High Pharmacist Saturation in Australia | Academically

High Pharmacist Saturation in Australia- Should You Take The KAPS Exam?

Jun 21, 2024 4 min read
High Pharmacist Saturation in Australia

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the dynamics of pharmacist saturation in Australia, including the factors contributing to increased competition for available positions.
  • Assess the relevance and necessity of the KAPS exam in light of the current job market conditions and demand for pharmacists in Australia.
  • Stay informed about the job market trends and timing, with particular attention to opportunities for overseas pharmacists in March/April.
  • Maintain a positive outlook and proactive approach in navigating the challenges of the pharmacist job market in Australia, recognising the potential for success with the right timing and opportunity.

Australia, known for its high healthcare standards, has been a sought-after destination for pharmacists worldwide. However, recent trends indicate a saturation in the pharmacist job market, raising questions about the viability of pursuing a career in pharmacy in Australia. 

One crucial factor in this landscape is the KAPS (Knowledge Assessment of Pharmaceutical Sciences) exam, which is pivotal in determining a pharmacist's eligibility to practise in Australia.

In this blog, we will see the current situation of pharmacist saturation in Australia and explore whether taking the KAPS exam is still worthwhile.

Understanding Pharmacist Saturation

The Australian pharmacy job market has experienced a surge in pharmacy graduates in recent years, leading to increased competition for available positions. Factors contributing to this saturation might be because of: 

  • Expansion of pharmacy schools 
  • An influx of international pharmacy graduates
  • Changes in healthcare policies affecting the demand for pharmacists

Nevertheless, the opportunities are aplenty. As the most recent batch of local pharmacy graduates has completed their studies, the current trend in Australia is to fill available pharmacist positions with these freshly graduated individuals. Naturally, the country prioritises its citizens regarding employment opportunities within the healthcare sector. 

For International Pharmacy Graduates

This preference for local graduates does not mean overseas pharmacists are excluded from the job market. For overseas pharmacists seeking opportunities in Australia, the window of opportunity often opens around March to May. During this time, there tends to be movement within the job market, creating new openings and vacancies for pharmacists. 

Also, overseas pharmacists can expect more job postings and hiring activity in this period, allowing them to secure positions in Australia.

According to the Workforce Capability Project by The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, there is high demand for pharmacists in Australia as shown in the table and graph below.

Therefore, It's important for international pharmacy graduates to keep in mind to:

  • Surround themselves with positive influences (Pharmacists) 
  • Recognise that pharmacists are still highly sought after in Australia
  • Opportunities for Pharmacists jobs are abundant
  • Visas are readily available for pharmacists who have passed the KAPS exam
  • Many individuals are making the move to relocate to Australia for their careers

The Role of the KAPS Exam

The KAPS exam is a benchmark for assessing the pharmaceutical knowledge and competency of international pharmacy graduates seeking registration to practise in Australia. Successfully passing the exam is a crucial step towards obtaining full registration as a pharmacist in the country. 

However, the relevance and necessity of the KAPS exam have come under scrutiny amidst the changing dynamics of the pharmacist job market. But there's no need to feel intimidated because jobs are still aplenty, and international pharmacy graduates can become registered pharmacists here by taking the KAPS Exam.

Considerations for taking the KAPS Exam:

  • Career Aspirations: Before taking the KAPS exam, aspiring pharmacists should carefully assess their career goals and whether practising in Australia aligns with their aspirations.
  • Job Market Analysis: Conducting thorough research on Australia's current pharmacist job market is essential. Understanding demand-supply dynamics and job prospects can help individuals make informed decisions about pursuing registration in the country.
  • Alternative Pathways: Exploring alternative pathways to registration, such as undertaking further education or gaining experience in related fields, may offer viable options for individuals facing challenges with the traditional registration process.
  • Long-term Prospects: It is crucial to consider the long-term prospects of a career in pharmacy in Australia. While the current market may be saturated, trends in healthcare, demographic shifts, and evolving roles for pharmacists could influence future opportunities.

Benefits of taking the KAPS Exam:

  • Registration Eligibility: Successfully passing the KAPS exam is crucial to obtaining registration as a pharmacist in Australia, allowing international pharmacy graduates to practice there.
  • Career Opportunities: Holding a KAPS qualification enhances career opportunities for pharmacists in Australia, opening doors to a wider range of job prospects in various healthcare settings.
  • Professional Recognition: KAPS qualification signifies a high level of pharmaceutical knowledge and competency, providing international pharmacy graduates with professional recognition and credibility within the Australian healthcare system.
  • Visa Eligibility: Being KAPS qualified increases the likelihood of obtaining a visa to work as a pharmacist in Australia, as it demonstrates proficiency in pharmaceutical sciences and readiness for practice.
  • Competitive Advantage: Having a KAPS qualification gives international pharmacy graduates a competitive edge in the job market. Employers often prefer candidates who have successfully passed the exam due to their demonstrated proficiency in pharmaceutical sciences.
  • Career Progression: KAPS qualification lays a strong foundation for career progression and further specialisation within the pharmacy field, enabling pharmacists to pursue advanced roles and opportunities for professional development.
  • Global Recognition: KAPS qualification is recognised globally and can facilitate international mobility for pharmacists, opening doors to opportunities beyond Australia's borders.
KAPS Exam Preparation Course

In Summary

The pharmacist job market in Australia is vibrant and dynamic, offering ample opportunities for international pharmacy graduates to thrive. Concerns about saturation in the job market are unwarranted, as there is a healthy demand for pharmacists nationwide. 

International pharmacy graduates should feel confident about exploring career opportunities in Australia, knowing that their skills and expertise are valued in the country's flourishing healthcare sector.

The KAPS exam remains a vital requirement for practising pharmacy in Australia; individuals must assess its relevance in light of the evolving job market and explore diverse avenues for career advancement in the pharmaceutical sector. 

Academically boasts a pass percentage of >93% in the KAPS Exam. If you believe in your abilities, we are here to support you every step of the way. Our specially designed KAPS Preparation Course is tailored to help you succeed in your first attempt. 

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


Q. Why is the KAPS exam important?

Ans: The KAPS (Knowledge Assessment of Pharmaceutical Sciences) exam is important because it is a requirement for international pharmacy graduates seeking registration to practice as pharmacists in Australia. Passing the exam demonstrates proficiency in pharmaceutical sciences and ensures that pharmacists meet the necessary standards to provide safe and effective pharmaceutical care to patients in Australia.

Q. Does KAPS have a negative marking?

Ans: No, the KAPS (Knowledge Assessment of Pharmaceutical Sciences) exam has no negative marking. Each question carries equal weight, and there is no penalty for incorrect answers. Therefore, it is advantageous for candidates to attempt all questions, even if they are unsure of the correct answer.

Q. Who is eligible for the KAPS exam?

Ans: Eligibility for the KAPS (Knowledge Assessment of Pharmaceutical Sciences) exam is typically restricted to international pharmacy graduates with a recognised pharmacy qualification and registration from outside Australia. Candidates must also meet additional requirements set by the Pharmacy Board of Australia, which may include English language proficiency and character assessment criteria.

Dr. Indu K
Dr. Indu K
about the author

Dr. Indu K is a dentist with one year of clinical experience. She seamlessly transitioned into content writing three years ago. Her passion lies in making complex medical information accessible to everyone. She uses her unique blend of medical knowledge and exceptional writing skills to bridge the gap between healthcare and the general audience.