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!


  • +1

    Pharma sales rep. If your half decent $100k easy.

    • Job security sucks in general and in a covid world?

  • You can earn a lot more by giving the jab to people.

  • +5

    Buy a pressure washer. I made $3100 yesterday for throwing a homeowner's own water back at their house.

  • Work at Colesworth and lobby to have pharmacy deregulated.

    Deregulated pharmacy means more pharmacies which means more jobs.

    Lobby to have pharmacies to have a minimum Amt of pharmacist per Rx eg 1 per 200 per day

    Pharmacists are sold a lie by the guild and PSA.

    The job could be rewarding if pharmacists didn't own pharmacies and there were sensible minimal standards.

    • As for a job.

      Sorry, but your degree is useless for anything in a professional role. You would have to go to uni.

      If you are happy to use pharmacy I would work for the authority line if I was you.

      You have experience and also from your responses sound funny and I personally rate the person highly if they have a sense of humour.

      The problem is that the job seems busy and iirc the PBS line is now able to be staffed by dispense techs.

      • +1

        Wow. I am at a loss for providing realistic appraisals of the pharmacy industry.

        Obviously a couple of govt protected owners on here prepared to neg, without posing an argument.

        Poor form.

        Perhaps the internet negging warriors would like to explain why they are negging.

        Nah, didn't think they had the conviction to do so either.

        • I’m not sure why you’re getting negged either.

    • Lol, you're naive. Once deregulated, you think colesworth would out of the kindness of their hearts not work towards taking advantage of the individual Pharmacist in order to maximise shareholder returns?

      How Chaos at Chain Pharmacies Is Putting Patients at Risk

      • Having worked in a deregulated pharmacy environment in the UK I experienced first hand the work conditions there.

        Naive no, experienced yep.

        Hence the inclusion of certain minimum KPI standards etc. As I clearly put in my post.

        Currently the big players are providing questionable work environments for pharmacists

        • "Having worked in a deregulated pharmacy environment in the UK I experienced first hand the work conditions there."

          The UK sounds pretty bad to me.

          Deregulation may in the short term bring more job openings which causes wages to increase due to the increased demand but at the end of the day these businesses will be fighting for the same slice of the pie. The way I see what happens is that mom and pop stores (with lower volume and better pay and working conditions) will die as corporations with better technology and buying power undercut them or use the dispensary as a loss leader to drive people into their stores. Eventually, these corporations will consolidate and cut Pharmacist hours bringing wages back down. You'd also have managers and directors who don't understand the workflow of a dispensary pushing you to meet unrealistic KPIs. It doesn't sound like a great solution to me.

          What I do find encouraging is the work being done by the PSA which is why I don't understand your agenda against them? From my limited understanding, they seem to be actively working towards creating and standardising different career paths outside traditional community pharmacy for community Pharmacists e.g. Aged care and GP Pharmacists. I believe this is a good thing because it undermines the guilds unofficial mandate to further reduce wages as new jobs will be created that are outside the guild's control.

          • @ligma2000: And what is the PSA doing to ensure that pharmacists aren't pumping out 400 scripts a day by themselves?

            The UK is very mature post deregulation and there are many pharmacies still present. Many pharmacists are employed and paid well (when I was there anyway)

            Stop listening to owner and guild propaganda.

            It is the guild and the government protected owners who are responsible for the current conditions.

            • @mdavant: I don't work for PSA so I don't have the answer to that but I can guarantee that they are/will do much more than Coles/Woolworths would.

              "The UK is very mature post deregulation and there are many pharmacies still present. Many pharmacists are employed and paid well (when I was there anyway)"

              I googled it for you.
              salaries - they aren't great but the NHS doesn't pay well in general.
              closures -

              "Stop listening to owner and guild propaganda."

              I dislike the guild more than most Pharmacists.

              "It is the guild and the government protected owners who are responsible for the current conditions."

              By current conditions, do you mean high workload and low pay?
              As I've mentioned before, deregulation will worsen workloads as we have more Chemist Warehouse, Boots and CVS type players entering the market.

              Pay will always be due to supply and demand and the guild doesn't control this as much as they wish they did. Universities pumping out graduates is not unique to Pharmacy and owners, being rational market participants, will take advantage of it.

              • @ligma2000: I mentioned unis in a prior post.

                You are apportioning blame of these closures to deregulation, where in the article it does mention decreased govt funding. Did you read the article?

