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Job As a Pharmacist in Australia

Pharmacist on duty in remote Australia with the text Job as a Pharmacist, Qualifications and How to Apply

There are opportunities for overseas-trained Pharmacists with the right qualifications and skills to live, travel, and work here in Australia.

Whether it’s a short locum assignment, a three- to six-month contract, or even a permanent role, Pharmacists are in High Demand and you have a fantastic position to find jobs in Australia.

In this article, I will cover all the essentials you need to know.

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1. Overview of Pharmacist Job Available

There are a wide range of Pharmacy jobs available in Australia. According to Labour Market, there are over 42,500 people currently employed as a pharmacist in Australia with the industry expected to have a 9% increase in employment numbers over the next 3 years to 2026.

There is a wide range of different Pharmacy roles available in Australia – here are the most common types:

If you have a skill set in any of the above specializations your skills could well be in demand.

1.1 Benefits of Working as a Pharmacist in Australia For Foreigners

Here are some of the top benefits that I think many foreigners enjoy while working in Australia:

  1. Close proximity to the Beach – The majority of the cities and towns in Australia are located on the coast or in very close proximity to the ocean. Meaning you can live and work close to the beach.
  2. Great Work-life Balance – There is a great emphasis on having a work-life balance in Australia and working to live not living to work attitude. Many companies endeavor to provide a great work-life balance and strive to not make employees work ridiculous hours. As an Australian worker, I enjoy 4 weeks of paid annual leave per year as well as 12 public holidays (depending on the state).
  3. Great Weather – In most parts of Australia you will enjoy excellent weather for the majority of the year. The northern parts of Australia have a tropic climate meaning they have very mild winters and the weather is 20+ degrees Celsius on average all year around.
  4. Remuneration – The pay for Pharmacists in Australia is very good compared to the majority of OECD countries in the world. See the next section for more details.

1.2 How Much Are Pharmacists Paid in Australia?

The salary and wages for Pharmacists in Australia are well-compensated compared to other OECD countries in the world. Here is a breakdown of what you can expect to earn as a qualified Pharmacist in Australia

  • Entry Level Graduate (less than 3 years) experience – Entry-level graduates generally earn between $61,000 – $65,000 AUD per year
  • Experienced Pharmacists (More than 3 years experience) – Earn between $65,000 – $80,000 AUD per year
  • Senior Pharmacists (more than 5 years experience) – Earn between $91,000 – @114,000 AUD per year

As you can see the pay levels for a Pharmacist in Australia can be pretty good. It is important to note that regional positions often pay quite a bit less but the standard of living is still high.

Now, Let’s go through what you need to become as a Pharmacist in Australia as a foreigner.

2. Job Requirements

There are a few requirements you need before you can work in Australia as a Pharmacist, let us go through what you will need.

2.1 Visas

The most important thing you will need to work as a Pharmacist in Australia is a Visa. There are several different types of visas you can obtain, so I have made it simple for you by detailing the most common visa types and how to get them.

2.1.1 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) 494 Visa

The visa is now available for Pharmacists and is relatively easier to obtain than the other Visa Subclasses.

This visa allows you to work in Australia for 5 years and provides a great pathway to Australian Residency Status.

Note: This visa requires you to work in Regional Parts of Australia not in Cities such as Brisbane, Melbourne, or Sydney but further abroad in smaller Regional Cities and Towns. I will cover more of this in Section 3.

Here is the link for more information on what’s required and how to apply for the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) 494 Visa

2.1.2 Other Visa Types

There are a large number of other visa types you can apply for the most common types of visas you could obtain are as follows:

  1. Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) Subclass 186
  2. Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) Subclass 187
  3. Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Subclass 482
  4. Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa, Subclass 489

If you take a look at the Department of Immigration website there you can find the right type of visa for you.

I have created a handy guide for getting Sponsored in Australia that provides an in-depth guide to make the process much easier on getting a sponsored visa in Australia.

2.2 Qualifications

To work as a pharmacist in Australia you will need to have your eligibility assessed by the Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) to become a Registered Pharmacist in Australia. When assessing the eligibility the APC will review your experience and qualifications you have from your home country to assess eligibility.
Becoming a pharmacist in Australia involves several steps. Below, I’ve broken them down into easy-to-follow steps for you:

2.2.1 Step 1 – Skills Assessment

You will need to check if your overseas qualification is accepted in Australia. This is done through a Skills assessment.

