Ohnourlp
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I'm doing pharmacy and checked graduate prospects and was shocked to see the numbers. After graduation which is basically 5 years, and working for five years, pharmacists are only earning max £35,000. For me ill be 30 then whilst my lawyer friends who studied for 3 years earned 40k at 27 with less debt. Compared to the effort, it doesn't match. I don't care about living a luxurious life but I would like to help out my family. Is this true? Before anyone says don't do a degree for money, I didn't. It's genuinely the only degree that suits me.
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Kerzen
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I don't think that the salary you are quoting for Law really reflects the range of salaries for solicitors in their twenties. There will be a fair few who aren't earning as much as £40,000 at the age of 27.

When young solicitors are getting the higher salaries, they are generally working for firms in the City and it can be really hard going. It's not unknown for them to be asked to work through the night and over weekends and it's not surprising if this is reflected in their salaries.

Having said that, there does seem to be a problem with pharmacy and salaries:

https://www.chemistanddruggist.co.uk...er-pharmacists

It may be that the problem is even more acute for pharmacists in London and the South-East where the cost of living is higher.

It is a really worthwhile career though, I would say.

I wonder whether it would be worth joining the RPS in a student capacity, by the way:

https://www.rpharms.com/rps-membersh...n-rps/students
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Ohnourlp
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(Original post by Kerzen)
I don't think that the salary you are quoting for Law really reflects the range of salaries for solicitors in their twenties. There will be a fair few who aren't earning as much as £40,000 at the age of 27.

When young solicitors are getting the higher salaries, they are generally working for firms in the City and it can be really hard going. It's not unknown for them to be asked to work through the night and over weekends and it's not surprising if this is reflected in their salaries.

Having said that, there does seem to be a problem with pharmacy and salaries:

https://www.chemistanddruggist.co.uk...er-pharmacists

It may be that the problem is even more acute for pharmacists in London and the South-East where the cost of living is higher.

It is a really worthwhile career though, I would say.

I wonder whether it would be worth joining the RPS in a student capacity, by the way:

https://www.rpharms.com/rps-membersh...n-rps/students
Thanks for the links, the first was very depressing but insightful. Where the pharmacist speaks of not being able to raise a family or buy a house is exactly what I am afraid of. Although it is underpaid and stressful, I guess the same goes for nurses. They get even lower, however, their training takes less time. Nonetheless, health care recognition and pay is poor in the UK, we can only hope for change.
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Sarah H.
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(Original post by Ohnourlp)
I'm doing pharmacy and checked graduate prospects and was shocked to see the numbers. After graduation which is basically 5 years, and working for five years, pharmacists are only earning max £35,000. For me ill be 30 then whilst my lawyer friends who studied for 3 years earned 40k at 27 with less debt. Compared to the effort, it doesn't match. I don't care about living a luxurious life but I would like to help out my family. Is this true? Before anyone says don't do a degree for money, I didn't. It's genuinely the only degree that suits me.
The starting salaries for pharmacy graduates are comparable to graduates in many other subjects. Maybe a tad higher.

The very real issue is the almost total lack of career (and salary) progression in Community Pharmacy (where about 2/3 graduates find employment). Ending your career on an inflation adjusted salary more or less the same to where you started is very probable. Experience and additional qualifications count for little. Community Pharmacy is IMO almost unique in this regard.
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ChillBear
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You'll hear stories from pharmacists making abysmal wages or earning the same wage as they did 10/20 years ago despite inflation. Likewise, you'll hear other stories of pharmacists earning quite high salaries.