                I am surprised you are against minimum standards being introduced into pharmacy. I fail to see how a pharmacy with standards that are policed would be any worse than the status quo.

                A large problem is young pharmacists believe that deregulation is bad because they have been told it is.

                Colesworth is bad is the only argument they have.

  • -2

    The best thing to do is check out low paying jobs and working Centrelink

    Be a sole trader or be in a job where you get paid too much by govnuts with nfi how to compensate for covid lockdowns.

    (I am serious about the working Centrelink part. Our system has so many disencentives to be self sufficient that unless you are a high income earner. I understand why and how people survive on a heavily govt subsidised lifestyle)

    • Looks like a few people are a bit sensitive to the truth

  • +2

    North Coast NSW is pretty much always desperate for nursing and medical staff in the hospitals. I did some Locum work there recently. Wouldn't surprise me if it might also be a touch easier to get into hospital pharmacy there. You can get into the system out of metro, and look to transfer back one day if that's where you want to be.

    My wife is a hospital pharmacist. She would never go back to community. No offence to those that that work in it, it's just not for her.

    Hospital pays a lot better. Better career progression.

    Alternatively I know you said you don't want to do more study, but pharmacy is a great pre-med degree. If you're clever enough for pharmacy you can do med just fine.

    Alternatively, have a look into the pharmaceutical industry. They hire pharmacists for certain rep jobs. I've got friends who do that. Often a lot of travel, but they enjoy it and the pay is good.

    • I have to disagree

      If you were able to get into pharmacy 20 years ago yes, you should be able to do med.

      If you scraped in recently with an altar of 80, then you have no chance.

      Just being a realist

      • Med school in Australia isn't that hard in my experience. Getting in is the battle. I have friends who did post grad med after getting an OP 7 and doing science. When op did Pharmacy it was around an OP2 for entry in QLD. I suspect they will have the brains for it. More a question of if they can get in, and do they have the drive to do another 10+ years of study when they're already in their 30s.

        • Op 10 can get into pharmacy.

          I think if you turn up and don't have narcolepsy you can get into pharmacy.

          I would gather, unless jmp entry( which is almost guaranteed as you said post-grad) your friend had a better uai than an op 7 would equal to get into medicine

          Their op is probably not a reflection of their ability

          • @mdavant: But you're ignoring the fact that the op here likely did not get into pharmacy on an OP10 equivalent. They got in around 14 years ago. This isn't far off when I went to uni when pharmacy was an OP2 in qld. Maybe things were different in their state, I don't know where one would find the historic entry requirements.
            By your own words, someone doing pharmacy 20 years ago could do med. How about 14 years ago?

            • @DisabledUser229012: I can guarantee that pharmacy in qld 14 years ago was atar 80.

              Now you might have gone to Go8 like me, but I know for a fact that jcu has been letting on people in with op much worse than 10.

              (I saw the person's op on a job application form)

      • I'd say I'm more in the scraped by population haha

        • And that's cool. Just scraped by, probably means very difficult to get into and difficult to pass med (but not impossible)

  • +2

    Ever considered becoming a Defence Pharmacist (Air Force or Army)?

    $100k+ in the first 2 years if not already starting there.

    Practice in a potentially challenging environment as well as learn some new skills.

    • Not the most intellectually challenging job in the world.

      • He’ll still be practicing as a Pharmacist. Are you suggesting Pharmacists don’t have the most intellectually challenging jobs in the world?

        • No.

          I am saying a defence force pharmacist is a snoozefest.

    • Don't mind continuing as a pharmacist. More the community gig is getting old with little career progression. Other opportunities with better pay and better opportunities would be better than going back to study. thanks for the suggestion

  • Hold Onto a lollypop is the go apparently…

  • +1

    my mate is a radiographer - he's on his feet all day too but he's very content with his work. Why don't you get good?

    • -4

      I'd prefer to stay mediocre but paid better :P

      • +3

        That's management talk.

      • Have you looked towards hospital pharmacy? wages and conditions are better, although you may need to make a few hospital pharmacist friends who can refer you in.

  • +1

    Get into construction, find an area that will have lots of development for the next 5-10 years. digger operaters here in melbourne can easily pull $200k

    • Boring job. OK for the short term, not long term.

      • +6

        op wants an easy job where hes not on his feet all day and gets paid a ridiculous amount, this basically ticks all of his boxes

        • +2

          Yeh op wants onlyfans

        • It sounds like OP needs a parachute (incase he snaps) from his pharmacist job with decent pay and minimal retraining/outlay. I'm with you, this ticks the boxes.

