College of Medicine and Dentistry

Publish Date

6 August 2020

Related Study Areas

Diversity of experiences

Do you have an interest in health and a passion for helping people?

A pharmacy degree will provide more career opportunities than you might expect.

There are many pharmacy career opportunities besides working in a retail community pharmacy store.

Career options also include: hospital pharmacy, cancer specialist, Defence Force pharmacy, pharmacy visits in the home and for aged care facilities, IT systems pharmacist, medicines development and research and health service management.

Pharmacist Kiralee Gross
Pharmacist Marissa Ryan
Left: Kiralee Gross, hospital pharmacy intern. Right: Marissa Ryan, Cancer Services pharmacist

A lot of people think that pharmacists just stick a label on the box, but that's not the case at all. There’s just so many different avenues and opportunities available to pharmacists that not many people are aware of. Pharmacy is a really interesting degree that can take you many places.
Kiralee Gross, 2019 JCU graduate, current intern at Cairns Private Hospital

It’s great that there are options to work in a variety of settings. I’ve personally worked in community, industry and hospital and have worked in Australia and in the UK.
Marissa Ryan, JCU Graduate, Cancer Services Team Leader Pharmacist, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane

Vince Pappalardo

Owner of Wholelife Pharmacy stores

Be hands on with helping people

Pharmacists are on the front line of health care and are also important members of the healthcare team.

People are able to get a number of their healthcare needs met at their local pharmacy and there are always more services getting added to what we can provide to people.
Vince Pappalardo, JCU graduate, owner of Wholelife pharmacy stores nationwide

It can make such a big difference to the patient’s health outcomes when you carry out home visits as you’ve got the time to properly explain how the medications work. I usually spend about an hour in someone’s home and the clients really appreciate it. They tend to relax and feel comfortable talking about their concerns.
Kate Gill, JCU Graduate, Consultant Pharmacist

Kate Gill (far right) with Wuchopperen Health Service colleagues

Be in demand

JCU pharmacy graduates are in demand for their strong level of skills.

JCU Pharmacy is ranked as the number one university in Queensland for full-time graduate employment for pharmacists (QILT Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017-2019).

I consider pharmacy a trade – a portable career that you can take to any community and work. Similar to an electrician or a nurse or a plumber.
Eddie Gacitua, JCU Graduate, Cocos & Christmas Island Health Service Manager

The Pharmacy course at JCU not only enables us to meet the workforce requirements of regional Queenslanders, but graduates of JCU Pharmacy can practice world-wide at the very edge of primary health care.
Trent Twomey, JCU Pharmacy Graduate, Alive Pharmacy owner, Senior National Vice President at Pharmacy Guild of Australia

Trent Twomey

Owner of Alive Pharmacy and Senior National Vice President, Pharmacy Guild of Australia

Make a real difference

When working in regional, rural and remote communities, a community pharmacist’s role often takes on added healthcare responsibilities.

Hospital pharmacists also play a vital role in the hospital healthcare team. Working closely with doctors, specialists, nurses and patients, the hospital pharmacist can gain an exceptional overview of the healthcare system.

I’m really excited about the way pharmacy is heading in the future; we are building more relationships with doctors and I think it’s just going to grow. There’s a push to get pharmacists into health clinics and make us part of the allied health team. The future of pharmacy is looking very promising as there will be a lot of places you can go with it.
Kate Gill, JCU Graduate, Consultant Pharmacist

Hospital pharmacists have a good view of all the different departments because they are moving through all the different areas of pharmacy within the hospital but they are also moving within all the different healthcare teams of each department of the hospital.
Eddie Gacitua, JCU Graduate, Cocos & Christmas Island Health Service Manager

Eddie Gacitua

Cocos & Christmas Island Health Service Manager

Make a global impact

JCU Graduate Tamara Lee signed up with the Defence Force during her studies and went on to become a specialist in the logistics and supply of medical and pharmaceutical supplies for various global missions.

Tamara was part of the World Health Organisation’s development of an emergency health kit for use in natural disasters. There’s also plenty of army reserve work around for pharmacy students who are interested, and who knows what adventures that may lead to?

Flying around the Himalayas, up in the Kashmir region between India and Pakistan, in black hawk helicopters is definitely a career highlight… I have also been the pharmacist in support of the entire Middle East region, taking requests from Iraq, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Egypt and Israel and sending pharmaceuticals, equipment and consumables to all these places.
Tamara Lee, JCU graduate, Senior Army Pharmacist

Pharmacist Anthony Curro
Pharmacist Tamara Lee
Left: Pharmacist Anthony Curro, Sugar Research Australia. Right: Senior Army Pharmacist Tamara Lee.

Gain transferable skills

Pharmacy is a fantastic foundational degree that produces graduates with sound chemistry and biology underpinnings, as well as a strategic mindset that prepares you well for the role of health service manager.

As a pharmacist you learn to multi-task and you are taught to drill into detail and then simultaneously step back and have a look at the bigger picture as well. Those skills are ideal for any strategic, high level tasks. 
Eddie Gacitua, JCU Graduate, Cocos & Christmas Island Health Service Manager

Pharmacists are also sought-after members of research teams, whether that be for medicine development or agriculture bio-security.

I found that the scientific background I gained from my pharmacy degree came in handy for the research and development side of the agricultural industry…Whether you stay in community or hospital pharmacy, or do something completely different like I did, a degree in pharmacy can set you up for life. 
Anthony Curro, JCU Graduate, Regional Coordinator for Sugar Research Australia

Sidony Miller-Waugh

Paediatric Pharmacist, Queensland’s Children’s Hospital, Brisbane

Hone your communication skills

Unlike what many people would expect, sometimes pharmacy can involve very little dispensing of medicines and more of an educational and instructional role.

Throughout the JCU Pharmacy course you will have the opportunity to role play scenarios with volunteer patients, communicating your knowledge of the practical use of medicines, treatment options, and preventative health care strategies.

The pharmacy degree at JCU really emphasised people skills, how to be mindful of people, show empathy and understand that we are all different. I love being able to build a rapport with my customers so that they feel comfortable in discussing their health with me.
Vince Pappalardo, JCU graduate, owner of Wholelife pharmacy stores nationwide

Having a child go through cancer treatment is such a difficult thing for the whole family, but I find being able to make an impact with that really appealing. I enjoy educating about the use of medicines and empowering families on how to manage the condition at home. Consider a career in pharmacy if you’re interested in health service and if you’re interested in educating and helping empower people, because that is what a pharmacist does. 
Sidony Miller-Waugh, JCU Graduate, paediatric pharmacist at the Queensland’s Children’s Hospital, Brisbane