Pharmacy technicians manage the supply of medicines in a community pharmacy and assist pharmacists with advisory services. In hospitals, they can undertake more specialised work such as manufacturing or preparing complex medicines, as well as enforcing medicines management.
Pharmacy technicians are part of the pharmacy team, preparing and dispensing medicines.
- taking in and handing out prescriptions
- dispensing prescriptions
- using computer systems to generate stock lists and labels
- ordering items
- receiving, loading, unloading deliveries
- delivering medicines to other parts of a hospital or health centre
- selling over-the-counter medicines
- answering customers questions face to face or by phone
- pre-packing, assembling and labelling medicines
- managing other staff members and the dispensary
- preparing medicines
- referring problems or queries to the pharmacist
Training to become a pharmacy technician usually takes two years.
Pharmacy technicians work as part of healthcare teams in hospitals or community pharmacies.
To practice as a pharmacy technician, you have to be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). To register, you need to study for an accredited qualification such as:
- BTEC National Diploma in Pharmaceutical Science
- NVQ Level 3 in Pharmacy Services
- National Certificate in Pharmaceutical Science
To apply for a course, you need to be working in a pharmacy. Employers offer jobs for trainee pharmacy technicians (or dispensing assistants).
Employers usually ask for at least 4 GCSEs (A-C), including English, maths and science or equivalent qualifications. It will help your application if you can show that you have an understanding of pharmacy and how it benefits patients.
Pharmacy technicians need to be:
- accurate and methodical
- able to pay attention to detail
- ready to refer to the pharmacist when necessary
- able to understand law and guidelines on medicines
- able to read and carry out instructions
- interested in people’s health
- willing to work with all types of people
- able to explain clearly to members of the public
- communication skills including listening
- good customer skills
- science skills
- good manual (hand) skills
- IT skills
- organisation skills
Training and development:
Training to become a pharmacy technician usually takes two years. It combines practical work experience with study, either at college or by distance learning. Courses cover:
- human physiology
- disease management
- actions and uses of medicine pharmacy manufacturing
- pharmacy law
In order to practise in Great Britain, pharmacy technicians must be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and have satisfied the Council that it meets its detailed requirements. Registered pharmacy technicians have to keep their skills and knowledge up to date with annual continuing professional development (CPD).