I think the take home message is it comes down to location, responsibility and willingness to develop yourself. Community pharmacy has little room for improvement but with some looking you should be able to find a place offering 35k-40k annually as soon as you qualify. You can try to become a pharmacy manager and earn between £45-£55k. That's probably the ceiling unless you own a pharmacy yourself. Alternatively, you could try to get into hospital, industry or general practice which have better possibilities for career progression. Hospital is notoriously low to start with but can get quite high for senior roles. General practice is good once you have some experience with starting salaries around £45-£55k and more possible depending on experience and responsibility.
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hana1306
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(Original post by Ohnourlp)
I'm doing pharmacy and checked graduate prospects and was shocked to see the numbers. After graduation which is basically 5 years, and working for five years, pharmacists are only earning max £35,000. For me ill be 30 then whilst my lawyer friends who studied for 3 years earned 40k at 27 with less debt. Compared to the effort, it doesn't match. I don't care about living a luxurious life but I would like to help out my family. Is this true? Before anyone says don't do a degree for money, I didn't. It's genuinely the only degree that suits me.
Hi, I'm not sure where you've got this figure but that seems below average. Though, I agree with you that the salary for pharmacists in the UK is inadequate for the no. of years of study and work loads compared to other countries. There are ways we can increase it e.g. getting a diploma, independent prescribing, taking managerial positions, change sector, run your own pharmacy, etc.,
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Buttmuffin
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(Original post by Ohnourlp)
I'm doing pharmacy and checked graduate prospects and was shocked to see the numbers. After graduation which is basically 5 years, and working for five years, pharmacists are only earning max £35,000. For me ill be 30 then whilst my lawyer friends who studied for 3 years earned 40k at 27 with less debt. Compared to the effort, it doesn't match. I don't care about living a luxurious life but I would like to help out my family. Is this true? Before anyone says don't do a degree for money, I didn't. It's genuinely the only degree that suits me.
35k is fine to live with
this is honest advice, you'll just need to deal with the decisions you've made

you won't ever make as much as lawyers (NQ: 100k 3 years out of uni) or bankers (associate: 150k 3 years out) or prop traders (elite prop: 500k 3 years out) or top 0.2% OnlyFans (>1m+) with pharmacy, unless you become a big pharma rockstar later in your career

you need to compare to the same people in your field - it's pointless looking elsewhere
if you want to switch out of pharmacy to money, try for consulting later on - technical specialists are always wanted
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Ohnourlp
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(Original post by Buttmuffin)
35k is fine to live with
this is honest advice, you'll just need to deal with the decisions you've made

you won't ever make as much as lawyers (NQ: 100k 3 years out of uni) or bankers (associate: 150k 3 years out) or prop traders (elite prop: 500k 3 years out) or top 0.2% OnlyFans (>1m+) with pharmacy, unless you become a big pharma rockstar later in your career

you need to compare to the same people in your field - it's pointless looking elsewhere
if you want to switch out of pharmacy to money, try for consulting later on - technical specialists are always wanted
The only fans reference made me laugh! Very true, the medical field isn't glamourous pay. After doctors and dentists, I think pharmacists are the third-highest paid in healthcare, that may be incorrect though. Don't lawyers undertake further training totalling about 6 years before earning decently?
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Ohnourlp
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Great now I have majorrr anxiety , thanks for the honesty, the universities really don't tell you this. Have you quit already and what have you thought of switching to? At least it is a transferable degree, although quite a waste when entering a different field.
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Kerzen
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There seems to be a small number of opportunities within the Army:

https://www.chemistanddruggist.co.uk...-careers-event
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Buttmuffin
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(Original post by Ohnourlp)
The only fans reference made me laugh! Very true, the medical field isn't glamourous pay. After doctors and dentists, I think pharmacists are the third-highest paid in healthcare, that may be incorrect though. Don't lawyers undertake further training totalling about 6 years before earning decently?
Law at magic circle/equivalent = graduate from bachelors/masters -> 1 year of law qualification (e.g. BPP) at 15-20k (if subsidized + paid by firm) -> join firm as trainee (2-3 years) at 40-60k -> newly qualified associate = 80-150k

In the US, law school takes longer... but they make way more out of school

And for your other comment - I didn't study pharmacy, but my close cousin did - she did a few internships and transferred to consulting after graduation
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Pharmaboy97
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(Original post by Ohnourlp)
I'm doing pharmacy and checked graduate prospects and was shocked to see the numbers. After graduation which is basically 5 years, and working for five years, pharmacists are only earning max £35,000. For me ill be 30 then whilst my lawyer friends who studied for 3 years earned 40k at 27 with less debt. Compared to the effort, it doesn't match. I don't care about living a luxurious life but I would like to help out my family. Is this true? Before anyone says don't do a degree for money, I didn't. It's genuinely the only degree that suits me.
Hey, I always find this subject topic interesting because it's something that worries undergrads quite a lot. I just completed my pre reg year last year and I've started my job as a band 6 hospital pharmacist. I genuinely think that your degree is what you make out of it.

