How to Become a Pharmacist in South Africa


Finding a career path can quite challenging, especially if you are one gifted in so many areas of study. No matter how much interest you have in different areas, you still have to pick one out. So here’s a single question. Do you have an interest in being a pharmacist in South Africa?

If your answer to that question is a “yes”, then you just landed on the right page. If you are not sure whether you want to stick with pharmacy as a career path, let’s see if you will be convinced after reading this post.

how to become a pharmacist in South Africa

Who is a Pharmacist?

This question is asked every day, you probably had it running through your mind as you picked out this post. Here’s a simple definition that everyone knows. A pharmacist is an individual that practices pharmacy. It’s really straightforward but if you have no idea what pharmacy is, then you may be more confused.

Pharmacy is the technique and science of preparing, reviewing, and dispensing drugs. It is the profession that stands as the link between pharmaceutical sciences and health sciences. The idea behind this profession is ensuring effective, affordable, and safe use of drugs.

Now that we know this, we can successfully define who a pharmacist is. A pharmacist is that individual that is involved in all aspects of medicine delivery to the patients. When the doctor completes diagnosis and provides a prescription, the pharmacist prepares, packages, and dispenses the medication. They go ahead to give an explanation of what the drugs are for, how it should be taken, and what the patient should expect.

What a Pharmacist Does

Since you are already considering becoming a pharmacist, we have brought you a list of typical job activities of a pharmacist in South Africa.

  • Compilation of medicines.
  • Looks through the prescriptions presented by patients. The pharmacist consequently provides advice to the patients concerning the drugs mentioned.
  • Provides patients medication for less serious ailments without a need for prescriptions, based on study and experience.
  • A wholesaler pharmacist carries the responsibility of controlling how medicine is produced.
  • Looks through the ingredients used in making drugs and the procedures employed.
  • Develops new products and then tests them to be sure that they are healthy for human consumption.
  • Provides information for new products.
  • Markets new products.
  • A pharmacist that works in the hospital is responsible for the dispensing of drugs, surgical material, instruments, and even carrying out administrative duties.
  • Pharmacists conduct a lot of research and training on behalf of their employing firms.

Becoming a Pharmacist in South Africa: Educational Requirements

As expected, you will need to satisfy certain requirements if you are going to become a pharmacist in South Africa. Every country has specific requirements, so this shouldn’t be surprising. These are the basic educational requirements to be satisfied:

  1. A National Matric Senior Certificate that satisfies the requirements for a degree in B. Pharm. in any university in South Africa.
  2. A National Matric Senior Certificate that satisfies the requirements for a diploma in B. Pharm. in any Technikon in South Africa

Please note that each institution will have its own specific entry requirements. However, there are certain courses that you must take and pass in order to qualify to be a Pharmacy student in South Africa.

The compulsory subjects you must pass are:

  • Mathematics
  • Physical Science

The recommended subject for you to pass is:

  • Biology

After completing your pharmaceutical studies, if you are going to practice in South Africa then you need to register with the South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC). We will be discussing a little about this body shortly.

There are certain natural skills you should possess if you are going to thrive and become a successful pharmacist. Examine yourself to be sure you possess these skills:

  • Enjoy working in a team, especially when you don’t have to be the leader.
  • You should have a flair for business.
  • You must be drawn to the sciences.
  • Be accurate and responsible.
  • Possess professional integrity.
  • Be healthy and possess stamina.

The South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC

The South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC) is a statutory body which oversees the affairs of pharmacists within South Africa. The body does not receive any form of subsidies or grants from the government or any other organization (local or international). It is completely funded by its members, made up of certified pharmacists in South Africa.

Members of this council include:

  • Pharmacy students
  • Pharmacy interns
  • Pharmacists
  • Specialist pharmacists
  • Pharmacist’s assistants
  • Pharmacy owners
  • Responsible pharmacists
  • Providers and assessors

The body carries out two duties:

  1. It ensures that all the pharmacists, as well as pharmacist’s assistants registered under the Council, are competent.
  2. Deletes the names of those it sees as unfit to practice.

There are several benefits you enjoy from registering under the SAPC, they include:

  1. You are bestowed a professional status that gives you the right to practice in South Africa.
  2. The professional status accords you public recognition that allows you to get commensurate rewards for your services.
  3. You have proof of how competent you are.

As a member of this body, you are required to pay certain fees annually. These fees cover:

  1. Running of the SAPC.
  2. Administering the profession within the country. This includes maintaining the standards of training and professional practice.

Who Are Your Potential Employers as a South African Pharmacist?

One of the worries anyone may have adopted any career path would be what employment opportunities are available. As a pharmacist in South Africa, you have the following organizations as potential employers:

  1. The South African Government – This includes government hospitals, provincial administrations, government departments, the Defense Force, Universities, Department of Health, and Transnet.
  2. Private companies – This includes Pharmaceutical manufacturers and Research Institutes.
  3. Medium and Small scale companies – Retail Pharmacies.
  4. You could also be your own employer if you are an entrepreneur.

Average Salary of Pharmacists in South Africa

This is another issue that runs through the mind of anyone seeking a career path. This is how much you should expect as a pharmacist in South Africa:

  1. Intermediate Pharmacist – R32,932 – R40,087
  2. Senior Pharmacist – R37,743 – R46,025
  3. Intermediate Pharmacist Assistant – R13,700 – R20,333


By now, you must have gotten a lot of information about how to become a pharmacist in South Africa. If you have any questions, you can ask them in the comments section.

Image Credit:

Related Stuff