Pharmacy technician

Pharmacy Technicians work in a wide range of settings, including: registered pharmacies, community services, the Prison Service, GP Practices, dispensing doctors’ practices, care homes and clinical commissioning groups, hospitals, mental health, defence and within the pharmaceutical industry. They prepare medicines and other healthcare products for the supply to patients. Pharmacy Technicians also take an active role in providing patients with guidance on taking medicines.

Pharmacy technicians manage the supply of medicines and devices in a pharmacy and assist pharmacists with advisory services. As a qualified technician you could be involved in the following areas of work:

  • providing safe and effective pharmacy services
  • supply medicines and devices to patients, whether on prescription or over the counter
  • achieving the best outcomes through a patient’s medicines
  • assemble medicines for prescriptions
  • provide information to patients and other healthcare professionals
  • manage areas of medicines supply such as dispensaries
  • supervise other pharmacy staff / training and development
  • answering customers questions face to face or by phone
  • pre-packing, assembling and labelling medicines
  • referring problems or queries to the pharmacist
  • manufacturing
  • aseptic dispensing
  • quality control
  • procurement
  • information technology
  • clinical trials
  • medicines information

As a vocational course, it is flexible in its delivery. It can be delivered face-to-face, at a distance, online or a combination of these. The training consists of two years consecutive work-based experience under the direction of a pharmacist or pharmacy technician to whom the trainee is directly accountable for not less than 14 hours per week.

To qualify as a pharmacy technicianyou need to complete an integrated competency and knowledge-based qualification/course approved by the General Pharmaceutical Council

The entry requirements will vary depending on the course provider. However, as a guide, you might be expected to have the equivalent of four GCSEs at Grade C and above, including mathematics, English language, science and one other subject. You will also need to be working in a pharmacy under the supervision of a pharmacist or pharmacy technician as per the General Pharmaceutical Council criteria for registration as a pharmacy technician in Great Britain – September 2019.

You can find details of the approved national qualifications and training providers accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council together with the latest accreditation reports.

For further information on the accreditation of these programmes, please see Approval process for education and training providers.

The standards for pharmacy professionals are relevant to all pharmacy students and trainees while they are on their journey towards registration and practice. The standards explain the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours that will be expected of students and trainees if they apply to join the register.

Students and trainees should use them as a tool to prepare for registration and read them alongside other relevant documents that are provided by their education and training provider.

The General Pharmaceutical Council recommends that a pre-registration trainee pharmacy technician’s employer chooses a pharmacist or pharmacy technician to act as the trainee’s designated educational supervisor. That person should have oversight of the trainee’s training and should be a source of advice and guidance. The educational supervisor might have another role as well, such as being an assessor.

Pre-registration trainee pharmacy technicians can have a variety of people actively involved in their training. These can include mentors, assessors, work colleagues and line managers. We have developed guidance on tutoring for those that play an active role in the training of pharmacy technicians.

General Pharmaceutical Council approved courses/qualifications delivered through an apprenticeship funding route must fulfil all the relevant requirements of the apprenticeship standard, and as such this will include the End Point Assessment (EPA). It is a requirement that apprentice pharmacy technician trainees must pass the EPA to be eligible to register with the General Pharmaceutical Council. The funding route for pharmacy technical education in Wales and Scotland is a devolved matter and is subject to local arrangements.