Clinical Pharmacist Training and Development

Prospects for career development for pharmacists in primary care are increasing, with opportunities to develop knowledge and a range of technical, clinical, educational or managerial skills.

Many Pharmacists undertake further training to gain additional qualifications (e.g. Independent Prescriber module/ Advanced Clinical Practitioner Masters course.) There may be opportunities to take on education roles (e.g. secondment to university Pharmacy programmes/ Training Hub preceptorship programmes) and some Pharmacists may become partners in their practice.

What are the entry requirements to train as a Clinical Pharmacist?

ou need to study for an accredited Masters degree in pharmacy (MPharm). Universities across the UK offer the course, which lasts four years, full time.

To get onto a Master’s course in pharmacy you need three A-B grade A-levels in chemistry and biology, maths or physics along with five GCSEs (grades A-C), including English language, maths and at least one science.

Or you could use alternative qualifications, including:

  • Foundation degree in pharmacy
  • BTEC, HND or HNC which includes science
  • Relevant NVQ
  • Science-based access course
  • Equivalent Scottish or Irish qualifications.

After university, to become a fully qualified pharmacist you’ll need to:

  • Work for a 1-year pre-registration period under supervision in a community or hospital pharmacy
  • Pass a registration exam (General Pharmaceutical Council)

Is there a training pathway for Pharmacists who want to work in General Practice?

CPPE has developed the Primary Care Pharmacy Education Pathway to align the education requirements of the pharmacists with the NHS Long Term Plan and the primary care Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service.

The 18-month pathway builds on the success of the Clinical pharmacists in general practice education and the Medicines optimisation in care homes pathways and will equip pharmacists with the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to work in various patient-facing roles in primary care networks as part of a multidisciplinary team. Pharmacists will be able to access a range of different study methods to suit different learning styles, a continuous assessment process and support from supervisors and peers.

Enrolment is via the Centre for Postgraduate Pharmacy Education (CPPE) 

As part of your application, you will need to upload your CV and a proof of employment form completed by your employer. You can download a copy of this from the CPPE website. When your application is accepted, you will receive an electronic welcome pack and a CPPE education supervisor will contact you to discuss your learning needs analysis.

Where can Pharmacists in the early stages of their careers find information about career pathways?

Health Education England has developed an e-learning programme for healthcare professionals including pre-registration / foundation pharmacists, to help them make informed career choices and effective applications for their next career steps.