Average Pharmacist Salary in South Africa (2024)

The average Pharmacist Salary in South Africa is R38,741 per month. An entry-level Pharmacist earns a salary range of R21,858, a Mid-career level earns about R39,817, and a senior/experienced level earns R53,125 per month.

Average Pharmacist Salary in South Africa

Job Title Approximate Monthly Salary (ZAR)
Entry-Level Pharmacist 21,858
Mid-Career Pharmacist 39,817
Experienced Pharmacist 53,125

Types of Pharmacist and Their Functions in South Africa

In South Africa, pharmacists play crucial roles in the healthcare system, and there are several types of pharmacists, each with distinct functions.

1. Community Pharmacists

These pharmacists work in community pharmacies, providing direct patient care. They dispense medications, offer advice on over-the-counter drugs, and educate patients on proper medication usage. Community pharmacists also play a vital role in promoting public health through services like vaccinations and health screenings.

2. Hospital Pharmacists

Found in hospital settings, these pharmacists work closely with healthcare teams to ensure patients receive appropriate medications. They manage hospital drug distribution, provide drug information to healthcare professionals, and contribute to formulary management. Hospital pharmacists may also be involved in clinical services such as therapeutic drug monitoring.

3. Industrial Pharmacists

Working in pharmaceutical companies, industrial pharmacists are involved in drug development, manufacturing, and quality control. They ensure that medications are produced safely, meet regulatory standards, and are effective. Industrial pharmacists may also be engaged in research and development of new drugs.

4. Regulatory Pharmacists

Responsible for ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements, these pharmacists work for government agencies. They assess drug applications, monitor pharmaceutical companies for adherence to regulations, and contribute to the safety and efficacy of medications in the market.

5. Clinical Pharmacists

Often part of healthcare teams in hospitals, clinical pharmacists focus on optimizing medication therapy. They work closely with physicians to choose the most effective and safe medications, monitor patients for adverse effects, and provide drug information to both healthcare professionals and patients.

6. Academic Pharmacists

Found in universities and research institutions, academic pharmacists are involved in teaching, research, and scholarly activities. They train future pharmacists, conduct research to advance the field, and contribute to academic publications. Academic pharmacists often play a role in shaping pharmacy education and curriculum development.

7. Consultant Pharmacists

These pharmacists work independently or as part of consulting firms, providing expertise in medication management. They may offer services to long-term care facilities, hospices, or other healthcare organizations, optimizing medication regimens for specific patient populations.

8. Military

Pharmacists in the military ensure the health and well-being of military personnel. They are involved in dispensing medications, managing pharmacy operations on military bases, and contributing to healthcare delivery in challenging environments.

In South Africa, the roles and functions of pharmacists are evolving to meet the changing needs of the healthcare system. Pharmacists across these various domains collaborate to ensure the safe and effective use of medications, contributing significantly to public health.

Factors Affecting Pharmacist’s Salaries in South Africa

Factors affecting pharmacists’ salaries in South Africa are influenced by a combination of educational, experiential, and economic variables.

1. Education and Qualifications: The level of education and qualifications plays a significant role in determining a pharmacist’s salary. Pharmacists with advanced degrees or specialized certifications often command higher salaries.

2. Experience: The level of professional experience is a crucial factor. Pharmacists with years of practical experience tend to receive higher compensation, reflecting their expertise and contributions to healthcare.

3. Location: Geographic location is another determinant. Salaries may vary between urban and rural areas due to differences in the cost of living and demand for healthcare services.

4. Type of Employer: Working for different types of employers, such as hospitals, community pharmacies, or pharmaceutical companies, can impact salaries. Private sector positions may offer higher pay compared to public sector roles.

5. Industry Demand: The demand for pharmacists in specific regions or sectors can influence compensation. Areas with a higher demand for healthcare professionals may offer more competitive salaries to attract and retain talent.

6. Economic Conditions: Overall economic conditions, inflation rates, and healthcare budgets in South Africa can impact salary structures. Economic stability and growth often correlate with better remuneration for healthcare professionals.

7. Negotiation Skills: An individual’s ability to negotiate salary and benefits during job offers or performance reviews can also affect earnings. Strong negotiation skills may result in better compensation packages.

8. Specialization: Pharmacists specializing in niche areas such as clinical pharmacy, pharmacoeconomics, or pharmaceutical research may receive higher salaries due to their specialized knowledge and skills.

9. Government Regulations: Regulatory frameworks and policies established by the government can influence salaries. Changes in healthcare legislation or policies may impact the compensation structures for pharmacists.

10. Professional Development: Continuous professional development and staying updated with industry trends can enhance a pharmacist’s value, potentially leading to higher salaries.

11. Workload and Responsibilities: The scope of responsibilities and workload can affect salaries. Pharmacists with managerial or leadership roles may receive higher compensation due to increased responsibilities.

Understanding these factors is essential for pharmacists and employers alike to ensure fair and competitive compensation, contributing to a motivated and skilled workforce in the South African healthcare system.

How to Become a Pharmacist in South Africa

To become a pharmacist in South Africa, one must follow a structured educational and professional pathway. Here is a detailed guide on how to become a pharmacist in South Africa:

Educational Requirements:

1. Matriculation:

Obtain a National Senior Certificate (NSC) or an equivalent qualification with subjects including Mathematics, Physical Science, and Life Sciences.

2. Bachelor’s Degree:

Enroll in a Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) degree program at a recognized university in South Africa. This typically is a four-year undergraduate program.

3. Pharmacy Internship:

After completing the BPharm degree, aspiring pharmacists must undergo a compulsory internship year. During this period, they work under the supervision of a registered pharmacist to gain practical experience.

Professional Registration

4. South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC):

Apply for registration with the South African Pharmacy Council. This involves submitting required documents, proof of internship completion, and payment of the necessary fees.

5. Pharmacy Board Exam:

Successfully pass the Pharmacy Board Exam administered by the South African Pharmacy Council. This exam assesses theoretical knowledge and practical skills acquired during the BPharm degree and internship.

Practical Training

6. Community Service:

Upon passing the board exam, new pharmacists are required to complete a year of community service. This service is usually in a public health facility or underserved area, providing an opportunity to serve the community while gaining further practical experience.

Ongoing Professional Development

7. Continuing Professional Development (CPD):

As a registered pharmacist, it is mandatory to participate in ongoing professional development activities. This ensures that pharmacists stay updated on the latest advancements in the field.

Additional Notes

8. Specialization:

Pharmacists can choose to specialize in various fields such as clinical pharmacy, industrial pharmacy, or research. Specialization often involves further education and training.

9. Ethical Standards:

Adhere to the ethical standards set by the South African Pharmacy Council. Pharmacists are expected to maintain the highest level of professionalism and integrity in their practice.

10. Licensing:

Renewal of annual licenses with the South African Pharmacy Council is required to continue practising medicine

11. Networking:

Joining professional organizations and networks can provide pharmacists with opportunities for collaboration, information exchange, and career advancement.



The average Pharmacist Salary in South Africa is R38,741 per month. Pharmacists in South Africa navigate a complex landscape shaped by regulatory, economic, technological, and social factors. Addressing these challenges requires a comprehensive approach involving stakeholders from the healthcare sector, regulatory bodies, and educational institutions to ensure the continued success and well-being of pharmacists and, consequently, the healthcare system as a whole.

Becoming a pharmacist in South Africa involves a comprehensive process of education, practical training, professional registration, and ongoing development. It requires dedication, a commitment to ethical standards, and a desire to contribute to the well-being of the community through the provision of pharmaceutical services.