10 Main Training Steps You’ll Have to Take to Become a Pharmacist in Ireland

10 Training Steps to Qualify for Pharmacist Jobs in Ireland

Becoming a pharmacist takes a lot of time and training. Keep reading for all the training you’ll need to qualify for pharmacist jobs.

Are you thinking about pursuing a career in pharmacy?

A pharmacist is one of the best healthcare jobs you should consider training for.

However, the process can be long and complicated, and there are several hoops you’ll have to jump through before you’ll be allowed to practice.

In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to do in order to qualify for pharmacist jobs. Read on to find out how to get started.

How to Become Eligible for Pharmacist Jobs

Whether you’re looking to work as a hospital pharmacist, a pharmacy technician, a support pharmacist or to set up your own independent pharmacy, you’ll need to follow these steps.

1. Have a Leaving Certificate in Chemistry

Before you can start thinking about higher education, you’ll have to satisfy the minimum requirements at secondary school.

Generally, most courses require a leaving certificate in Chemistry. If you weren’t able to achieve this in secondary school, don’t worry. Mature students can gain this certification later down the line by enroling at an adult learning center.

2. Apply to a Recognized Univerity

There are three universities in Ireland that are recognized by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland. If you’re doing your training within the country, you’ll have to attend one of these institutions in order to complete a valid course.

The first is University College Cork. Their school of pharmacy provides a ‘Level 9 MPharm degree’ course, which is a five-year course covering pharmaceutical and medicinal chemistry, drug delivery, drug action in the body, and the clinical and practical aspects of pharmacy. In order to be eligible to apply, you’ll need to possess an H4 in chemistry, as well as an H4 in either physics or biology.

The second is Trinity College Dublin. There, you can study a Bachelor’s degree in science (pharmacy).

This is a prestigious school and is ranked as one of the top 100 universities in the world for pharmacy and pharmacology studies. Their BSc course is in high demand and only accepts seventy students each year. This means that candidates need to possess much more than the minimum criteria in order to guarantee that they can secure a place.

The third is Royal College of Surgeons Ireland. This is Ireland’s largest medical university, and the only one offering education in specialist health services.

Like University College Cork, this school offers a five-year BSc Mpharm course. This course also includes a community pharmacy placement program, which is completed over 12 weeks.

3. Complete a National Pharmacy Internship Programme

The training process for pharmacists in Ireland changed in 2015.

This meant that all pharmacy courses are now integrated with Master’s degree programs.

If you completed your Bachelor’s degree before that time, you don’t need to do it all again in order to become qualified as a pharmacist. Instead, you can top up your qualifications with a National Pharmacy Internship Programme (NPIP).

If your Bachelor’s degree is accredited by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland, you’re automatically eligible for the course.

The NPIP is a twelve-month course, which includes practical training and the study of the following modules:

  • Physiology
  • Natural Sources of Drugs and Substances used in Medicines
  • Formulation and Pharmaceutical Technology
  • Molecular and Chemotherapeutic Pharmacology and Clinical Therapeutics
  • Blood, Cardiovascular and Renal Pharmacology and Clinical Therapeutics
  • Neuropharmacology and Clinical Therapeutics
  • Physical Pharmacy, Formulation and Pharmaceutical Technology
  • Advanced Drug Delivery and Molecular Pharmaceutics
  • Advanced Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Drug Discovery and Design
  • Addiction Pharmacy
  • Practice of Pharmacy and Integrated Pharmacy Skills
  • Professional Practice and Public Health
  • Organisation and Management Skills

While studying these modules, students participate in several different types of learning activities as well as standard lectures and seminars. There are also laboratory sessions, online assignments, teaching sessions in small groups, and site visits.

At the end of the programme, successful students are awarded a Master’s degree.

The previous method of doing a four-year Bachelor’s degree plus a separate NPIP is in the process of being phased out. In 2019, this option will no longer be available and the NPIP will encapsulate all the required training in a total of five years.

4. Do a Research Project

No matter which type of course you’re studying, you’ll have to complete a dissertation or research project. This will make up the majority of your total grade.

The project allows you to choose a specific field of study, such as flu vaccinations, medication shortages, compliance with prescription requirements, or anything you’re particularly interested in. This research can be laboratory-based or field-based.

During this project, you’ll work one-on-one with a tutor, who will mentor you to provide guidance, feedback, and support.

5. Think About Specific Pharmaceutical Jobs

There are many different types of positions that you can hold once you’ve completed your pharmacist training.

As well as hospital pharmacists and community pharmacists, there are also positions in pharmaceutical sales and pharmaceutical science.

During your studies, consider which type of position you think would suit you. This way, you can tailor your research projects and work placements to focus on that area. As a result, you’ll be well-prepared for a position in your field of choice.

6. Complete an Internship

Some pharmacy students complete summer internships as part of their studies. These are usually carried out in the second or third year of a course.

These can be completed in a variety of professional settings. Some schools offer opportunities for students to gain work experience by allowing them to work on the premises during semester breaks. However, if students prefer, they can go much further afield to do their internships.

There are opportunities to take part in placements abroad. In most cases, institutions allow students to carry them out in countries like Germany, Austria, France, Canada, America, and Australia.

If you choose to do your internship abroad, you won’t have to fund it all by yourself. The Erasmus programme provides funding for students who go abroad. If this kind of funding isn’t available, the school may be able to provide it instead.

7. Pass the Pharmaceutical Licence Examination

When you come to the end of your studies, you’ll be required to sit at a pharmaceutical license examination.

This will ensure that you satisfy all of the required criteria and are eligible to dispense medication and advise both patients and medical staff of their effects. This is undoubtedly the most challenging part of the entire process, and once you’ve passed the examination, you should have no problem finding a job in the field.

If you require any extra support leading up to the exam, you can seek the assistance of a tutor or an agency who can provide coaching services. This will make the process as easy as possible.

8. Pass the Professional Registration Examination

Pharmacists in Ireland can’t practice until they’ve passed the Professional Registration exam.

This examination is held only two times per calendar year. All eligible candidates are required to sit for the exam on the first date of the year, while the second is reserved for those who were unable to attend due to illness or exceptional circumstances.

Candidates must take the exam within three years of completing the rest of their training. However, it should be noted that this three-year-period does not include statutory leave, such as maternity leave or sick leave.

9. Register with the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland

After you’ve completed and passed your academic and practical training courses, there’s one final step you have to take before you can start work.

You’ll also need to register with the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland. You’re only entitled to do this after successfully passing the professional registration exam.

On their registers, they store and publish the details of every pharmacist who is approved to practice in the country. This ensures that you meet the requirements and standards of training and service to the public.

For first-time registration, you’ll have to pay a fee of €540.

10. Pursue Continuous Personal Development

When you’ve become qualified and registered, you’ve done enough to take your first steps into the pharmaceutical industry. However, your learning won’t stop there.

Under the Pharmacy Act 2007, all pharmacists in Ireland must abide by the Continuous Personal Development rules. This requires a commitment to lifelong learning and means that you have to maintain your professional competency. You can do this by keeping up to date with the latest research and taking regular courses to further your knowledge.

You must also keep a record of your personal development and present it to the Irish Institute of Pharmacy on request, usually annually. Otherwise, you could lose your listing as a registered pharmacist.

Find the Right Job for You

Now that you know how to get qualified, the next step is to start looking for training courses to suit you and sending off applications.

Once you’ve graduated and followed all the steps listed above, you’ll be ready to start your career as a pharmacist. When you do, we can help you find the right position.

At MedDoc, we keep a database of all the latest pharmacist jobs in the medical industry. Check out our job listings to see what kind of roles you’ll be applying for.