  • +1

    Public sector.

  • +2

    I'm going to be negative here. What did you expect the pay and career progression to be like…? I mean what else does a pharmacist do except work for a pharmacy? Then one day own your own pharmacy? I'm legit asking here cos I can't see where else it would go from there

    • You're not wrong. When I first left high school it seems to be the most popular choice. Up there with engineering and physiotherapy, but once chemist warehouse took hold it's been a slow decline. Guess I've just put up with it long enough and finally had enough.

  • Also you could get into manufacturing sector. Most of those operator jobs don't require any training beforehand or skills, they'll highly automated nowadays so it ain't like you're swinging a sledgehammer, and the pay is good

    Intelligent and diligent person, they'd probably take you

    • Would I be wrong in assuming that automation will put the job security in danger though?

      • Maybe eventually, a lot of manufacturing requires people to still monitor and adjust, and I don't mean engineers

  • +4

    My wife has worked in hospital pharmacy for many years. She works 3 days a week and on a pro rata basis her income would be around 100k a year if working full time. Also gets salary packaging.

    She says that there was a glut of graduates over a number of years that has put downward pressure on salaries, especially in retail. Retail pharmacies used to be protected from competition but that has all changed with the discount chains moving in.

    • +1

      Get ready for the negs to flow. Said the same thing above.

      Some people have limited understanding of the cause of the problems in pharmacy.

      It was a good career 30 years ago, not now.

      Thank the guild and PSA .

      Unis only provided what they wanted.

      • I also think like MSY in the IT H/W business, CWH killed it.

    • +3

      "Then, everything changed when the Discount Pharmaceutical Nation attacked"

      • “Only the Avatar, master of all four elements, could stop them”

  • +8

    If you don't mind working in sales (more educational than transactional), send me a PM. Plenty of other areas of the business that you can move into once you get your foot in the door.

    Happy to refer you for a job in the Pharmaceuticals industry after a chat on the phone.

  • +2

    When I started pay rises were a thing. You could ask for training allowances, interstate conference allowances etc. The other thing though is the quality of the graduates has dropped significantly over the past few years. There is a lot of regulatory and business knowledge that is needed and the kids just aren't picking it up as fast as they used to. I don't see pay going up if the quality stays at this level.

    • The lower atar leads to lower quality pharmacists in general.

  • +5

    with respect, 10-years of experience you shouldn't be on 36.

    I've been coaching my parter over the years and with combination of weekday hours and some weekends (inc Sundays) she's got 8-years of experience as a pharmacist-in-charge and she's in the $40s (or between low $50s on Saturdays and mid to high $60s on Sundays. Not Lucum/Retail Pharmacist), working part time up to 35-hrs/week, looking at around 88-100k per year,

    Note 4-years ago, she's on $34 an hour at a major pharmacy chain full time with $68k income.

    I'm more than happy to understand your specific scenario a bit more and give you some tips if you'd like. PM me.

  • +1

    Many of our drug reps are trained pharmacists - stay within the industry by becoming a drug sales rep, keep your certification up by doing a few hours a year onsite work and wait for the industry to revolutionize - its coming, so hang in there.

  • +1

    So is it too hard to move to the country and start up your own pharmacy? Isn't that what most pharmacists work towards?

    • The country life isn’t for everyone, even with a slightly higher remuneration.

      • You probably only have to run it for 5-10 years then you can have cheap pharmacists work for you and go back to the city.

  • +3

    I'm a nurse, I hate nursing. So I've gone into the private sector doing e-health, and telehealth. Now I manage a bunch of people doing it and the company continues to grow.
    U can do similar work as a pharmacist. And the pays ok.
    My advice is think about what U like about pharmacy and follow that path.
    My answer was I like telling people what to do as well as not having to deal with patients and relatives. So that is what I chased in a job.
    But ultimately if it's making U depressed get out, because U have the next 40 or so years ahead of U.

    • That's an interesting path. What sort of work do you do in e-health and telehealth (now and when you started?) Does it pay as much as your previous role in nursing?

      Do you find that you can do a lot of your work at home or are you still expected to be in an office somewhere?

      • Telehealth - triage , mental health support, chronic disease support, info lines like pregnancy and perinatal.

        Digital program support for physio, mental health and chronic illness.

