Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand


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What is Pharmacy?

Pharmacy revolves around people and medicines with special emphasis on the manufacture of medicines, their supply, appropriate use and effects. The ultimate concern of pharmacy is to ensure that the patient receives the appropriate medicines and benefits from the proper use of these.

Pharmacy is an essential part of the healthcare system in New Zealand. Over 50 million prescriptions for medicines are dispensed each year in New Zealand. In addition, many medicines for minor ailments are sold over-the-counter.

Pharmacy is an ever-developing profession that offers excellent career prospects. The work is interesting and varied offering the opportunity to join the healthcare team in safeguarding the nation's health. There is the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life and a choice of working environments and geographical locations.

What Careers are available in Pharmacy?

Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy assistants all have specialised roles in pharmacy. Pharmacists require a university degree and practical training whereas pharmacy technicians and assistants can either train on the job and earn whilst gaining their qualifications, or gain a qualification through full time study in a variety of settings.

Community Pharmacy

Situated in the cities, shopping malls and rural towns the community pharmacy is familiar to everyone. There are over 900 pharmacies in New Zealand, which are visited every day by thousands of people to have their prescriptions dispensed or to buy pharmacy-related products. The community pharmacy also provides advice and counselling on the maintenance of good health. Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and assistants have distinct roles in community pharmacy. Working in community pharmacy would interest anyone who likes the challenges of providing professional service in a retail environment.

Hospital Pharmacy

All the major hospitals and some of the smaller hospitals in New Zealand have a pharmacy department which looks after the pharmaceutical needs of patients in the care of the hospital. The pharmacy also provides information on drugs and medicines to doctors and nurses and makes specialised medicines for particular patients. Hospital pharmacy offers a challenging career to pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and assistants.


The pharmaceutical industry is responsible for the synthesis and research of new medicines, and the production and marketing of proven medicines to the public. Pharmacists are involved in every step of the process. Opportunities in research and development are limited in New Zealand as most of this is carried out overseas however there are opportunities for pharmacists working in formulation, product information and marketing. Pharmacy technicians are also employed in the marketing of new medicines.

Other opportunities

Pharmacists are also employed in publishing, the Ministry of Health and other government agencies.

Which Career For You?

Before you decide on a career in pharmacy and whether you want to be a pharmacist, a pharmacy technician or a pharmacy assistant, it is very important that you know something about the work involved. Look in the Yellow Pages under pharmacies for addresses of your local pharmacies. Call in and see the pharmacist-in-charge and ask if you can spend some time there. There may even be a part time job available. Ask if you can spend some time in the pharmacy to get an idea of what working in a pharmacy is like.

This experience will help you decide if pharmacy is the career for you and will show the different jobs available. It will help you also to have an understanding of what is a complex, responsible and very rewarding job.

This information was prepared by the Pharmacy Industry Training Organisation, PO Box 11-640, Wellington, NEW ZEALAND.  Anyone who is interested in training as a technician should contact the Programme Coordinator at the Pharmacy Industry Training Organisation.

Phone 04 382 8058, Fax 04 385 8668, email to

© Pharmacy Industry Training Organisation

For more information click on the following links:

Pharmacists / Pharmacy Technicians / Pharmacy Assistants

Jack Noel Henderson Scholarship for Year 2 Pharmacy Students

The Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand is responsible for the administration of the Jack Noel Henderson Scholarship to be awarded to a pharmacy student in year 2 from the Otago School of Pharmacy and a BPharm student in Part 2 at the Auckland School of Pharmacy. Applicants will need to demonstrate financial hardship that may affect their ability to pursue their studies in pharmacy. Click here to download a full application form for the current year.   Full details of the criteria for eligibility can be obtained by contacting Fran Horsley at the Society via email or by telephone on (04) 381-8350

Hauora Maori Scholarships 2011
He Putea tautoko i te akonga Hauora Maori
The Ministry of Health’s Hauora Maori Scholarships are awarded every year to assist over 500 students pursuing undergraduate and postgraduate studies in a range of health areas, including: nursing, midwifery, pharmacy, medicine, physiotherapy, health management, dentistry and community health workers. Online application closes 12 pm Friday 8 April 2011. For further information please visit the Ministry website or phone 0800 686 223 (M, T, Th & F 8am to 5pm).

Contact Person:

Shane Ruwhiu, Maori Health Advisor , Funding Division, Gate 2B Heretaunga Street, Palmerston North

P - 06 350 8989

M - 027 432 1598

E -


Also check out the Kia Ora Hauora website: