Pharmacist Taka Rongoā

Pharmacists prepare and dispense prescribed medicine, and discuss conditions and treatments with patients. They also carry out tests and vaccinations.

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Pharmacists need to register with the Pharmacy Council of New Zealand.

Pharmacists may do some or all of the following:

  • prepare, mix, check and dispense medicines
  • keep accurate records and stock take medicines
  • provide information and advice on medicines, health issues and lifestyle choices
  • supervise and check the work of other pharmacy staff
  • offer services such as cholesterol testing
  • carry out vaccinations
  • design and implement policies, procedures, budgets and clinical trials for medicine use.

Pharmacist Prescriber

To become a pharmacist prescriber you must complete the Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Pharmacy in  Prescribing from the University of Auckland or a Postgraduate Certificate in Pharmacist Prescribing from the University of Otago.

You also need to be registered as a pharmacist prescriber with the Pharmacy Council of New Zealand.

Pharmacists can also attend extra training from the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand to become accredited to carry out other tasks such as monitoring and supporting people who take medicine to reduce blood clots, or supplying particular medicines.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for pharmacists includes:

  • pharmacy technician and pharmacy assistant work
  • any customer service experience
  • any work in the health industry.

Personal Qualities

Pharmacists need to be:

  • honest and efficient
  • responsible and careful, particularly when dealing with drugs
  • able to work within a professional code of ethics and keep information private
  • accurate, organised and observant, with an eye for detail
  • friendly, patient and helpful, with communication and listening skills
  • good researchers
  • able to manage and train staff
  • good at maths, and have record-keeping skills.

Pharmacists also need to have an understanding and awareness of a variety of cultures.


Pharmacists need to have knowledge of:

  • medicines and how they affect the human body
  • laws that relate to pharmacy practices
  • alternative health treatments and practices
  • how to mix medicines accurately.

Community pharmacists need to have business skills for the day-to-day running of a pharmacy.



  • usually work regular business hours but may need to work longer hours and weekends
  • usually work in community pharmacies, but may also work in hospitals. 

Pharmacists can earn around $58K-$86K per year.

Pay for pharmacists varies depending on their experience, level of responsibility and where they work.

Community pharmacists

  • Pharmacy graduates in their registration year usually earn an average of $43,000 a year.
  • Staff pharmacists usually earn an average of $82,000.
  • Charge pharmacists who manage a pharmacy can earn an average of $86,000.

Pharmacists who work for district health boards

  • Qualified pharmacists usually earn $58,000 to $86,000 a year.
  • Senior pharmacists who supervise staff can earn $87,000 to $119,000.

Sources: Auckland Region District Health Boards/PSA, ‘Allied, Public Health, Scientific & Technical Multi Employer Collective Agreement, expires 30 June 2023’, 2022; District Health Boards/PSA, ‘Allied, Public Health, Scientific & Technical Multi Employer Collective Agreement, expires 30 June 2023’, 2022, and Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand, 2022.

Pharmacists may progress to own a pharmacy, or move into other pharmacy-related work such as:

  • research and development or production and marketing in the pharmaceutical industry
  • policy work with the Ministry of Health and Pharmac
  • advocacy and management within pharmacy professional organisations
  • teaching
  • medical publishing.

Pharmacists can specialise as pharmacist prescribers:

Pharmacist Prescriber
Pharmacist prescribers examine patients with minor ailments, prescribe and give them medicines.

Years Of Training

5 years of training required.

To become a pharmacist you need to:

  • complete a Bachelor of Pharmacy from the University of Auckland or University of Otago
  • complete an internship of one year working in a hospital or community pharmacy
  • register with the Pharmacy Council of New Zealand.