New Job Suggestions for Pharmacist

Hello everyone,

I’m in my early 30s and have been a pharmacist for coming on 10 years now.

I’ve come to the point where the low pay and poor career progression has worn me thin.

I’m tired of being on my knees for the boss but am at a cross roads on what options I have.

I’ve considered a lollipop man but don’t want to be in the sun for more than 10 minutes at a time.

I don’t want to go back to study nor am I particularly determined enough to take up a trade.

I’m looking for something that pays over $36/hour where I don’t have to do any full time study and there are some careers progression opportunities.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Otherwise I’ll just keep complaining and put up with it like a big boiii

EDIT: Thanks for all the suggestions!, confirmed a few things but also gave me a few other ideas. Reality is I'll probably continue until I snap one day over something small like that time a customer came and tried to return an item expired for a year with no receipt.

Much appreciated to everyone that posted!


  • +3

    Teaching , only an extra year to study

    • +7

      Apparently Dip Eds aren't a thing anymore. But some unis offer Masters in closer to 1 year instead of 2 (e.g. UNSW's course is 1.3 years full-time).

      • +5

        Yeah masters now, generally 2 years. On a side note, don't do it.

        • -3

          Why not? Decent pay, hard work but short hours for most, and more time off than most professions (but no choice on dates).

          • +8

            @macrocephalic: I'm not going to go into my life story but there are a plethora of reasons that 33% of teachers leave within 5 years in Queensland.

          • +1

            @macrocephalic: Not a teacher here, but have heard and seen (and probably beyond what I can imagine) there are heaps of off school hour work e.g. preparation, marking etc

            • +2

              @zrmx: There is. My aunt was a primary teacher for many years and the amount of unpaid work she did, even teaching even the lower grades, was ridiculous. She loved her job but man, you have to really love teaching to put up with the workload. I hate to think how much extra garbage you have to put up with teaching teenagers or if you work in a rough school.

              • @Blokeinhisundies: Absolutely.

                If it was such a great job (like many people assume), why would so many people study for 4 years and then chose to leave it?

                • +3

                  @Calam05: The same reason that people study for four years in lots of positions and chose to leave. I know plenty of people with law degrees who don't practice anymore, plenty of IT people who either don't work in IT or are in areas only tangentially related to their degree, I know engineers who work in IT, I know economics majors who work in education, I know boiler makers who work in education. Then you can count all the people with degrees in humanities who realistically can't work in their field unless it's academia (not that those degrees are bad, but they tend to be about knowledge rather than employment preparation).

                  Lots of people do study either not knowing what their final job will be, or not knowing if they will actually enjoy their chosen field.

            • +4

              @zrmx: I'm married to a teacher, most of my wife's friends are teachers, my mother was a teacher, a few of our aunts and uncles are teachers, my brother and sister have both been teachers at some point (although they did ESL not school). Some teachers put in a lot of extra work, but most that I know still don't put in 9 hours a day like most office workers. Sure they have to do marking, reporting, and some extra curricular work, but those hours don't necessarily bring them up to 40 per week.

              This doesn't apply to all teachers, but I know plenty of teachers who get away with doing even less.

          • @macrocephalic: Short hours? You’re kidding right? Every teacher I’ve ever known spends multiple weeks of the year marking assignments until 2am.
            Until you’ve been a teacher for a decade you’re spending many nights a week lesson planning. And then the curriculum changes as you can just use last years material.
            Unless you love educating and have the emotional stamina and compassion to support your students, it’s not the kind of job someone ought to just jump ship into

    • Yeah terrible decision. Don't do it OP

      • You're right I double checked and that's aus

  • +4

    35 an hour, really? That's rough considering you could stuff up and kill or vegitate someone.

    Glad I didn't waste years on a degree, IT rules.

    • How is IT? My experience is that the money only really lies in the niche fields

      • +5

        You could get double what you're on with 1 or 2 years basic IT experience in addition to your degree. Start on helpdesk (backwards step initially) or do cert 3&4 IT, get into a big corporate. Easy money.