The community pharmacy scene is quite stagnant at the moment, with large multiples dominating the stage and pharmacists with no dignity taking crappy rates to undercut each other. I say this having worked as a counter assistant and dispenser for 4 years during my undergrad. The only way to stand out in community is by doing extra managerial roles but those have a quick plateau as well. The new pharmacy course which is set to be installed soon will also include independent prescribing as part of a 5 year degree potentially. So I think that regardless of whether you're in hospital or community it would be important to get that under your belt.

I personally chose hospital pharmacy, because it means that I can apply a lot of what I learnt and there is a set progression. My starting salary is £37k atm, without accounting for on-calls and weekends and as you climb the bands it gets higher. Most settle at around a band 8a-d which ranges from mid £40k- high £50k. And if you open the right doors, then becoming a chief or deputy chief pharmacists can earn £80-100k. So that's what I mean when I say it's what you make of it. A lot of people will tell you it's hard to get into hospital etc etc. But don't listen to that. You just have to be willing to put in the time and conscious effort to spruce up their CV and application and go through the whole process

I went off on a tangent, but you can earn money in pharmacy if you look in the right places. And that was even without mentioning industry pharmacy gold mine
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0895
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To all 6th formers...the moral of this thread is do some research on the actual job, pay and working conditions BEFORE you apply for a degree course. Not just pharmacy, any degree.
The average pharmacist in the UK earns £42k, and the average non-manager community pharmacist earns £36k (from C&D magazine survey last year.) Pharmacy is NOT a monied profession anymore. If you want a 6 figure salary then try tech, city law, city finance/banking as stated above.

And if you think it is bad now......wait until Amazon start their move into the UK market. They have begun already in the US, and last year, around the start of the pandemic, they pretty quietly registered Amazon Pharmacy UK trademark. So you can see what's coming.

But..... Do not give up all hope, there are ways to increase your salary by up-skilling, as mentioned above.....If you are a current pharmacy student, then be prepared to move around the country to rural areas for a higher salary, then do a diploma, and/or do the IP course, do the advanced practitioner course, or do an MBA (have seen this asked for in senior hospital management roles.)

Also take an interest in personal finance and investing, for a 'get rich slowly' approach. I would strongly recommend you read the following and print it out/save it.
https://bankeronfire.com/how-to-buil...th-in-your-20s
and if really interested there's lots more on making that first 100k, then your £1M!
https://bankeronfire.com/start-here
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Claremont4ever
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If you find a big salary attractive, you will definitely earn it in pharmacy. However, you have to be willing to relocate to areas with a high demand for pharmacists, often economically and socially deprived areas. You also have to be willing to work long hours at great personal expense of your leisure and family time. Commit to all these, and you can earn in excess of £65,000/year as a newly qualified pharmacist. Work extra on your days off and this rises to over £75,000/year.
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Sarah H.
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(Original post by Claremont4ever)
If you find a big salary attractive, you will definitely earn it in pharmacy. However, you have to be willing to relocate to areas with a high demand for pharmacists, often economically and socially deprived areas. You also have to be willing to work long hours at great personal expense of your leisure and family time. Commit to all these, and you can earn in excess of £65,000/year as a newly qualified pharmacist. Work extra on your days off and this rises to over £75,000/year.
@Claremont4ever:

You certainly know how to sell community pharmacy. Not sure if you are really serious. But assuming you are..........

To earn the very untypical sums you mention a young pharmacist would have a very basic existence of working, travelling and perhaps a little sleeping.

The career path you illustrate would likely include relocation,16 hour shifts at supermarket pharmacies, working “in often economically and socially deprived areas” and as you say at “great personal expense of your leisure and family time”. The working week illustrated would be the equivalent of holding down about 2 regular full time jobs.

How many students would find that life attractive in any way? How long before the mental or physical health of the young pharmacist was seriously impacted by this life and how long before the inevitably exhausted same pharmacist made dispensing errors that harmed a patient? Madness. And dangerous.

