Pharmacists Salary Structure in South Africa

Pharmacy and medicine are two of the most lucrative fields of study in sciences — even more lucrative than any engineering course you can find in the university.

This is because these two courses are the few courses that guarantee employment to graduates immediately they are done with their compulsory one-year NYSC program.

Pharmacists are healthcare professionals who prepare, dispense and review drugs. They are involved in the delivery and administration of medicine to patients. They also provide other clinical services and advise other healthcare professionals on the use of medicine.

There has been a constant debate between medical doctors and pharmacists on the issue of who is superior to the other. This is due to the fact that medical doctors are sometimes considered more important than pharmacists even though they can’t do without the input of a pharmacist.

This debate is not only on superiority but also on the salary structure as pharmacists request equal or higher pay than medical doctors, especially for those working in government-owned hospitals.

The debate seems to have an effect on how aspiring doctors and pharmacists regard themselves, especially in the university area. However, in the USA, pharmacists could be regarded as doctors if they have earned a doctorate (PharmD).

This should mean that both professions could be equal to each other but that doesn’t sit well with both professions in the South Africa setting.

If you are looking for information on how much pharmacists earn in South Africa? Then you are in the right place. While there have been lots of speculations on what a pharmacist should earn and if a pharmacist should earn just as much as a medical doctor, this post provides accurate information about the average salary of a pharmacist in South Africa.

Pharmacists Salary Structure in South Africa

Monthly Salary of a Pharmacist in South Africa

In developed countries like the US, a pharmacist can earn as high as $160,000 per year. While this might look like a huge amount, it is a far cry from what a medical doctor would earn in the same countries as even the lowest paid doctors earn as much as $170,000.

However, pharmacists still remain one of the most respected and highest paid professionals in South Africa compared with other professions.

The salary varies according to the level and experience of the pharmacist. Also, the organization or place of work will determine the amount to be paid. For instance, pharmacists who sell drugs over the counter in pharmaceutical stores will definitely earn less than pharmacists who work in hospitals and health centres.

Government organizations or health centres tend to pay higher than private institutions even if they have the same job specifications. This is why most pharmacists seek employment in government institutions first before opting for private institutions when all efforts fail.

  • Average Salary of Pharmacists (Private Institutions) — R$ 2,775 – R$ 7,400
  • Average Salary of Pharmacists (Government Institutions) — R$ 6,105 – R$ 18,500
Salary of Pharmacists in Government Hospitals/Organizations

Government-owned hospitals (federal or state government) and organizations are the best places to work. It is advised that entry-level pharmacists seek employment opportunities in these places first if they want to get the best out of their profession.

The notable government organizations include NAFDAC and NDLEA. However, the need for pharmacists is dwindling due to the oversaturation of the field. Today, it is quite difficult to get a job in a government-owned hospital or organization due to the high requirements and employment process.

The salary of a pharmacist in government-owned hospitals and organizations is determined by experience. Entry-level pharmacists should expect to earn less than their mid-level and experienced counterparts.

  • Salary of Entry-Level Pharmacists in South Africa — R$ 6,105 – R$ 7,400
  • Salary of Mid-Level Pharmacists in South Africa — R$ 9,250 – R$ 16,650
  • Salary of Experienced Pharmacists in South Africa — R$ 9,250 – R$ 29,600
Salary of Pharmacists in Private Hospitals

Pharmacists in private hospitals earn peanuts compared with their counterparts in government-owned hospitals and organizations. There are also little or no benefits and incentives attached to the salaries paid by these private hospitals.

Entry-level pharmacists feel most of the heat as they could start with a salary of just R$ 2,405 a month, which is way less than what an entry-level engineer would earn even in most established private organizations.

  • Salary of Entry-Level Pharmacists in South Africa — R$ 2,405 – R$ 5,550
  • Salary of Mid-Level Pharmacists in South Africa — R$ 5,550 – R$ 9,250
  • Salary of Experienced Pharmacists in South Africa — R$ 7,400 – R$ 14,800
Over the Counter Pharmacists

Some pharmacists work in pharmaceutical stores selling drugs over the counter. This is a position most would dread as they believe it belittles them. However, many find themselves in this position or other lower positions due to the lack of jobs in their field of study.

Over the counter, pharmacists could earn anything as little as R$ 1,480 a month to R$ 2,220 a month.

Salary of Intern Pharmacists in South Africa

The answer to the question “how much do pharmacy interns earn in South Africa?” vary from one pharmacy, hospital, firm or organization to another. Interns earn between R$ 555 to R$ 1,850, depending on where they are doing their internship.

What to Consider Before Becoming a Pharmacist in South Africa

Just like medicine, pharmacy is highly regarded in South African universities and in South African society. The popular belief is that studying pharmacy increases your chances of getting employed. However, not many aspirants know of the job opportunities available or the demand for pharmacists in South Africa.

They would likely follow the hype around the course and go ahead to earn a degree only to face a tougher reality. Many would end up going back to school to study medicine and earn a medical degree while others would move to developed countries to seek for greener pastures.

Before applying to study pharmacy, it is important you do enough research on the course and the demand for pharmacists in South Africa.

Ensure you do research on the employment opportunities/requirements and the organizations or institutions a pharmacist can get employed. This will help prepare you beforehand for the reality you will face after graduating and completing the compulsory one-year NYSC program.

Pharmacy still remains one of the toughest courses to study in South Africa as the requirements for the course are placed very high. Even those admitted are not saved from the strict rules and academic calendar they have to abide by. This is why aspirants should carefully do research before applying to study the course in any reputable university in South Africa.

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