (average, median and decile) is taken from a combination of two sources: the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE); and the Labour Force Survey (LFS) (both conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS)). ASHE is widely regarded as the most reliable source of information on Pay and Hours, however it does not include information on pay by qualification as well as some other characteristics (such as self-employment).

Unemployment Data

The level and rate of UK unemployment for this career path measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) as a percentage, using the International Labour Organisation's definition of unemployment.

Projected Employment Levels

Estimated Hours

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