If you want a large salary AND have a satisfying personal life then pharmacy (especially community) is not for you.
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ChillBear
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For those wanting to know what locum rates are like in the South East here's a sample from an email I received today:

STORE DATE TIMES RATES
Newbury 130 01/02/2021 09:00 - 17:30 £30
Rye 167 01/02/2021 09:00 - 18:00 £30
Newbury 130 02/02/2021 09:00 - 17:30 £30
Newbury 130 03/02/2021 09:00 - 17:30 £30
Lower Earley 022 04/02/2021 09:00 - 18:00 £30
Biggin Hill 081 05/02/2021 08:00 - 18:30 £19.00 - £19.00
Burgess Hill 053 06/02/2021 09:00 - 13:00 £25.00 - £25.00
East Grinstead 216 06/02/2021 09:00 - 12:00 £25.00 - £25.00
Eastbourne, Arlington Road 653 06/02/2021 09:00 - 13:00 £25.00 - £25.00
Gipsy Hill 127 349 06/02/2021 09:00 - 14:00 £21.00 - £21.00
Hastings 061 06/02/2021 09:00 - 13:00 £25.00 - £25.00
Horsham 037 06/02/2021 09:00 - 13:00 £25.00 - £25.00
Merstham 143 06/02/2021 09:00 - 13:00 £25.00 - £25.00
Mount Pleasant 056 06/02/2021 09:00 - 13:00 £25.00 - £25.00
Rye 167 06/02/2021 09:00 - 13:00 £24.00 - £25.00
Sanderstead 082 06/02/2021 09:00 - 13:00 £21.00 - £21.00
Spencers Wood 206 06/02/2021 09:00 - 13:00 £25.00 - £25.00
Widmore 118 06/02/2021 09:00 - 13:00 £21.00 - £21.00
Biggin Hill 081 08/02/2021 08:00 - 18:30 £19.00 - £19.00
Bromley 016 08/02/2021 09:00 - 18:30 £19.00 - £19.00
Finchampstead 660 08/02/2021 15:00 - 22:30 £22.00 - £22.00
Newbury 130 08/02/2021 09:00 - 17:30 £22.00 - £22.00
Rye 167 08/02/2021 09:00 - 18:00 £22.50 - £22.50
Biggin Hill 081 09/02/2021 08:00 - 18:30 £19.00 - £19.00

As you can see there's a select few shifts offering £30 an hour at short notice. Other locum shifts are shamefully low @ £19. Remember that as a locum you will have to travel, you may have to pay for your petrol, you will have to do your own taxes and shifts aren't guaranteed and you may have to pick and choose what's available.

As 0895 mentioned, if pharmacy and money is the way you want to go absolutely up-skill! I have just qualified as an independent prescriber in the last week which will guarantee me a £5k boost to £55,000 at my next annual review. I will be doing further training in the interim to give childhood vaccinations which I feel with independent prescribing may give me bargaining power to push to £60,000. I have also applied for an 18 month course for the Primary Care Pathway starting in March to further specialise in general practice. In 2 year's time this will give me further bargaining power to increase my salary.

If you're young and feel stuck in community I would recommend joining a different sector of pharmacy that gives you room to develop your career.
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Sarah H.
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(Original post by ChillBear)
For those wanting to know what locum rates are like in the South East here's a sample from an email I received today:

