How does one become a pharmacist?

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Pharmacy is an exciting career and becoming increasingly popular among boys and girls. The following Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses are taught in different Indian universities.

  1. Study courses?

Diploma in Pharmacy (D. Pharm.) a 2 years course after 10+2.

Bachelor in Pharmacy (B. Pharm.) a 4 years course after 10+2. Lateral entry into the B. Pharm. course in the second year is available after completing Diploma in Pharmacy.

Master of Pharmacy (M. Pharm.) a 4 semester (2 years) course in different specializations.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. D.) in Pharmacy in respective specialization.

Doctorate in Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) a 6 Years course after 10+2 in Pharmacy will cater to the needs of Hospital and Clinical Pharmacy (Pharmaceutical Care). Pharmacy Council of India has recently introduced this course.

  1. What are the basic attributes for a pharmacist?

Pharmacy is the art & Science of preparing and dispensing medications and the providing of drug-related information to the public. Pharmacists are an educated & trained personnel in the field who makes and dispenses drugs and provides valuable drug information as a member of health care team.

Pharmacists are most accessible members of today’s healthcare team and often are the first source of assistance and advice on many common ailments and health care matters.

  1. What are the new areas of study in this field?



Novel drug delivery systems

Pharmaceutical Biotechnology

Pharmaceutical Management


Drug Regulatory Affairs

  1. What about the job prospects in the pharmaceutical industry & other emerging areas? What can be the starting salary?

Working for pharmaceutical companies can be highly rewarding and professionally satisfying. Various opportunities for employment in the industry could be as follows:

  • Medical Representation (Pharmaceutical Marketing)

Multinational and indigenous drug companies employ pharmaceutical graduates for promoting their products. Emoluments at entry level are from Rs 15000 to Rs 25000 Success in this career depends upon personality, communication skills, relationship with doctors and other health care team members. Graduates usually join as Medical Representatives / Management Trainees and may rise to become the Head of Sales / Marketing division with salaries up to Rs 1 – 2 lacs per month. 

(II)Pharmaceutical Manufacturing         

Pharm. graduates are employed in Pharmaceutical production of tablets/capsules, liquid orals, ointments, and suppositories or in the production of injections and eye drops. Emoluments at entry level are from Rs 15000 to Rs 20000 per month (during the training period of 18 months). Graduates usually join as chemists and may rise to become the head of the Plant with salaries up to Rs 1 lac per month. After an apprenticeship period of 18 months, they are approved as manufacturing chemists as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1945.

(III).Quality Assurance/Quality Control

This is a very important activity. The drugs are required to be safe, effective and of good quality. The quality of the drug is built in by following current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). Finished dosage forms are analyzed according to Pharmacopoeial or other prescribed procedures to ensure that they conform to established quality standards. Emoluments at entry level are from Rs 15000 to Rs 20000. Desirable personal attributes for this career are good subject knowledge, clarity of mind and aptitude for learning.  Graduates usually join as Officers / Executives and may rise to become the Head of the plant with salary up to Rs l – 3 lacs per month.

(IV).Research & Development (R&D)

Discovering of new drugs, new dosage forms, new procedures for manufacturing, discovering new chemical utilities, finding new uses for existing drugs or developing new analytical methodology are some of the activities performed by the R & D department. The minimum requirement is M.Pharm./Ph.D. in Pharmacy. Emoluments at entry level are from Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 depending on the brand equity of the company. Desirable personal attributes for this career are scientific aptitude, good subject knowledge, aptitude for learning and creativity and innovation. Candidates usually join as Research Associates/ Scientists and may rise to become the Vice-President /Director of R&D with salary up to Rs 5 lacs per month.

(V)Clinical Research Pharmacovigilance

The pharmacists can be a member of the clinical research team in hospitals and other institutions apart from contract research organizations (CRO’s) involved in clinical research. India has an immense potential to emerge as a global leader in the clinical research industry.

(VI)Community Pharmacy & Retail Pharmacy

This is the career opportunity for most D. Pharm. and some B. Pharm. graduates.

Provision of Pharmacy services at retail counters is the professional service a pharmacist performs. The pharmacist is involved in purchasing, storing and proper dispensing of medicines. The minimum requirement is a diploma in pharmacy. Income in retail pharmacy ranges fro Rs 15000 per month to up to Rs 1 lac per month.

(VII) Hospital Pharmacy

In the hospital environment, the pharmacist is involved in providing drugs for out-door patients and for the supply of drugs to in-patients inwards. Interaction with patients, nurses, and doctors is often necessary to give drug related information on its proper use, dosage, interactions, contraindications and side effects. Economic purchase of drugs and proper storage is a vital component of a hospital pharmacist’s job.

(VIII) Jobs in the Government Sector

Central and state governments employ pharmacists as drug inspector for licensing and control of sales premises as well as approval and licensing of manufacturing premises. Continuous monitoring of sale and manufacturing premises is done by drug inspectors. Drugs analysts are also employed by the government in various laboratories to perform analysis of drug samples. Emoluments at entry level are from Rs 35000 to Rs 45000. Candidates usually join as Drug inspectors / Chemists / Analysts and may rise to become the Drugs Controller / Director of the government laboratory.

(IX) Teaching/Academics

With the continuous expansion of pharmacy education, there is an increasing need for qualified teachers. M. Pharm. and preferably Ph.D. degree is required for appointment as Lecturer. Emoluments at entry level are from Rs 25000to Rs 35000. Desirable personal attributes for this career are good communication skills, aptitude for learning and good subject knowledge. Candidates usually join as lecturers and may rise to become the H.O.D/ Dean / Vice-Chancellor of a university.

(X) Regulatory Authorities

With the new patent regime impending, there is a critical need to generate IPR awareness among the students for the protection of intellectual property. The graduates in pharmacy can do P.G. Diploma in regulatory affairs & thus can take up jobs in the regulatory affairs department of various medium and large scale pharmaceutical industries.

(XI) Higher Studies Abroad

Many graduates proceed to USA, Canada, Australia and European countries for higher education such as M.S., Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research, M.B.A., etc. They have to clear exams like GRE, TOEFIL, GMAT, IELTS, etc. Many students obtain research/teaching assistantship there to partially pay for their foreign education. A number of candidates get absorbed there in various fields like Community Pharmacy, Hospital Pharmacy, and Industrial Pharmacy.

(XII) Opportunities in Allied careers after B. Pharm.

A graduation in pharmacy provides a very good platform qualification for diversification to other fields in the newly emerging areas. A pharmacy graduate with M.B.A. degree is a good blend & value-added pharmacy degree for jobs in pharmaceutical marketing. Similarly, B.Pharm graduate can exploit biotechnology field by pursuing masters in biotechnology & can later enter into vast opportunities in this area.

Due to the implementation of product patent regime in India post-2005, pharmacy graduates along with L.L.B and/or specializations in IPR/ Patent Attorneys etc. will have excellent opportunities in this field.

(XIII) Self Employment or Business

Graduates in Pharmacy with entrepreneurial skill can start manufacturing units or drug testing laboratories. Some pharmacists can become consultants and provide expertise for the setting of new pharmaceutical units and be solving of formulation problems.

(XIV) Pharmaceutical Journalism

Pharmacy graduates with excellent communications skills have started magazines, journals, and newspapers providing information about developments in the field of pharmacy and medicine.

In conclusion, we can say that profession of pharmacy provides the excellent opportunity to one and all to match their intrinsic abilities and interests and grow in the broad spectrum Landscape available to them unlike many other professions’. I strongly recommend you to choose Pharmacy as the career and discover your potential and grow your overall personality as per the contemporary needs.