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 setting within a hospital, a GP Practice or in an NHS contracted community pharmacy, pharmacy technicians also check and record medicines patients are taking.

The Role(s)

Working under the supervision of a qualified pharmacist, pharmacy technicians prepare and supply medicines that make up a patient’s prescription.

Other tasks normally include:

  • monitoring and ordering medicines
  • using computer systems to generate stock lists and labels

Skills, Interests and Abilities

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

  • accuracy skills and excellent attention to detail
  • numeracy and IT skills
  • good communication and interpersonal skills
  • professional attitude

Useful abilities include:

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

Entry Requirements

To become a pharmacy technician, working in a hospital setting, a GP Practice or community pharmacy, you will need to find employment as a trainee pharmacy technician, supervised by a registered pharmacist.

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:

  • SQA SVQ in Pharmacy Services - Level 3 (SCQF Level 6/7)
  • SQA National Certificate in Pharmacy Services (SCQF Level 6) 2 day release course at a college

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.

Modern Apprenticeships

Modern Apprenticeships offer those aged over 16 paid employment with the opportunity to train for jobs at craft, technician and management level.

The Modern Apprenticeship in Pharmacy Services Level 3 at SCQF Level 6 is a framework for people interested in working in a pharmacy setting. For more information about this Modern Apprenticeship framework, look at:

 

Learning and Development

To maintain your registration, you will be required to undertake Continuing Professional Development.

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

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

Professional Bodies

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is the regulatory body for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. 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.

www.pharmacyregulation.org

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.

www.aptuk.org