Health and Pharmaceuticals School Leaver Jobs - Careers Guide

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Want a career where changes and developments in your industry can result in saving and improving lives? Like the idea of using your technical skills to make a difference?

Working in the health sector doesn't necessarily mean spending years in university to become a doctor. You can also get a job in the medicine side, working for pharmaceutical companies or becoming a pharmacist. This means being at the forefront of lab research, promoting new medicines through sales and marketing, and ensuring the medicines are produced correctly and efficiently.

What’s it all about?TOP ^

If you work in production, you may be able to start your career through technical qualifications in engineering, manufacturing or mechanics. Senior positions often require experience from working in the pharmaceutical industry, so if you plan on staying then that will help you achieve higher roles.

If you're interested in becoming a pharmacist, you can find out more about what's involved at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society website. The RPS is a professional organisation that supports pharmacists by helping them develop their careers. The British Pharmaceutical Students' Association is part of this.

Some jobs in this industry will have regular office hours, while positions on a production line, and even a pharmacy, may be given on a shift basis depending on how long the business stays open.

What will I earn? TOP ^

New pharmacists can earn £20,000-25,000, increasing to £30,000-£40,000 in more senior positions. Pharmacy technicians and assistants can earn between £15,000 and £20,000. This is similar for technician-level jobs in this industry.

Where can I work? TOP ^

There are different apprenticeships and levels of qualifications you can get to work as a technician or assistant in this field, but you'll need a university degree to become a qualified pharmacist or researcher.

To become a pharmacist you'll need at least five GCSEs at grade C or higher that include Maths, Physics and Double Science. Then, you'll need A Levels at grade B or higher in Chemistry, and also in Biology, Maths and/or Physics. This will get you into a Pharmacy degree programme, after while you'll spend a year training before you take an exam.

Once qualified, you can work in a clinical or customer focusing pharmacy, or in several related medical and health fields.

What skills do I need in health and pharmaceuticals? TOP ^

You need to be good at following rules, as there are a lot of regulations to adhere to in this industry. If you're working on a production line, you need to be an excellent team player as you all work together to meet quotas and other goals. If you're a pharmacist, it's essential that you develop good people skills so your customers feel comfortable talking to you about the medicines you're giving them. You'll often need basic computer knowledge, too.

Some of the skills you’ll need to demonstrate include:

The healthcare and pharmaceutical business is all about providing excellent health care support to people in need. Good communication skills are needed to help patients uncover difficult conditions or cope with illness, while the pressure to create groundbreaking drugs can be high in the pharmaceutical industry. The hours are often long and exhausting too.

What entry level health and pharmaceuticals jobs can I do? TOP ^

Because of the technical nature of most health and pharmaceutical jobs, most employers will require you to have a degree or a particular qualification. School leavers looking to get into this sector will most likely have to go to university.

Some entry level health and pharmaceutical jobs include:

  • Pharmacist
  • Nurse
  • Midwife
  • Physiotherapist
  • Research scientist
Browse all Health and Pharmaceuticals jobs for this guide