STORE DATE TIMES RATES
Newbury 130 01/02/2021 09:00 - 17:30 £30
Rye 167 01/02/2021 09:00 - 18:00 £30
Newbury 130 02/02/2021 09:00 - 17:30 £30
Newbury 130 03/02/2021 09:00 - 17:30 £30
Lower Earley 022 04/02/2021 09:00 - 18:00 £30
Biggin Hill 081 05/02/2021 08:00 - 18:30 £19.00 - £19.00
Burgess Hill 053 06/02/2021 09:00 - 13:00 £25.00 - £25.00
East Grinstead 216 06/02/2021 09:00 - 12:00 £25.00 - £25.00
Eastbourne, Arlington Road 653 06/02/2021 09:00 - 13:00 £25.00 - £25.00
Gipsy Hill 127 349 06/02/2021 09:00 - 14:00 £21.00 - £21.00
Hastings 061 06/02/2021 09:00 - 13:00 £25.00 - £25.00
Horsham 037 06/02/2021 09:00 - 13:00 £25.00 - £25.00
Merstham 143 06/02/2021 09:00 - 13:00 £25.00 - £25.00
Mount Pleasant 056 06/02/2021 09:00 - 13:00 £25.00 - £25.00
Rye 167 06/02/2021 09:00 - 13:00 £24.00 - £25.00
Sanderstead 082 06/02/2021 09:00 - 13:00 £21.00 - £21.00
Spencers Wood 206 06/02/2021 09:00 - 13:00 £25.00 - £25.00
Widmore 118 06/02/2021 09:00 - 13:00 £21.00 - £21.00
Biggin Hill 081 08/02/2021 08:00 - 18:30 £19.00 - £19.00
Bromley 016 08/02/2021 09:00 - 18:30 £19.00 - £19.00
Finchampstead 660 08/02/2021 15:00 - 22:30 £22.00 - £22.00
Newbury 130 08/02/2021 09:00 - 17:30 £22.00 - £22.00
Rye 167 08/02/2021 09:00 - 18:00 £22.50 - £22.50
Biggin Hill 081 09/02/2021 08:00 - 18:30 £19.00 - £19.00

As you can see there's a select few shifts offering £30 an hour at short notice. Other locum shifts are shamefully low @ £19. Remember that as a locum you will have to travel, you may have to pay for your petrol, you will have to do your own taxes and shifts aren't guaranteed and you may have to pick and choose what's available.

As 0895 mentioned, if pharmacy and money is the way you want to go absolutely up-skill! I have just qualified as an independent prescriber in the last week which will guarantee me a £5k boost to £55,000 at my next annual review. I will be doing further training in the interim to give childhood vaccinations which I feel with independent prescribing may give me bargaining power to push to £60,000. I have also applied for an 18 month course for the Primary Care Pathway starting in March to further specialise in general practice. In 2 year's time this will give me further bargaining power to increase my salary.

If you're young and feel stuck in community I would recommend joining a different sector of pharmacy that gives you room to develop your career.
Hi ChillBear,

Thank you for taking the time to post those locum rates. Interesting.

I totally agree with your comment:

“If you're young and feel stuck in community I would recommend joining a different sector of pharmacy that gives you room to develop your career.”

But what I would say is that these sectors only offer opportunity for a relatively small, finite number of pharmacists currently employed in community. Community currently accounts for about 2/3 of registered pharmacists. There lies the problem for prospective pharmacy students.

You made your move at the right time as community is in line for major upheaval and contraction with the impending arrival of Amazon and with the established multiples already promoting their online pharmacy services at the expense of their bricks & mortar pharmacies. Recent adverts from one large multiple state “you don’t have to set foot in a pharmacy unless you want to” referring to their prescription app and delivery service.

Good luck on your future pharmacy career...I am in the final few months of mine.
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ChillBear
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(Original post by Sarah H.)
Hi ChillBear,

Thank you for taking the time to post those locum rates. Interesting.

I totally agree with your comment:

“If you're young and feel stuck in community I would recommend joining a different sector of pharmacy that gives you room to develop your career.”

But what I would say is that these sectors only offer opportunity for a relatively small, finite number of pharmacists currently employed in community. Community currently accounts for about 2/3 of registered pharmacists. There lies the problem for prospective pharmacy students.

You made your move at the right time as community is in line for major upheaval and contraction with the impending arrival of Amazon and with the established multiples already promoting their online pharmacy services at the expense of their bricks & mortar pharmacies. Recent adverts from one large multiple state “you don’t have to set foot in a pharmacy unless you want to” referring to their prescription app and delivery service.

Good luck on your future pharmacy career...I am in the final few months of min
Yeah, community pharmacy employs a large portion of the pharmacy work sector but I'd still say there's plenty of space for pharmacists wanting to join a PCN. Here in my local CCG the PCN pharmacists have formed a WhatsAPP group and we have a monthly meeting on Teams. At our last one we had about 16 members with a few of us joining in recent months. All kinds of ages, from newly qualified to senior pharmacists. Since then we've had a few more join.