        • +1

          Any recommendation on course providers/course titles? Interested. 🤔

          • +4

            @oO0Dam0Oo: Australia is literally in need of Cyber Security. Maybe Cert 4 and diploma. They want experience though so a diploma sometimes doesnt even matter.

            • +1

              @HeyHeyHeyIsItADeal: What's the best entry experience for cyber security? I'm pretty happy as a mining engineer but I like the idea of having a career change to something that is more work from home-able so I can travel and work

              • +1

                @900dollaridoos: I have mining engineering degree but I'm a rookie. I have been working at a general office admin job for a while with the govt since i graduated. I'm looking to get back into mining. I have had some interviews, many jobs keep asking for experience before even training me for a grad position.

                I decided I'm going to get some industry experience in mining. I already handed in my resignation letter. I do like working in a big city but I'm a miner at heart.

                I'm starting as a machine operator to work my way up into a mining engineer position, what advice do you have for me, I'm pretty new to the industry. Thanks

                • +1

                  @Jim341: Entry advice would be to move to central qld becuase all the mines are crying for engineers.

                  General advice, work out what you want to do and then stick to it. Eg, I spent my first 3 years at a small mine doing a bit of everything from survey, drill and blast, to bits of design, short/mid term planning, contractor management, even loads of budget work and kissing with CEO and overseas investors. All sounds cool and made me feel like I was essential but now I'm at a 'real' mine I feel like a retard becuase I never got particularly good at anything in particular, so I'm trying to nail down shirt term planning which I should have 2 years ago.
                  That said the route I started on was great if money was my goal as the unique skills meant I got some 200k+ offers straight off my grad program, but they were all in shitholes where as now I get to work low hours and live on the coast. So yeah, decide if you want money, lifestyle, job satisfaction, or the elusive mix of all. For me personally once you hit 150ish mark all that matters after that is increasing comfort and decreasing stress.

                  Also as for the info you gave me, the best engineers I've met have operator experience but unless you are trying to be an absolute gun and go places it's not worth the time sink. You could likely walk into an entry mine engineer role now if you went coal.

                  • +1

                    @900dollaridoos: Thanks for the replay. Whew those were some crazy offers you got. You're right work life balance is great, many people have burnt out of work due to over working and going after high pay. I'll be looking to do drill blast or any other role and stick to it so that i can specialize at it.

                    Central QLD is great i can't wait to move out of NSW once this lockdown is over. I have been applying for some work in qld. I'll go all in and just move to qld since I'm resigning on my current job. Thanks mate, i appreciate your advice.

                    Goodluck a having a look at cybertech and software jobs. Good jobs if you're looking for a career change, my mate is in IT mid managing role 120k plus, he works from home even before the pandemic. He babysit his kid while working. He travels overseas once or twice a year for his work in business class seats with bonuses. Very Flexible work environment with low expectations. He has a degree though.

        • Really? where in IT would I get $70/hr with 1-2 years of Exp? I have a BS in CS and it is difficult to get perm roles with that rate.

    • +10

      Welcome to the modern world, where we penalise the important/functional/useful and glorify the useless (leather kickers aka sport people, “influencers”, thugs etc)

      We really need that asteroid to hit ASAP

  • +2

    what about a medical receptioinst, you can sit down all day, and help out with flu shots,

    • Great idea, do you need any work experience or certificates to help secure a job?

      • +1

        Learn how to do QA documents and basic IT skills will net you over 100k in pharma.

      • TAFE has a medical admin, used to have a receptionist short course, have seen some jobs advertised with no experience required.

      • I just checked, sydney still has the short course, check qld TAFE

        • Got to kidding right ? Go from pharmacist to medical receptionist ?

  • +12

    With you skills/experience can consider things like clinical/medical trials ( and work way up to trial co-ordinator), research assistant at Uni/hospitals ( these can pay really well - like 90k + a year), public health/policy roles. Depending where you are there would be lots of work avail at the moment for Covid tracing ( not sure how much that pays though - probably a bit given it'll be temp work).
    Consider public/hospital pharmacy work for the benefits ( eg salary packaging).

