Unlocking the Scope of a GP Pharmacist in Australia: How to Become a Pharmacist

This comprehensive guide on “how to become a pharmacist” will delve into the world of GP pharmacists in Australia

Elite Expertise

10/19/20234 min read

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In the dynamic landscape of healthcare, the role of pharmacists has expanded beyond the traditional dispensing of medications. One such specialised role gaining prominence in Australia is that of a GP pharmacist. This comprehensive guide on “how to become a pharmacist” will delve into the world of GP pharmacists in Australia, exploring their roles, responsibilities, and the path to becoming one. Whether you're a pharmacy student or someone interested in a healthcare career, this article will provide valuable insights into the evolving role of GP pharmacists in Australia.

Understanding the Scope of a GP Pharmacist

A GP pharmacist, also known as a General Practice Pharmacist, is a highly trained professional who works within general practice settings, collaborating with general practitioners (GPs) to optimise patient care. Their primary focus is on medication management, but their roles extend far beyond that.

Roles and Responsibilities

  1. Medication Review and Optimisation: GP pharmacists conduct thorough medication reviews for patients. They assess the appropriateness, safety, and effectiveness of prescribed medications, identify potential drug interactions, and recommend adjustments when necessary. This process helps minimise adverse drug events and ensures patients receive the most suitable treatments.

  2. Collaborative Care: They work closely with GPs and other healthcare providers to develop and implement medication management plans. This collaboration enhances patient care by ensuring that medications align with the overall treatment goals.

  3. Chronic Disease Management: GP pharmacists play a crucial role in managing chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and asthma. They monitor patients' progress, adjust medications as needed, and provide ongoing support to improve disease management.

  4. Polypharmacy Management: In an ageing population where many patients take multiple medications, GP pharmacists help manage polypharmacy by streamlining medication regimens and reducing unnecessary prescriptions.

  5. Patient Education and Counselling: GP pharmacists educate patients and caregivers about medication regimens, potential side effects, and the importance of adherence. This empowers patients to actively participate in managing their health.

  6. Preventive Care: They contribute to preventive care initiatives by identifying patients at risk and recommending appropriate interventions, such as vaccinations and health screenings.

  7. Quality Assurance: GP pharmacists play a role in maintaining the quality of care within the practice. They assist in ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements related to medication management and safety.

How to Become a GP Pharmacist in Australia

Becoming a GP pharmacist in Australia involves a well-defined path and a commitment to continuous learning. Here's how to embark on this rewarding career journey:

1. Complete a Bachelor's Degree in Pharmacy: To become a pharmacist, you must start by earning a Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) degree. This typically takes four years and equips you with the foundational knowledge in pharmaceutical sciences. If you are an overseas pharmacist who finished Bachelor of Pharmacy or Doctor of Pharmacy, you can start your practice as a pharmacist in Australia on passing the KAPS exam.

2. Gain Practical Experience: After obtaining your degree, you need to complete a one-year internship under the supervision of a registered pharmacist. This internship provides hands-on experience in various pharmacy settings and is essential for your development as a pharmacist.

3. Pass the Australian Pharmacist Exam: To become a registered pharmacist in Australia, you must pass the Australian Pharmacist Exam. This exam assesses your knowledge and competence in pharmacy practice and ensures that you meet the national standards.

4. Register with the Pharmacy Board of Australia: Once you pass the exam, you can apply for registration with the Pharmacy Board of Australia. This registration is essential to practice as a pharmacist in the country.

5. Gain Post-Registration Experience: Many GP pharmacists gain additional experience in community or hospital pharmacy settings before transitioning into general practice. This experience helps build your confidence and expertise.

6. Specialise and Pursue Additional Training: While not mandatory, specialising in general practice or other relevant areas can enhance your career prospects as a GP pharmacist. Consider pursuing postgraduate qualifications or certifications.

7. Network and Seek Opportunities: Building a network within the healthcare community is crucial for finding opportunities in general practice. Seek out practices that are open to integrating a pharmacist into their team.

The Australian Pharmacist Exam

The Australia Pharmacist Exam is a critical milestone on the path to becoming a registered pharmacist in Australia. It assesses your knowledge and competency in pharmacy practice and ensures that you meet the national standards required to practice safely and effectively.

The exam typically consists of two parts: the written exam and the oral/practical exam. The written exam assesses your theoretical knowledge in areas such as pharmacology, therapeutics, and pharmaceutical calculations. The oral/practical exam evaluates your ability to apply this knowledge in real-life scenarios, including patient consultations.

Preparing for the Australia Pharmacist Exam requires a thorough understanding of the Australian healthcare system, medication management guidelines, and the legal and ethical aspects of pharmacy practice in the country. It's essential to invest time in studying and practising sample questions to increase your chances of success.


Being an overseas pharmacy student, if you are struggling to find the answer to “how to become a pharmacist”, then you should know about the KAPS exam. The Knowledge stream pathway encompasses the Knowledge Assessment of Pharmaceutical Sciences (KAPS), an evaluative examination that overseas registered pharmacists are required to successfully complete to be eligible to practice pharmacy in Australia. This examination serves to evaluate the candidate's comprehension and expertise in pharmaceutical sciences.

Future Trends

  1. Telepharmacy: The adoption of telehealth and telepharmacy is on the rise, allowing GP pharmacists to provide services remotely, especially in underserved areas.

  2. Integration of Technology: Pharmacy practice is becoming increasingly technology-driven, with the use of electronic health records and advanced medication management software.


The role of a GP pharmacist in Australia extends beyond traditional medication dispensing to encompass medication management, collaborative care, and patient education. The path to becoming a GP pharmacist involves completing a Bachelor's degree in Pharmacy, gaining practical experience, passing the Australia Pharmacist Exam, and registering with the Pharmacy Board of Australia. Continuous learning and specialisation can further enhance your career as a GP pharmacist.

While challenges exist, the demand for GP pharmacists is growing, and their role in enhancing patient care is becoming increasingly recognised. As the healthcare landscape evolves, GP pharmacists are well-positioned to play a vital role in optimising medication management and improving overall patient outcomes in Australia. Being an overseas student, if you want details on “how to become a pharmacist” and qualify for the KAPS Exam, you can contact Elite Expertise!