Guide for Retail Pharmacists to Migrate Australia | Academically

The Complete Guide for Retail Pharmacists Aiming to Migrate to Australia

Jun 19, 2024 4 min read
Pharmacists Guide to Migrate Australia

Key Takeaways

  • The critical role of a pharmacist includes suggesting, prescribing and dispensing medicines.
  • The salary and scope of a pharmacist are higher in Australia than in almost all other countries.
  • It takes just four easy steps for you to become a registered pharmacist in Australia.


Pharmacy is a booming profession and a lucrative pathway to migrate to Australia. Most pharmacists in Australia practise within the community itself as retailers or work in hospitals.

The domain of pharmacy provides a plethora of career opportunities ranging from patient care to research and development. This field gives you the opportunity to know about and participate in the innovation of drugs. It provides ample opportunities in both academia and industry, along with the chance to earn a stable income in your homeland and abroad.

Today, we will talk in detail about the complete process of becoming a retail pharmacist in Australia and the best options to do that. 

Who Are Retail Pharmacists?

Retail pharmacists in Australia are highly trained and trusted professionals, often holding a Bachelor of Pharmacy or a Master of Pharmacy degree. They are qualified to dispense medications, have the required knowledge about most medicines and are capable of counselling healthcare professionals, patients and other people on key responsibilities such as processing prescriptions, maintaining patient medication records, promoting primary healthcare, etc.

The Pharmacy Board of Australia oversees the registration and regulation of pharmacists, ensuring that they meet stringent standards of competence and ethical practice.

Let us understand more about the functions of retail pharmacists.

What Are the Functions of Retail Pharmacists?

Retail pharmacists wear many hats, balancing various roles to provide top-quality healthcare services to their communities. They are an integral part of the healthcare system and take up various responsibilities to educate the patients and promote healthcare in their community.

Dispensing Medication

Retail pharmacists dispense prescription and over-the-counter medications with precision and care and provide essential information to patients regarding proper usage and potential side effects. They collaborate closely with doctors to ensure patients get the appropriate medications in the right doses.

Over-the-counter (OTC) Medications

Retail pharmacies are stocked with a wide array of over-the-counter medications, allowing individuals to address minor ailments without the need for a prescription. Pharmacists provide guidance on the proper use of these medications and potential interactions.

Health Advice and Consultations

Retail pharmacists are trusted sources of health information. Whether it's advice on managing chronic conditions, addressing common ailments, or promoting general wellness, pharmacists are readily available for consultations. Retail pharmacists also contribute to public health education by providing information on vaccinations, disease prevention, and health promotion.

Collaborative Care

Retail pharmacists often collaborate with other healthcare professionals, such as general practitioners and specialists, to ensure seamless patient care and effective communication across the healthcare spectrum.

What is the Salary of Retail Pharmacists in Australia?

The average salary of a pharmacist in Australia is $92,793 annually or $47.59 per hour. Entry-level positions start at $81,953 per year, while most experienced workers make up to $120,045 per year.

Why is Australia a Perfect Destination for Retail Pharmacists?

Apart from having one of the best healthcare systems in the world, Australia also offers several advantages to overseas-trained pharmacists seeking registration to practise in Australia. Lucrative salaries and an excellent quality of life are some of the most attractive benefits of being a registered pharmacist in Australia. Let's take a look at some of the other benefits.

Great Career Flexibility

Pharmacists in Australia enjoy great career flexibility and are not required to work long hours, unlike in other countries. They are generally said to have an outstanding work-life balance.

Technological Advances

Practising pharmacy in Australia means exposure to incredible technological advances. They use technologies such as automated dispensing systems and electronic health records.

Increasing Demand for Services

As the role of pharmacists expands, there is a growing demand for additional services, including vaccination clinics, health screenings, and medication reviews. This scenario opens up great career opportunities for overseas-trained pharmacists in Australia.

The Evolving Role of Retail Pharmacists

In recent years, the role of retail pharmacists in Australia has evolved to meet the changing needs of the population and the healthcare landscape. Some notable trends include

Expanded Clinical Services: Retail pharmacists are increasingly providing a wider range of clinical services, such as health checks, medication management reviews, and chronic disease management.

