How to become a pharmacy technician

Pharmacy technicians are registered healthcare professionals. They help people take and store their medicines safely and provide healthcare advice. Pharmacy technicians work in community pharmacies, hospitals, and primacy care.

Starting your career

Choosing subjects at school

To become a pharmacy technician, you need a good standard of education. Useful subjects include:

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Maths
  • English

Work placement

If you’re at school or thinking of changing career, doing a work placement could help you when applying to college, university or for a job in healthcare. You’ll learn new skills, improve your knowledge and discover what it’s like to work in the health service. Find out how to apply for work experience with the NHS.

Apprenticeships

Foundation Apprenticeships

A Foundation Apprenticeship could give you valuable work experience. Find out about the Foundation Apprenticeship in Social Services and Healthcare.

Technical Apprenticeship in Pharmacy Services

To become a qualified pharmacy technician, you must complete the Technical Apprenticeship in Pharmacy Services. During the apprenticeship, you'll be employed as a pre-registration trainee pharmacy technician.

The training programme includes these qualifications:

Once you've completed your training, you'll register with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) as a pharmacy technician.

Find out more about the Technical Apprenticeship in Pharmacy Services.

The role

As a pharmacy technician, you’ll prepare and dispense medicines safely and carry out accuracy checking to guarantee they are safe to take. You’ll also speak with patients and manage their supply of medicines, while keeping a record of their medicine history.

Your role may vary depending on where you work.

Community pharmacy

In a community pharmacy, you'll give health advice to people about sexual health or stopping smoking.

Hospital pharmacy

in a hospital pharmacy, you'll be involved in reviewing medicines, counselling, and giving advice on different treatment options. You’ll be expected to provide a link between wards, patients and the pharmacy. You could also be involved in aseptic work, such as preparing feeds or chemotherapy medicines for patients.

Primary care

In primary care, you could be working in a GP practice. You’ll do medication reviews and you will liaise with other healthcare professionals to provide effective patient care.

What you’ll do

Your main tasks include:

  • reviewing and recording medicines
  • providing advice on how to take and store medicines safely
  • monitoring, ordering and taking stock of medicines received from pharmacy suppliers
  • interpreting prescriptions, creating labels and supplying the appropriate medication
  • recording, analysing and interpreting data

Top skills

You’ll need these skills:

  • caring for people
  • professionalism
  • communicating with people
  • collaborating with people
  • decision-making
  • leadership
  • numeracy
  • organisation
  • problem-solving

Who you’ll work with

You could work with:

  • pharmacists
  • pharmacy support workers
  • general practitioners (GP's)
  • other healthcare professionals

Working environment

You could work in:

  • hospitals
  • community pharmacies
  • GP practices
  • prisons

Useful information

To work as a pharmacy technician in NHSScotland, you’ll need to:

Learning and development

As a pharmacy technician, you'll undergo revalidation each year to maintain your registration. You’ll also have to show that you're regularly reflecting on your learning and practise.

Career progression

As you gain experience as a registered pharmacy technician, there will be many opportunities for you to progress. With training, you may choose to specialise in an area of pharmacy such as:

  • medicines management
  • general practice
  • procurement
  • clinical trials
  • education
  • information technology and digital solutions
  • aseptic
  • care at home
  • oncology
  • paediatrics
  • medicines information
  • research and development
  • service development and management
  • clinical pharmacy

Technical Apprenticeship in Pharmacy Services

Learn more about the pre-registration trainee pharmacy technician programme.

Alisha, pre-registration trainee pharmacy technician

Find out what inspired Alisha to train to become a pharmacy technician.