Pharmacy technician

Pharmacy Technicians are a key part of the pharmacy team, carrying out specialised tasks, such as preparing complex medicines or dispensing medicines safely for patients. Working closely with other healthcare professionals, both in the pharmacy and ward/clinic settings within hospitals, GP Practices or in an NHS contracted community pharmacy.

Pharmacy technicians supply medicines to patients and the public. Other tasks normally include:

  • reviewing and recording medicines a patient is taking
  • providing advice to patients on how to take and store their medicines safely
  • monitoring and ordering medicines and stock maintenance
  • analysing and interpreting patient data and providing reports
  • working closely with other healthcare teams
  • training and supervising staff, such as pharmacy support workers (sometimes known as pharmacy assistants or dispensing assistants)

As a pharmacy technician, you’ll need the following skills:

  • accuracy skills and excellent attention to detail
  • numeracy and IT skills
  • good time management skills
  • good communication and interpersonal skills
  • problem-solving skills
  • professional attitude

Useful abilities include:

  • able to work on your own and as part of a team
  • able to explain information clearly to patients and members of the public
  • able to understand guidelines on medicines

To become a pharmacy technician, working in a hospital setting, a GP Practice or community pharmacy, you will need to find employment as a pre-registration trainee pharmacy technician.

To apply for a job as a pre-registration trainee pharmacy technician, you are likely to need 4 SQA National 4 qualifications, or equivalent. These should include English, Maths, Chemistry and Biology. Alternatively, an SQA SVQ Level 2 Pharmacy Services qualification would also be accepted.

Pharmacy technicians must be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). To register, you need to study for an accredited qualification, such as:

Once you have gained these qualifications and completed 2 years of consecutive work experience, with a minimum of 14 hours a week, you can then register with the GPhC and practice as a pharmacy technician.

To maintain your registration, you will be required to undergo revalidation each year to demonstrate that you are regularly reflecting on your learning and practice and keeping up to date.

There are many opportunities for experienced pharmacy technicians to specialise in specific areas of pharmacy, such as:

  • medicines management
  • General Practice
  • procurement
  • education and training
  • information technology
  • clinical trials
  • medicines information services

Find out more information from these professional and regulatory bodies:

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is the regulatory body for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy premises. It accredits education programmes and promotes standards for the safe and effective practice of pharmacy, to ensure public health and safety is protected. Find out more on the GPhC website.

Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK)

Since 1952, APTUK has been the professional leadership body for registered pharmacy technicians in the UK. Working on behalf of pharmacy technicians, it engages with other pharmacy organisations to promote professional excellence, ensuring the health and wellbeing of patients is a primary focus. Discover more on the APTUK website.