    • Great idea. Much appreciated!

  • +8


  • +1

    You don't want to attain any further qualifications but still want decent money, thats a very tough ask.

    • +1


  • Op, are you tech-savvy?

    • +7

      Only enough to get wrecked at PUBG while I wait for work the next day

      • -4

        If you get a kick out of playing PUBG then why not monetize it. Esports is a 1B industry. People with the right mindset and skills can make a living out of playing Esports while streaming online.

        There is also play and earn NFT. Players can earn $100s p/w. The top players build a collection of NFT which they then lend to other players. These top players can turnover $260k p/m ($45k NET).

        Or you could dive into the world of DeFi.

        The best part is that people can work 24/7 365 days a year from anywhere in the world.

      • What’s your IGN?

        • kanyeasy

  • +5

    Ever thought of moving to a regional area. It is rewarding

    • I have family to support in Brisbane, could potentially do something semi rural. I'll look into it

  • Study medicine?

    • +3

      Really don't want to do that. Not smart or determined enough. Plus I don't want to be grilled as an intern, I'd prefer to grill the customers at the pharmacy

      • +2

        Was a pharmacist for 10 years too. In business / consulting now. The only thing I found pharmacy benefitted me was that nothing else could be worse than being a community pharmacist. It works out great if you want to be part time, but dare I say the odds are against you if you want more out of life as a full time pharmacist.

        at $36-45 you're pretty out maxed out. If you want more you'll need to own in your own pharmacy, a semi decent one you'll be looking at $200-250k income if you like pharmacy that much - but it's a business, and it's very nitty gritty with independent pharmacy ownership. Rural people are heaps nicer than metro customers just imo.

        Otherwise your interpersonal skills you can do pretty much anything, you'll just need to go do another course - like what else are you going to do for another 40-50 years?

  • +5

    My daughter graduated Honours in Music - we know how Covid hit entertainment.
    Got credit and now completing Masters of Nursing.
    Graduates in 18 months, higher pay scale than RN.

    Would I prefer someone with Science based honours to Arts based to nurse me - absolutely.

    • -8

      nursing is more about caring and bedside manner

    • music private tutoring is $120 per hour.

  • +1

    Move to a small country town, work is more satisfying and there's the chance of buying into the business.
    Good luck

    • I agree, Plenty of opportunities in rural Australia.

  • +1

    Heisenberg? A little high risk role never hurt anyone :-D

  • +1

    This must be a wind-up. Breaking Bad comes to mind.

  • +2

    State or federal public servant? Obvious choices would be Department of Health and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Plenty of roles in policy or more quantitative roles such as health analytics if you know statistics.

  • +11

    I was in a similar position, community pharmacy for 5+ years feeling like I wasn't progressing clinically moreso than anything else but just this year I transitioned to hospital pharmacy (with no experience in hospital).
    Pays better, more benefits, definitely more engaging and personally has reinvigorated my passion for clinical pharmacy.
    Keep a look out on Seek. Public hospitals do definitely need more staff and tend to recruit quarterly. Take the opportunities that you find. As mentioned earlier there's plenty of COVID19 vaccination roles so consider upskilling in that department (Eg PSA does a half day training to give you accreditation)
    You'd be surprised how many community pharmacists have transitioned to hospital!
    Another avenue is HMR accreditation!
    Feel free to ask questions if you're interested. I have experience in all the above.

    • Hi Kesslar! I was curious about your experience with HMR accreditation. Do you think it's worth getting accredited and what is the career progression like (as a community or hosp pharmacist?) Would you recommend any particular place to get accredited from?

      Thank you in advance!

      • +1

        Hey Sy,
        Initially I went through with HMR accreditation to boost and test my clinical knowledge.

        In terms of if it's worth getting accredited that would depend on if you see yourself being able to fit in HMR reviews around your usual workload.
        I enjoy the flexibility that it allows, you work on your own terms and it helps to supplement your income.

