Passionate in helping others especially when they’re sick?
Interested in learning how chemistry integrates with biology for the well-being of humans?
A career in Pharmacy might just be what you’re looking for.
Here’s everything you need to know about a career in pharmacy, including the pathways for you to study pharmacy in Malaysia.
What is Pharmacy?
Pharmacy is the study of use, store, preservation and prescription of specialised drugs as medicine.
In the field of pharmacy, you will focus on discovering, manufacturing, disposal and control of drugs – understanding drugs as treatment and its pathological process.
As a pharmacist, your main job scope will be to provide medical advice, distribute prescribed medication and guide patients on the safest method of consumptions.
However, some pharmacists choose to dive deeper into intensive research to learn how drugs and medications are discovered and manufactured.
Why Should You Study Pharmacy?
Contribute First-Hand to Society
If you’re interested in the healthcare system and wish to help others, being a pharmacist will offer you just that!
Being in the frontline of disease prevention and treatment gives you the opportunity and satisfaction of contributing to the betterment of society.
Your expertise in drug treatment can help educate the public about medication and aid in their recovery from illness in achieving optimal health in life.
Able to Pursue Diverse Career Options
Studying pharmacy doesn’t just mean you’ll be only dispensing medicine behind a counter.
Earning a degree in Pharmacy opens up a diverse range of career opportunities for you.
Although, majority of graduates opt to work in retail chain pharmacies or community hospitals, you can also explore other opportunities in various settings such as mental health centres, nursing homes and pharmaceutical organisations.
If you’re interested in creating drugs from scratch, you can opt to jump into industrial pharmacy.
Flexible Schedule with Career Stability
One of the best advantages of a career in pharmacy is its incredible work-life balance.
Due to the nature of its responsibilities, a role in pharmacy is non-stressful and flexible.
Pharmacists are needed in various settings (hospitals, clinics, pharmacies etc.) so job opportunities are readily available for you to find one that will fit into your lifestyle.
There are day shifts, night shifts, 7-on/7-off shifts or even longer 12 hour shifts for you to choose from.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also evoked an increase in remote work for pharmacists with roles for inpatient services for community hospitals and/or remote verification for mail-order pharmacists.
What are the Fields in Pharmacy?
The various fields offered in Pharmacy in Malaysia continue to expand as the pharmaceutical system continues to grow and progress.
Here are some of the most common fields available:
Provides the community with access to medications that they need alongside advice for the safe and effective use.
Think of your local Watsons, Guardian or Caring Pharmacy.
Provides the management of medications that occur in a hospital, medical clinic or nursing home.
Provides optimal use of medications for drug safety and efficacy in hospitals, nursing homes etc.
Provides research, production, packaging, quality control, marketing and sales of pharmaceutical goods.
Provides rules and regulations for the safe use of medicine to promote positive health outcomes.
What Are Popular Pharmacy Pathways?
Upon completion of SPM or any equivalent examination, students desiring a Pharmacy course will generally opt for a pre-university programme (STPM, A-Level, AUSMAT etc) or a direct Foundation in Science course before proceeding into a degree in Pharmacy!
Alternatively, you may also opt directly for a Diploma in Pharmacy before taking up a Degree in Pharmacy.
Upon the completion of your Pharmacy Degree (4 years) – it is compulsory for you to undergo one year of service training at any institution that is recognised by the Pharmacy Board of Malaysia.
During the training period, you are required to sit for the Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination before successfully being able to practice as a Fully Registered Pharmacist.
Here is a summarised table of your pathway options complimented by their entry requirements and duration to aid your decision:
Foundation in Science
From RM 10,000
Pre-U (A-Level, AUSMAT, CPU, etc)
Diploma in Pharmacy
From RM 37,000
SPM / O-Level: Minimum 5Bs:
Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics/Additional Mathematics and 1 other subject
Degree in Pharmacy
From RM 120,000
STPM: Min. CGPA 3.0
A-Level: Min. of BBB/ABC/AAC
AUSMAT: Min. of ATAR 75
Foundation in Science: Min. CGPA 3.00
*It is compulsory for students to score high in Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Mathematics to successfully enrol into a Pharmacy course.
Do keep in mind that many universities also require an English test (IELTS, MUET or TOEFL) to enrol into the programme.
For more information on the entry requirements to a Pharmacy course and/or the best pathway to kickstart your course, contact Uni Enrol for more information!
What are the Skills Required in Pharmacy?
To succeed in a career in Pharmacy, here are some basic soft skills that is recommended to have:
Attention to Detail
As you deal with pharmaceuticals from the moment they are manufactured, hit the shelves and get into the hands of patients – high attention to detail is incredibly important!
You must read the doctor’s prescription carefully before administering the right medication with an appropriate dosage.
Any error can potentially harm the lives of patients so you need to be concise in your work.
