Managing your money throughout your training year

This page gives advice on managing your money during your foundation training year, including tips on how to budget for known and unknown costs.

Receiving a salary will be a great feeling and after four years of student living it may be tempting to treat yourself, which is great – after all, you have worked hard. However, you should remember that you also need to think about the long term and consider how you are going to budget for the foundation year and beyond. There are some costs that are predictable, and you will need to plan your budget accordingly. These include:

  • GPhC fee for joining foundation trainee pharmacist scheme – Joining fee – £142
  • GPhC fee for registering for the final assessment exam – if you have to sit more than once you will need to add the additional costs of registering for a second or third time – Exam registration fee – £182
  • Travel costs to and from the exam venue
  • Work expenses – this would include your commuting costs and lunches
  • Registration fee for joining the GPhC register as a pharmacist for the first time – Processing fee -£106, New entrant fee – £257
  • Costs of providing certified documents when registering as a pharmacist for the first time
  • Cost of running a home if you are not living at home with your parents
  • Removal costs if you must relocate to undertake a placement
  • Delay from starting work to receiving your first salary, most firms pay a month in arrears so you might need to allow for up to two months before receiving your first wage.

Additional costs

There are also additional costs that will depend on what you decide to prioritise during your foundation year, and costs for when you first begin work as a newly qualified pharmacist. These include:

  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Membership of your professional body – the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS). RPS offers a reduced membership rate to trainee pharmacists and newly qualified pharmacists
  • Membership of your trade union – Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA). Free for trainee pharmacists, and a reduced rate for newly qualified pharmacists
  • Costs of revision course and/or mock exams
  • Valid driver’s license or passport – it is essential that you have up-to-date ID for registration for the GPhC exam, and registration as a pharmacist.

How to budget

As a trainee, you will need to plan for the time when you receive your final salary payment at the end of your placement, through sitting the assessment, registering as a pharmacist, starting work and receiving your first salary. Budgeting is not only about ensuring there are enough funds to cover day to day costs. It is about having a little money set aside for unexpected costs such as car repairs, or dental treatment.

Budgeting is not about depriving yourself; it is about taking control and being proactive. In short, it’s making sure that you are spending less than you are bringing in and planning for both the short and long-term.  Stop and think before entering into a tenancy or car agreement, ask yourself: can I afford to make these monthly payments if my income should drop or stop? The Money Helper website has budgeting tools to help people manage their finances. These include a:-

  • budget planner
  • detailed spending breakdown
  • cut-back calculator.

See the Money Helper website


No income before or after training programme

You may be without income, for example:-

  • after the end of a university course and before you have started a training programme; or
  • after a training programme has finished but before you start work; or
  • if you fail the registration assessment and are not earning.

If you are available for work and actively seeking work you may be entitled to out of work benefits such as Universal Credit (UC). You may also be entitled to housing benefit for help with rent and council tax support. It is important to start a claim as quickly as possible as once entitlement to benefit has been established, the benefit will be payable from the point when the claim was started. If you are not a British citizen you may not be entitled to claim benefit and we suggest you seek advice from a benefits adviser.

A claim for UC can be made online. For full details, see the government website. People who cannot make a claim online should contact their local Jobcentre Plus office for further assistance. Pharmacist Support can also refer you to a specialist Citizens Advice adviser for free and confidential telephone or email advice. Alternatively, your local Citizens Advice Bureau can help with information on benefit entitlement.


Financial difficulties before, during and after foundation training

Pharmacist Support may be able to provide financial assistance to foundation trainees towards essential expenditure in times of hardship.

To meet our eligibility criteria you must be either:

  • On an approved 12 month training placement
  • Have evidence that you have applied and been accepted to sit the assessment.

If you are currently experiencing hardship, do not hesitate to contact us. We can help you check your eligibility criteria and assess whether an application for financial assistance is the best route and discuss what other support might be available for you. You can e-mail us at info@pharmacistsupport.org, or call us on 0808 168 2233.

Find out more about applying for a grant from us


Problems with debts

If you are facing unmanageable debts and cannot afford to make the repayments, interest and charges could make the debt increase. Non-payment of debt will affect your credit rating and may affect your ability to obtain credit in the future. Pharmacist Support can provide free and confidential advice from a Citizens Advice Bureau specialist debt adviser. The adviser can help with managing debt. For example, if you have multiple debts and are facing pressure from creditors, the adviser can help with negotiating with creditors and rescheduling payments. If you would like debt advice you can e-mail us at info@pharmacistsupport.org, or call us on 0808 168 2233.

Financial Assistance

On this page you will find information about the different types of financial support we offer to pharmacy students, trainees, pharmacists, former pharmacists and their families.

Registering as a pharmacist

Are you ready to join the GPhC register as a pharmacist? We have lots of advice about registering for the first time and beginning to work as a pharmacist.

Foundation trainee pharmacists: making changes to your foundation placement

Information on what to consider if you need to make changes to your foundation training placement. Includes information on progress reports, banking training, switching placements and the training grant.