        Current job has discharge support and chronic disease management and mental health programs.

        Pay is usually negotiation based … And I negotiated hard. I work mon-fri 9-5 so no penalties. But I don't mind. If I worked shifts I would get paid more in the public system, but as a manager my pay is equivalent.

        I've worked some roles completely virtual. My current position in is a mix of WFH and in office.

  • +2

    If you continue on this path, are you going to have regrets another 30 years later that you didn't try harder and do what you really wanted to when you could?

  • Honestly thought u guys made a lot of money! Think u might just need to move….

    Pretty sure the public Pharmacist in Vic are on 50-60 an hour but I might be wrong im in allied health I thought u guys did better then us?

    • Its weird because I thought people that did dispensary in pharmacies earn over 70-80k and they don't even need a uni degree.

    • Yeah I was under the impression that due to the difficulty of entry into pharmacy for uni, they would be paid $150k+

      • Well at least 100k i feel like 100k is the 'basic' these days for someone with a degree or a trade?

        • 100k is way above the Australian median earnings; and above the Australian full-time median earnings.

          • @Hamlet: Not for skilled workers…. the issue i always have with these 'statistics' is it doesnt take into account skilled vs unskilled.

            Anyone can work at a coffee shop waiting tables not many people can preform heart surgery

            • @Trying2SaveABuck: Noted, I wonder if there are statistics for median salary of degree holders.

              • @Hamlet: Im unsure but i think that data should be collected - there needs to be a distinction between people that put in the hard yards early to get a qualification or a trade and those that chose not too.

                I understand it isnt always an individuals 'fault' but if that data was plan to see you would earn on average 30-50% more with a qualification it might encourage people to stick at school/uni/trades etc

  • Air Traffic Control

    • +1

      That's funnier than OPs jokes.

      • Why’s that fam?

        • +1

          If you read the OP he said he's not interested in further studies. ATC needs diploma of maths or physics to even begin. And nerves of steel.

  • +2

    I would look for a higher paying pharmacist job (honestly 10 years in and being paid in the mid 30's is pretty crap, I pay my pharmacist straight out of internship a lot more than that) or progression to being a pharmacy owner/partner.

    • +2

      Just gonna add my pharmacists are worth every penny. From what I can gather from your attitude, might not be the same for you.

      I suggest being less complacent and going out of your comfort zone

  • +1

    Pharmacist here - have you considered going rural/regional?

    Many jobs available and even partnership opportunities if you are willing to make a big lifestyle change.

    I would locum if you can.

    Get your vaccination accreditation up to date and maybe that can be an avenue of a different career.

  • +2

    Go on seek, search 'Pharmacist' and set your filters and apply.

    There are plenty of jobs out there paying more than what you're getting. Every recent Pharmacy graduate I know makes more than you.

    • Apparently pharmacy grads average a lot less than OP.

      • That's the pre-registration/intern year which is a paid year of training while they do coursework for a Graduate Certificate or Masters (Monash model).
        After successfully completing their internship, they can apply for registration from AHPRA.

        I agree that it's still shit pay for a graduate but that stat is misleading.

  • You could try policing.

    • Are there any pharmacist-related roles in policing or did you mean he should re-train as a police officer?

  • You need to set up shop doing VCE tutoring. Big money in it.

  • Damn, I heard it was really bad for retail pharmacists.

    Any chance you can be a compound pharmacist?

  • that is just not enough jobs for pharmacist in australia. the guild is tightly controlled the numbers of pharmacies can open, even with new shopping centres opens here and there, the centre management is always go for big groups for leasing the shop, which leaves the non-boss pharmacists hard to find anyway to open their own shops.

    also due to limited jobs, boss can pretty much find anyone they want with minimum guild rate.

    • +1

      I disagree, I find it hard to get good pharmacists to fill roles. Plenty of jobs out there that pay decently if you are good at your job

      • Gold Coast

        There's your answer OP. Time for a beach change 🏖

        • Man the key word there is good, not pharmacist

  • what about recruiter for pharmaceutical industry?

  • +3

    my brother in law worked out that working in a pharmacy was no good 20 years ago… he dabled in academia and has since been working in big pharma.. currently in switzerland living the high life.

  • +1

    That's weird, I know someone who does a bit of pharmacy on the side. Has a shed full of Harley Davidson motorcycles and classic cars. Always seems to be floating in cash

    • +5

      Must be the right type of "pharmacy" ;)

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