Healthcare & Medical


Pharmacologists evaluate the origin, effects and mechanisms of drugs, and research and test current and new drugs for human and animal use.

  • Entry-level education

    Bachelor's degree + post-graduate qualification / training

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Pharmacologist do?

Pharmacologists evaluate the origin, effects and mechanisms of drugs, and research and test current and new drugs for human and animal use.


Work activities

As a pharmacologist, you would:

  • design, set up and carry out controlled experiments
  • collect, analyse and interpret data using complex equipment and measuring systems
  • testing drugs on cells in laboratories, and through clinical trials on humans
  • write reports and make recommendations based on the results of experiments and research
  • use the results of research to develop new products and manufacturing processes
  • aim to understand unwanted or harmful effects of drugs so they can be used effectively and safely
  • oversee tests of manufactured drugs and medicines, ensuring quality control and securing approval for their use
  • liaise with national and international regulatory authorities
  • share the results of your findings and work by publishing papers and attending conferences.

Key skills and interests

To become a pharmacologist, you would need:

  • an aptitude for science, maths, and statistics
  • an enquiring mind
  • the ability to analyse and interpret large amounts of data
  • good IT skills
  • a creative and innovative approach
  • good problem solving skills
  • accuracy and attention to detail.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

As a full-time pharmacologist, you will usually work a standard number of hours per week, Monday to Friday. You might also need to be involved in experiments or clinical trials that mean working longer hours. If you are based in a university or work as a researcher in industry, you would regularly work extra hours.


You would spend much of your time in a laboratory, but you may also travel to carry out fieldwork or attend scientific meetings and conferences.

In a laboratory, you would wear protective clothing.


How to become an Pharmacologist?

Entry Level Education

To become a pharmacologist you usually have to complete a degree in biomedical science, medical science, pharmaceutical science or science at university, with a major in pharmacology. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, mathematics, biology, chemistry, earth and environmental science, and physics would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university.

To be accredited to practise as a Clinical Pharmacologist in Australia or New Zealand, you must complete the Clinical Pharmacology Advanced Training Program to become a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (FRACP).


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of pharmacologists is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations.

An increased reliance on pharmaceuticals, greater affluence that allows for more spending on medicine — along with a larger and aging population - and a greater understanding of biological processes, are all factors that are expected to increase demand for pharmacologists.


CareerHQ Compass

Discover the path to your future

How can CareerHQ Compass help you?