2.2.1 Step 2 – Pharmacy Exams

The second step once your degree has been recognized is to sit a Pharmacy exam.
There are two different types of exams, depending on the role you are looking for you need to decide which one is more beneficial for you.

The two types of exams are:

  1. Knowledge Stream Exam (KAPS) – This is a two-hour closed-booked KAPS Exam. The knowledge stream applies to candidates who completed their qualification in any country outside Australia, Canada, Ireland, the UK, New Zealand, or the U.S.
  2. Competency Stream Exam (CAOP) – This is a two-hour closed book CAOP Exam that can only be undertaken if you received your qualification in Canada, Ireland, The UK, New Zealand, or the U.S.

2.2.3 Step 3 – Start an Internship

Step 3: Start an internship – You will need to complete a short internship to apply for registration. The internship is training under an Approved Supervisor.

If you visit the Pharmacy Board Page you will find all the requirements to complete your internship.

2.3 Experience

You will need to hold a minimum of a University Degree to be eligible for Registration as a Pharmacist in Australia. You will complete an internship as part of your registration process which will enable you to have the required experience to work as a pharmacist in Australia.

Like most professions, the more experience you have, the higher your remuneration and the easier it may be for you to find a job.

3. Where are the Pharmacy Jobs

Australia is a huge country with 7 different states, the largest states by population are New South Wales and Victoria. 

According to the latest ABS census, around 40,000 Pharmacists are working across Australia broken down by state as follows:

Percentage of Pharmacists Nationwide
New South Wales
Western Australia
South Australia
Northern Territory

New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland – Capital Cities of Sydney (NSW), Melbourne (VIC) & Brisbane (QLD)

These are the main hubs for Pharmacist jobs in Australia. From the table above over 75% of Pharmacist jobs in Australia are located in either New South Wales (29.3%), Victoria (26.8%), or Queensland (20.3%). 

However even though the more pharmacists are needed in these areas, the highest demand positions may be in the regional towns where you may also be able to get sponsored.

Map of australia highligting QLD, NSW, and VIC

Note: On subclass 494 Sydney, Melbourne & Brisbane will not be eligible to receive Sponsorship

Western Australia & South Australia – Capital Cities of Perth (WA) & Adelaide (SA)

Map of australia highligting Western Australia and South Australia

These states offer nearly 20% of the Pharmacist jobs in Australia. Although they have a much smaller amount of Pharmacist jobs than the larger 3 states they should still be considered.

These areas can also be highly desirable place to live.

For example, Western Australia has some of the best beaches in Australia but is generally considered a less desirable state to live in due to being removed from the more densely populated East Coast of Australia. 

Tasmania, ACT & Northern Territory – Capital Cities Hobart (TAS), Darwin (NT), Canberra (ACT)

The remaining states Tasmania, ACT, and NT have combined less than 5% of Pharmacist jobs in Australia. Therefore when searching for a job in these states you may find it difficult as there aren’t many employers. However, these states provide great opportunities if you hold a subclass 494 visa as the whole state of Tasmania and Northern Territory is considered Regional.

Remote Australia

Remote Australia Presents a great opportunity if you are on a Subclass 494 Visa as these areas are eligible as regional Australia.
The remote parts of Australia generally find it extremely difficult to fill many roles in Health Care services. This is due to the extreme remoteness causing very few Australians to uproot their lives and relocate there.

Therefore this presents an opportunity for you if you are looking for a job. You may find it easier to find a job in these areas. These areas often pay higher salaries to attract staff and have much lower costs of living with sometimes an accommodation supplement offered to attract workers.

4. How to Apply

To apply for Pharmacist jobs in Australia there are many different job search websites that you can use.

The most popular job advertising websites we have here are:

There are also some very popular healthcare-specific job search websites, here are some of the most popular.

4.1 Recruitment Agencies

It is worth getting in touch with a recruiter especially if you are looking at gaining a sponsorship visa. The recruiters have a large number of industry contacts and can make the process of finding a job much simpler.

If you are still overseas, apply to Recruitment Agencies up to two years before you arrive and jobs within a month of arrival. This helps to determine which City and State has the best opportunities and assistance may be offered with professional Registration and your Visa.

I have created an in-depth guide to getting a sponsorship job in Australia that also has some very useful tips about getting a sponsorship job in Australia. Be sure to check out my full guide.

5. Conclusion

Working and living in Australia offers an excellent lifestyle and a great work-life balance. Many people have come to Australia sometimes on a temporary visa and decided to live here. The pay rates are relatively high compared to the cost of living and you may find a great life in Australia.

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