Each PCN are reimbursed for 1.0 WTE pharmacist (2 WTE if population >100k) either by 1 full-time pharmacist or 2 part-time pharmacists. That's potentially quite a bit of room for people to join general practice. The 2020 GP Contract put annual pharmacist salary and reimbursement at £55,670. There's also possibilities for pharmacists to become practice partners now, essentially becoming a manager of a practice including its financial responsibilities. Prospective pharmacists have to be committed to further development though as the Primary Care Pathway and Independent Prescribing are qualifications that have to be achieved during general practice work. I think there's still a significant number of PCNs out there that are behind on the times and aren't clued up what pharmacists can offer them. It's probably worthwhile just going around to various practices and trying to sell yourself. After all, the government is reimbursing the wages.

Where does this put community pharmacy? Not in a great spot. I feel like it's an indirect way for the government to shut down community pharmacies further. The wages for PCN pharmacists reflect the further development they undertake but could inadvertently drain manpower from community. Higher pharmacist wages could drive some pharmacies to close. Good or bad, take it as you like.
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0895
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(Original post by Claremont4ever)
If you find a big salary attractive, you will definitely earn it in pharmacy. However, you have to be willing to relocate to areas with a high demand for pharmacists, often economically and socially deprived areas. You also have to be willing to work long hours at great personal expense of your leisure and family time. Commit to all these, and you can earn in excess of £65,000/year as a newly qualified pharmacist. Work extra on your days off and this rises to over £75,000/year.
I think this is the first time, Claremont, that you have actually been honest about how you achieve your unusually high salary.

Yes, relocate, to somewhere like rural Wales, or the Scottish highlands, or socially deprived areas, that other pharmacists don't want to work in, where you will pour methadone all day, do minor ailment consults for paracetamol, wasting 15 mins of your life, while worrying if your shiny new BMW will have any tyres at 7pm! These areas can be challenging, but also rewarding, but could possibly be unsafe, may even have security guards. There is a small town near myself, where the local Lloyds has a security guard.

Work long hours, yes, get a 36 hour contract with Tesco over 3 days 8am till 8pm, then work extra on your 4 other days off. Then yes, you could possibly hit those salaries you quote.
But......as Sarah points out, you're basically working 2 jobs, 70-80 hour weeks plus travelling time. You could probably do this for a year, maybe 2, or even 3 if you have great stamina and don't want a social life, but it's not a long-term lifestyle many would want. Burnout rate will be high.
Although I do know a couple of lads who did this to get a big mortgage deposit, but as soon as they were married and had kids, they went back to just their initial 36 hour week.
One should also think of the consequences of working these hours, I think the GPhC would take great interest in them should you make an error and put someone in hospital or even worse kill someone because it is, let's say, day 6 of your long week and you've clocked up 70 hours already and you pick up propranolol instead of prednisolone. (real life event, and the patient died.)
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0895
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(Original post by Sarah H.)
Hi ChillBear,

Thank you for taking the time to post those locum rates. Interesting.

I totally agree with your comment:

“If you're young and feel stuck in community I would recommend joining a different sector of pharmacy that gives you room to develop your career.”

But what I would say is that these sectors only offer opportunity for a relatively small, finite number of pharmacists currently employed in community. Community currently accounts for about 2/3 of registered pharmacists. There lies the problem for prospective pharmacy students.

You made your move at the right time as community is in line for major upheaval and contraction with the impending arrival of Amazon and with the established multiples already promoting their online pharmacy services at the expense of their bricks & mortar pharmacies. Recent adverts from one large multiple state “you don’t have to set foot in a pharmacy unless you want to” referring to their prescription app and delivery service.

Good luck on your future pharmacy career...I am in the final few months of mine.
Agree Sarah, on the number of jobs that will be available in the mid 2020s when 6th formers applying now will qualify. The PCNs will be well established by then, and probably general practice too, and who knows how many pharmacies will close if Amazon buys P2U mail order pharmacy and totally disrupts the market.
And only yesterday I received a leaflet through my door promoting Echo, which is I believe the Lloyds online pharmacy!

I already know of one small independent group of about 6 pharmacies that sold up last year. And next month there is a medium sized independent multiple that is selling up to a group of about 100 pharmacies, further eroding the independent sector, which used to be a joy to work for.
It is going to be a very turbulent and interesting decade, possibly exciting, but also a bit scary too!
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