Strong Communication and Interpersonal Skills
Working in the healthcare setting will require you to deal with a lot of people, such as customers, patients and doctors.
You must be able to interact with patients productively by understanding their needs and effectively explaining to them the need for a specific medication and any possible side effects.
Empathy, negotiation, effective listening and problem-solving skills are some of the key traits needed to be able to communicate successfully with people you’ll encounter.
Ability to Think Critically and Analytically
Using your applied knowledge from Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics is crucial in helping you in your daily roles and responsibilities in Pharmacy.
You should be able to adapt to varying situations/concerns faced by patients to properly identify the problem and solve it to the best of your abilities.
Top Pharmacy Universities in Malaysia
University of Nottingham, Malaysia
Located in Semenyih, University of Nottingham is ranked 103rd in the QS World University Ranking, catering to 5,500 students from 85 countries within 18 departments.
The University of Nottingham is also ranked in the world top 70 universities for employability where graduates are highly sought after with 90% employed or in further study six months after graduation – one of the highest graduate employment rates in Malaysia.
There are also many opportunities for students to study abroad at the UK and China campuses, as well as at their many partner universities across the globe, offering inter-campus, international exchange and summer school programmes.
Pharmacy courses offered:
Foundation in Science
Pharmacy (2+2), University of Nottingham, UK MPharm (Hons)
Pharmacy research programmes Mphil (1+2)
Pharmacy research programmes PhD (2+2)
Taylor’s is a pioneer private higher education institution located in Subang Jaya, Selangor.
Known for their beautiful lakeside campus, Taylor’s has also achieved Tier-5 in SETARA Ranking and 284th position in the QS World University Ranking (2023).
Taylor’s is known to value education excellence with its diverse study options, industry-leading staffs and well-equipped facilities to aid in learning.
Pharmacy courses offered:
Foundation in Science (Medicine/Pharmacy)
Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons)
Master of Philosophy (Research) (Part Time)
Master of Philosophy (Research) (Full Time)
Founded in 2001, AIMST University is a premier private university specialising in Medicine, Science and Technology courses.
Located in Semeling, Kedah, they offer technical education at an affordable price with its curriculum focused on computer training, writing and research to prepare their graduates for the workforce alongside a strong technology base.
Pharmacy courses offered:
Foundation in Science (MBBS, Dentistry, Pharmacy)
Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons)
Things You Need to Know About Pharmacy in Malaysia
Here are a couple of key factors to keep in mind regarding a pharmacy career in Malaysia:
Your Course Must Be Recognised by the Pharmacy Board of Malaysia
When picking your university and programme of choice, be sure to double check that the programme offered is recognised by the Pharmacy Board of Malaysia.
This is one of the steps to become a Fully Registered Pharmacist in Malaysia.
If it isn’t recognised, you will not be able to begin your one-year training and exam designated by the board.
Pharmacists are Constantly in Demand in Malaysia
Upon completion of your one-year training and passing of the Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination, you will be able to work anywhere you want.
This highly sought after job is also known to be well-paid in Malaysia.
Based on Payscale, the average Pharmacist salary in Malaysia is RM 60,000 a year.
However, this does increase in time as your experience grows.
Popular Pharmacy-Related Jobs
A Pharmacist qualification opens up multiple career pathways for you to choose from as you will be able to work in pharmacies, medical clinics, hospitals, universities, and government institutions.
With a Pharmacy qualification, here are some career opportunities for you to pursue!
Pharmacists that work for hospitals and medical clinics are responsible to analyse both in-patient and out-patient medication.
Beside administering medication prescribed by doctors, Pharmacists also have the autonomy to decide the appropriate medicine for patients and identify any errors made.
As you will be working in a fast-paced environment, you would also need to stay up-to-date with new drugs coming into the marketplace.
Salary of pharmacists in Malaysia is an average of RM 59,661 a year.
A Retail Pharmacist provides resources to both customers and prescribing physicians for medication indications, dosages, side effects, and general prescribing information.
Typically working in your community pharmacy such as Guardian, Watsons, Caring Pharmacy – they serve as an educator to patients regarding their medication alongside monitoring pharmaceutical therapies, and evaluating patient responses to medications.
Working hours may vary, as a retail pharmacist is required to be on duty whenever the pharmacy is open.
This may include night, weekend and holiday shifts.
Salary of retail pharmacists in Malaysia is an average of RM65,666 a year.
A clinical pharmacist is responsible for continuing education programmes for pharmacy students, health care services and/or medical staff.
They also provide advice for physicians on drug usage, potential side effects and methods to determine the right dosage.
Most times, clinical pharmacists act as mentors to provide training for pharmacy residents in practical/theoretical knowledge and facilitating direct, supervised experience.
Salary of clinical pharmacists in Malaysia is an average of RM 44,500 a year.
Interested in learning more about your future career in Pharmacy?
Contact us now for more information, we’re here to assist!