The contribution of pharmacists to health care is based, in most countries, upon a body of knowledge and expertise acquired from a university degree (or equivalent) education, followed by a formally designated period of supervised pre-registration practical experience. In several countries, the commonest qualifications are diplomas, and these are not equivalent to degrees. Basic professional education is reinforced by a professional obligation to observe both statutory and professional measures related to control of safety and quality of drugs and procedures, and increasingly by continuing education, which in some places is required as a condition of continuing registration or licensure.
From their basic education and pre-registration training, students acquire a broad understanding of the scientific principles and techniques of the pharmaceutical sciences and the ability to keep pace throughout their careers with developments in medicine and pharmacy. Their knowledge and expertise extends to all aspects of the preparation, distribution, action and uses of drugs and medicines, and they should have acquired sufficient scientific discipline of mind to enable them to be efficient self-learners and to benefit from continuing education, as well as to enable those who wish to continue their studies to undertake postgraduate training or research.