Community pharmacist - works to ensure the correct and safe supply of medical products to the general public while abiding by legal and ethical guidelines; involved in maintaining and improving people's health by providing advice and information and supplying prescription medicines.
Hospital pharmacist - works in a hospital pharmacy service primarily within the public sector; uses specialist knowledge to dispense drugs and advise patients about the medicines they have been prescribed; works collaboratively with other healthcare professionals to devise the most appropriate drug treatment for patients.
Research scientist (life sciences) - involved in designing, conducting and analysing experiments, either with a definite end use (to develop new products, processes or commercial applications) or to broaden scientific understanding in general.
Jobs where your degree would be useful
Science writer - researches, writes and edits scientific news articles and features for business, trade and professional publications as well as specialist scientific and technical journals and the general media.
Product/process development scientist - works with research scientists to develop new ideas and scientific discoveries, which are generated into new materials and/or products for manufacture; develops and improves existing products.
Regulatory affairs officer - ensures the appropriate licensing, marketing and legal compliance of pharmaceutical and medical products such as medicines, chemicals, pesticides, therapeutic devices and other products.
Higher education lecturer - facilitates learning and carries out research activities in universities and some colleges of further education; teaches academic or vocational subjects to undergraduate and postgraduate students aged 18 upwards using methods including lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical laboratory demonstrations and field work.
Pharmacologist - investigates how drugs and chemicals interact with biological systems; aims to understand how drugs work so they can be used effectively and safely; carries out research to aid drug discovery and development.
Toxicologist - plans and carries out laboratory and field studies to identify, monitor and evaluate the impact of toxic materials and radiation on human and animal health, the environment and the impact of future technology.
Clinical research associate - sets up, monitors and completes clinical trials that examine the effects, risks, efficacy and benefits of a medicinal product. These are carried out before a product reaches a hospital or the shelves of the local pharmacy.
Undertaking a placement or gaining relevant work experience will greatly enhance your employability. It shows potential employers that you are enthusiastic and that you can apply the skills you have learned during your course to the workplace. Most retail chains offer summer placement programmes in community pharmacy lasting between six and eight weeks. Some employers will recruit their pre-registration trainees from these programmes. It is also possible to gain experience in a hospital pharmacy, although this may be unpaid and last from a few days to a few weeks. Experience in a retail environment or voluntary work in a healthcare setting will enable you to develop valuable skills including customer or patient care, and will increase your knowledge of over-the-counter medications.
Although some of the jobs listed here might not be first jobs for many graduates, they are among the many realistic possibilities with your degree, provided you can demonstrate you have the attributes employers are looking for. Bear in mind that it’s not just your degree discipline that determines your options. Remember that many graduate vacancies don't specify particular degree disciplines, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. Look at your degree... what next? for informed advice on career planning and graduate employment, or login/register with My Prospects to find out what jobs would suit you, a helpful starting point for self-analysis.
Explore types of jobs to find out more about the above options and related jobs.
Pharmalife - for NHS pre-registration placements in hospitals in England or Wales.
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