        I will admit being accredited likely helped my transition to hospital so that was a bonus.
        You'll have to find your own doctors and pharmacies to refer HMR review to you however so that may be a limiting barrier.
        There are pharmacists who do full time RMMR work for aged care facilities that's another avenue you could look into.

        I got accredited via AACP, and did stage 1 (MCQ questions through PSA). From what I know there's a few other stage 1 providers you could probably pick any and be fine. Stage 2 is usually thorough AACP.

        Workload wise there's 4 case studies in stage 2 each probably average 10 hours of work I'd say you can take up to two months per case.

        Let me know if you had any more questions,


  • +2

    Watch Breaking Bad, if you haven't seen it already.

    I can be your partner :)

    • +2

      Buy a wrecked RV and drive out into the desert with some of your stolen stock

  • You could be a lollipop man on Student Free days and get your 10 mins a day in w/Super.
    Follow your sweet dreams.

  • +1

    Clearly a troll post…

    "Something that pays over $36/hour"

    "I’m tired of being on my knees for the boss"

    "I’ve considered a lollipop man but don’t want to be in the sun for more than 10 minutes at a time."

    I don’t want to go back to study nor am I particularly determined enough to take up a trade."

    "Otherwise I’ll just keep complaining"

    Got to choose your sacrifice and take ownership of your future.

    • -2

      I don't disagree. Am really just looking for an easy way out

      • +1

        There's no easy way out
        There's no shortcut home
        There's no easy way out
        Givin' in can't be wrong

    • +1

      Hes right you know.

      Not everything is going to be handed to you on a plate.

  • +6

    You could try ultrasound.

    Post grad entry is 2 years of intense study + Full time paid practical work. Won't be pleasant working full time and studying but the pay is better than pharmacy.

    Base pay once qualified is 120k a year
    Supervisor 140-150 k
    Tutour 160k
    Coordinator 180k
    + weekend shifts and on call work adds 20k to 40 k easily.

    The hard part is convincing a workplace to train you, which might not be too hard with a Pharmacy background (Medical and demonstrates hard work and commitment).

    All of the public hospitals usually have yearly interviews (Extremely competitive, about 100 to 150 applicants for 2 or 3 training spots)
    Private radiology usually only trains internal employees unless there is no internal interest, again being a pharmacist might gain you brownie points.

    Cons: Risk of shoulder/wrist RSI from scanning fat patients all day
    You will be busy, but at least you can sit whilst scanning ;)

    • Haven't thought about that. Thanks for the break down, will definitely look into it!

    • Ultrasound + prepared to travel = a lot of money.

      Eg travelling to regional/remote areas

    • Wow, didn't know ultrasound sonologists make so much!

  • +2

    I was a community pharmacist myself. Moved to a regional town for a job in private hospital, 6 months later, moved to a public hospital. It is more work, you'll have lots to learn but its definitely more rewarding with plenty of pathways to either level up, or specialise in. Currently on 90K plus weekend work (easily additional 15k) with just 3 years hospital experience.

    With Chemist warehouse squeezing other community pharmacies in metro areas, unless you move to rural towns, community pharmacies wont pay you more.

    Good luck!

    • Cwh model only works because unis are pumping out far too many poor quality phaermacists per year.

      Check out the star required to do pharmacy Vs yesteryear. Ouch.

      Remember the low entry requirements next time pharmacists want to do more health roles they are not trained for.

  • What's your salary as a pharmacist after 10 years if you don't mind me asking?

    • OP mentioned in the post "I’m looking for something that pays over $36/hour"
      36 an hour
      71136 a year assuming 38 hour week and no weekend penalty rates.

      • Think I'm around $35/Hr + penalties

  • +1

    I’ve known a few practising pharmacists find work in big corporations in medical agencies or consultant groups like Deloitte. Sometimes they need the niche perspective and expertise of a practising pharmacist / nurse/ doctor. Look there?

    Also, sales. If you’re someone who feels good about hounding people for money (I could never do it)

    • Don't think I have the charisma for sales. thanks for the suggestion though

  • Can you get large quantities of pseudoephedrine

    • In hindsight, should have stocked them up slowly over the years

  • If you do a thread search I remember there was a thread on jobs that are easy that pay over $40/hour, which I think was by AlienC.

