Whether you are already working in the profession or just considering studying in this field, here is a useful guide on the requirements to become a qualified pharmacist in Ireland.

The first organisation you should know about when considering this career is the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI).

This is the organisation responsible for approving and recognising pharmacy degree programmes and all other education and training required for pharmacists to register within the Republic of Ireland.

Anyone who wants to practice as a pharmacist must join their register.

The current standard fee is €540, however there are other costs associated for certain applications.

 

Education 

Irish secondary school students start the process towards becoming an Irish qualified pharmacist through the CAO (Central Applications Office) system.

Here, they apply to study and train to be a pharmacist at university in one of the accredited five-year courses. In Ireland, the qualifications gained while studying to be a pharmacist are a B.Sc. (Pharm.) Honors Bachelor Degree and a M.Pharm (NFQ Level 9).

These are competitive courses to gain access to, with the CAO points required consistently well above the national average.

The first four years of training is spent gaining your initial degree, the Bachelor of Science. This is done through lectures, labs, tutorials and placements. Since 2015, a Masters is also required. This is completed in the final year through a thesis and placement.

Currently, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork and The Royal College of Surgeons are the universities educating and training pharmacists in the Republic of Ireland. 

These courses are also open to both Irish and non-nationals who meet each school’s individual selection requirements.

It is recommended that students try to pick up work experience within pharmacies during their time in education, as this can help prepare them for a future life as a pharmacist.

 

Foreign Qualified

Qualified pharmacists based outside of the country, but within the EU, are eligible to register with the PSI upon completion of a language competency test.

Along with the fees and completed application form, non-Irish qualified pharmacists who gained their qualifications within the EU, need to provide copies of the following documents (along with certified translation, if applicable) to the PSI:

  • Birth certificate
  • Passport or ID card
  • Qualification certificate awarded by the University
  • Registration certificate (if applicable)
  • Language competence requirements

Along with this, the regulator of pharmacists in the country they are currently registered in will have to confirm and certify their professional status with the PSI.

Meanwhile, non-EU applicants and qualifications are individually assessed by the PSI. 

Once a non-EU qualified person has their qualification recognised, they are eligible to apply to register with the PSI’s Register of Pharmacists.

There are two separate costs applicable to this form of registration:

  • Application fee of €1,500 for qualification recognition
  • Standard fee of €540 for first time registration.

 

Brexit 

Brexit has caused confusion for some regarding their situation with the PSI. 

However, it should be noted that pharmacists with a UK qualification already recognised and registered in Ireland will continue to be registered.

Regarding future qualifications and registrations, the PSI has stated that “applicants holding a qualification gained in the UK or NI, which would, but for the fact that these are no longer members of the European Union, be subject to Automatic Recognition under the Professional Qualifications Directive, and who can satisfy the PSI of this, may be able to proceed to recognition in a one step process.”

However, this is a situation that is ever-changing, so it may be worth contacting the PSI to discuss your individual case to gain more clarity.

 

Continuous Professional Development 

Once qualified and registered, pharmacists are required by law to upkeep their professional competence with continuous professional development, or CPD, for short.

In 2013, the PSI set up the Irish Institute of Pharmacy (IIOP) to oversee the development and management of the CPD system for pharmacists in Ireland. They support the development and support of the CPD system for pharmacists throughout the country.

Each individual’s record of CPD is held on an electronic portfolio, which can be accessed through the IIOP website.

The PSI requires pharmacists to demonstrate necessary CPD to maintain their registration.

 

What’s Next?

After becoming qualified, your career in pharmacy is likely to begin in one of three areas: a community pharmacy, a hospital pharmacy or within the pharmaceutical industry. Newly qualified pharmacists also often gain experience working as a Locum, where they cover days in pharmacies and hospitals in a given region.

Working and registering as a pharmacist in Ireland can be a complex ordeal, but it is one that is full of challenges and rewards.

Ireland is a wonderful country to study, work and live in and there are currently a large number of pharmaceutical jobs available for the right people.

Are you one of those people? If you’re looking for a pharmacy role here in Ireland then check out our wide range of jobs we have available today here.