Integration of Technology: Pharmacists are incorporating digital solutions to streamline processes, reinforce patient care, and improve communication with other healthcare providers.

Health Promotion Initiatives: Recognising the importance of preventive healthcare, retail pharmacists actively participate in health promotion initiatives, including vaccination campaigns and public awareness programs.

The Process to Become a Pharmacist in Australia

STEP 1: Initial Skills Assessment

Authorisation body: Australian Pharmacy Council

Documents required:

  • B Pharm/Pharm D degree/Provisional degree
  • B Pharm/Pharm D transcripts/Consolidated Mark sheet
  • Registration with the State Pharmacy Council (Must be registered as a pharmacist in your home country)
  • Passport

Prior work experience is not required for initial skill assessment. However, you can attach evidence of work experience if you have any. 

Assessment Time: 8 weeks

Fee: $1310 AUD

STEP 2: KAPS Exam (Knowledge Assessment of Pharmaceutical Sciences)

The KAPS Exam covers the following four domains from the National Competency Standards Framework for Pharmacists in Australia 2010:

  • Domain 1: Pharmaceutics
  • Domain 2: Therapeutics
  • Domain 3: Pharmaceutical Chemistry
  • Domain 4: Pharmacology and Physiology

There are two papers for each KAPS Exam:

  1. Paper 1: Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Physiology, Pathophysiology and Pharmacology
  2. Paper 2: Pharmaceutics and Therapeutics

The types of questions in the examination may either be stand-alone or be associated with a patient profile.

KAPS Passing Score: 50%

KAPS Exam Fee: $2190 AUD

KAPS Exam Results:

1. Approximately eight weeks after the KAPS exam, you or your nominated agent will receive an email from us about when you can view/download your exam results in your Candidate Portal.

2. If you pass the KAPS exam, you will also receive a copy of the APC Skill Assessment letter at your email address.

KAPS Exam Preparation Course

STEP 3: English Requirements for Registration with AHPRA

There are multiple test types that you can take to qualify and prove your English proficiency and get registered with APHRA. 

  1. IELTS - Minimum overall score of 7 and a minimum score of 7 in each of the four components (listening, reading, writing, and speaking).
  2. PTE - An overall score of 65 and a minimum score of 65 in each of the four communicative skills (listening, reading, writing, and speaking).
  3. OET - A minimum score of B or 350 in each of the four components (listening, reading, writing and speaking).
  4. TOEFL iBT - Minimum total score of 94 and the minimum scores of 24 for listening, 24 for reading, 27 for writing and 23 for speaking.

Step 4: Visa Options After Kaps Exam To Migrate Australia

As soon as you are registered as a pharmacist to practice in Australia, you will have several options. 

You may apply for a General Skilled Migration Visa under

  • Subclass 190 (Skilled Nominated Visa),
  • Subclass 491 (Regional Sponsored Visa),
  • Subclass 482 (Temporary Skilled Shortage Visa),
  • Subclass 494 (Skilled Employer-sponsored regional Visa), or
  • Subclass 407 (Training Visa).

You may speak with any registered migration agent for further information on which Visa is best for you.

Your Guidance Partner to Success! 

Clearing the KAPS exam is the most important part of the process. When you have the ability and skills to clear the exam, no one can stop you from getting the Visa of your choice in Australia. 

To help students clear the KAPS exam on the first go, we have launched the unique KAPS Exam Preparation Course, which is entirely online. With this, you can prepare for and then take the KAPS exam in your home country and then migrate to Australia with a PR Visa in your hand! 

Get in touch with our experts to know more about your options and kick-start your journey to success with Academically!

Fill up this form for a free one on one counselling session.  

Dr. Akram Ahmad
Dr. Akram Ahmad
about the author

Dr. Akram Ahmad is a clinical pharmacist and lecturer with over 10 years of teaching and research experience across various subjects of medicine in India, Malaysia and Australia. He is an educationist and a medpreneur with extensive knowledge of the global healthcare diaspora. Through his articles, videos and engaging sessions, he always aims to impart unexplored knowledge about the healthcare world to interested students and professionals.