    I can understand why you want to get out of it, pharmacists get a raw deal and I have wondered why so many people are keen to become pharmacists. I guess it's a reasonably well respected job.

    I would look into local government. Not that the wages are all that high but most jobs are above 70k and most jobs aren't that hard.

  • +2

    You're underpaid mate. $35 for a pharm with 10 yrs experience? I got the same working as a community pharm 2nd yr out

    • You can get the same driving a tram on the Gold Coast and all you need is a car license lol.

      I remember when everyone thought pharmacy was a ticket to riches but then every man and his dog studied it and now wages are way below what the Average Joe would think a pharmacist gets.

  • Embalmist?

  • "I’m tired of being on my knees for the boss but am at a cross roads on what options I have"

    some people would enjoy that

  • +2

    Open your own pharmacy.

    I have a few friends who run their own and they're rolling in cash.

    There's also "pharmaceutical distributor" but that's a discussion for another time….

    • Have you seen how restirctive pharmacy licensing is? There's geographic limits to how many pharmacies are allowed to operate plus it costs a fat wedge to get a license. You can't just open a pharmacy wherever you want.

      • Is the rule still around where you can open in a new medical centre or one with 8 doctors ?

        What about a freebie rural number?

  • +15

    Lost my IT Service Desk job due to Covid downturn. Typically I applied for office jobs having a BCom in Accounting and IT and no interviews. Got my forklift ticket in Feb this year instead (A day course costing $420).

    Just started a new forklift driver gig 4 weeks ago. 3x12 hour shifts. Day shift pays $75-80k/year, Night shift pays ~$100k/year.

    Base $26/hr. + penalties bringing it up to $40/hr. Worked an overtime shift at $73/hr last week. Switching over to tail-end (Weds/Thurs/Fri, Thurs/Fri/Sat) night shifts next week paying $52/hour and $99/hr from 12-7 AM Saturday, and $99/hr Sat 7pm - Sun 7am.

    Weird hours for night shift but a decent pay packet for blue collar work.

    • +1

      While all that's true its quite a culture shift going from the white collar to the blue collar world.

  • +1

    I'm a pharmacist 15+ years experience, metro community pharmacy. $100k last year, not in hospital. You're doing something wrong.

    • +10

      100k with a degree after 15 years in health. I think you are doing something wrong too.

      That would be the lowest paying job in private health.

      • +8

        What do you propose I do with my pharmacy degree? Like OP have no desire to requalify, no desire to work in hospital as I really dislike the type of people there and don't like the stress of ownership. Sometimes being content is a thing.

        • I don't suggest anything

          I am highlighting that pharmacy is screwed

          If you are reading this, do something the NDIS requires.

          They are booked out for eons and charging a motsa.

          Allied health or psychology is where I'd go if I needed a degree now

          • +3

            @mdavant: Pharmacy has been screwed for a decade, but the financial reward is sufficient for the effort I feel I have to put in. If I was in OP's position I probably wouldn't be so content but my pay packet is a bit more. It also gives me plenty of time to pursue my hobbies and other interest, so work life balance is great.

            My wife is studying psychology. It is ridiculously competitive, she studies day and night. I'll be pushing 40 soon so no thank you. But yes if I went to uni again I would have done something else. I disagree with your comment on the NDIS though. Experience with the pharmacy sector has taught me you never bet on anything provided by the government. They can change on a whim.

    • Seems decent for a community pharmacy. Are you managing the place?

      • $100k isn’t that great with 15 years experience tbh.

        • It's as much as you can expect as a metro community pharmacist. I hear surgeons with 15 years experience make $1mill+ I'm sure they think the same of your job

      • Yes manager

  • -1

    Do CFA, become banker.

  • +1

    I was sent a job in my email, a high reach forklift which I dont have, My father said to me, get a desk job,but I couldnt type. Still cant. I could have been a bus driver, good at driving, but too close to pension now.

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