Are you planning a career change? This page is for pharmacists who are looking for an alternative career, either within the pharmaceutical environment or in non-pharmacy-related work.
Joining the register
Pharmacists can apply to join the register provided that they have submitted their completed application form and all the relevant documents to the GPhC.
Pre-registration trainees can submit an application to join the register after week 49 of their training, even if they have not yet sat the registration assessment or are waiting for their results. On submission of the application trainees will be required to pay a non-refundable processing fee of £106. Trainees who pass will then be required to pay the new entrant fee of £257.
The information relating to applicants who have failed will be kept for up to six months from the date of submission. During this time, applicants can edit the information as needed and use it to reapply during the six month window without the need to pay a further fee. Applicants who want to apply after six months will need to start a new application and pay the application fee again.
All applicants will need a myGPhC account in order to submit an application form.
Applicants will need to submit the following documents:-
- a completed application form
- final declaration by tutor form
- birth certificate for applicants born in England, Scotland or Wales (applicants must ensure that any duplicate is issued by the General Registers Office)
- certified copy of birth certificate for applicants not born in England, Scotland or Wales
- certified copy of MPharm certificate (the name on the MPharm certificate must match that on the birth certificate)
- proof of identity
- certified copy of marriage/civil partnership certificate
- applicants who are registered with any other healthcare regulator in the UK or overseas must provide a letter of good standing.
Applicants whose documents do not meet the GPhC requirements, for example, the name on the MPharm certificate is not an exact match to that on the birth certificate, must complete a statutory declaration form. This form must be completed whilst in the presence of a solicitor. For further information, see the GPhC website.
Applicants are not able to work as pharmacists until their name appears on the register. Ordinarily the GPhC aim to process applications for registration within three weeks of receipt, however failure to submit all the necessary paperwork will result in a delay in the processing of a registration request. Equally, if an applicant has a fitness to practise issue there will be a delay in processing whilst the issue is assessed.
Proof of English language proficiency
Under a new rule all pharmacists will have to declare that they have the necessary knowledge of English for safe and effective practice. Pharmacists who are registering for the first time will be required to provide proof. This applies to all pharmacists, regardless of country of origin. Competence must be demonstrated in:-
Proof must also be recent (within the last two years), objective and independent.
In most cases UK qualified applicants who have graduated from a UK university with an MPharm and have undertaken pre-registration training and the pre-registration assessment in the UK will be considered to have automatically met the requirements.
Pharmacists who do not automatically meet the requirements can use any of the following as proof of English language proficiency:-
- a recent pass of the academic version of the IELTS test with an overall score of at least 7 in each in each of the four areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking at one sitting of the test. Please note, the GPhC may accept test results that are more than two years old but it will depend entirely on circumstances such as if a pharmacist has been working in a majority English speaking country and spent at least 75% of their day interacting with other patients and staff in English.
- a recent pass of the OET test with an overall score of at B in each of the four areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking at one sitting of the test.
- a recent pharmacy qualification that has been taught and examined in English in a majority English speaking country
- recent practice for at least two years as a pharmacy professional in a majority English speaking country.
For further information about language requirements, see the GPhC guidance.
Professional indemnity insurance
All pharmacists who are applying to join the register must have professional indemnity insurance in place before they start to practise. This can be:-
- a personal insurance policy
- an arrangement made by an employer for indemnity cover
- an arrangement though a professional body or trade union
- any combination of the above.
This cover needs to be appropriate to the individual pharmacist’s role and it will also need to take into account the nature and extent of the risks involved. For example, a pharmacist who is also an independent prescriber will need more cover than a community pharmacist offering standard services.
The GPhC will not give advice about the level of cover an individual pharmacist will need. Pharmacists should seek advice from their insurance provider to ensure that their level of cover is adequate.
Pharmacists must inform the GPhC within seven days if they cease to have indemnity cover. Pharmacists do not need to inform the GPhC about routine changes, such as switching provider.
For further information on professional indemnity insurance requirements, see the GPhC guidance.
The fees for new applicants are made up of an application fee and a first entry fee. Payment by debit card is £106 for the application fee and £257 for the first entry fee. Applicants who are paying by credit card will incur a 2% surcharge. Applicants who cannot join the register, for example, owing to a fitness to practice issue, will only be charged the application fee, the first entry fee will be refunded.
Fitness to practise – good character
All pharmacists are required to declare their fitness to practise. Things to declare include:-
- criminal convictions
- cautions and conditional discharges
- findings against you by a health or social regulator in the UK or overseas.
For further information see the Something to declare section on the GPhC website.
Applicants who decide that they have something to declare should fill in the something to declare form.
Fitness to practise – health
Declaring a health condition will not automatically mean that your fitness to practise is impaired. The GPhC will take into consideration factors such as:-
- your own insight with regards your medical condition and how it is managed
- any reasonable adjustments that can be made to enable you to practice
- any supporting information about your condition, for example, medical records and doctor’s report.
For further information see the Something to declare section on the GPhC website.
Applicants who decide that they have something to declare should fill in the something to declare – health form.
For further information on issues that can affect your fitness to practise, see the GPhC website.
Assistance for newly qualified pharmacists
The first few years of pharmacy practice can seem a little bit daunting, however there is lots of support that can help to get your career off to the best possible start.
Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS)
RPS offer a recently qualified pharmacist foundation package that includes career support, professional recognition and a range of resources. For further information, see the RPS website.
Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate education (CPPE)
The CPPE offer a range of programmes to assist pharmacists with development of knowledge and skills. These include advanced services such as medicines use reviews (MUR) and the new medicine service (NMS). For further information, see the CPPE website.
Looking for work
There are many job sites to help you to find employment. We have compiled a list of specialist pharmacist sites, locum sites and more general job sites. To view these, see our Looking for work: job vacancy sites fact sheet.
Working as a locum
Pharmacists who are struggling to find work might want to consider working as a locum. For further information, including paying tax, personal indemnity insurance and employment rights, see our Locum fact sheet.
While people are unable to work, we can also provide specialist advice on benefits entitlement. For people who are struggling to manage their finances, we can provide specialist debt advice.
Financial assistance towards essential expenditure in times of hardship may be provided to those affected by loss of work. Examples of help include course and travel costs, registration fees and help with household costs.
If you are currently experiencing hardship, do not hesitate to contact us. We can help you assess whether an application for financial assistance is the best route and discuss what other support might be available for you
To contact Pharmacist Support,
This fact sheet was last reviewed on 28 July 2021