Pharmacy technician

Pharmacy technicians are members of the pharmacy team who help people get the best out of their medicines and the care services available within the NHS. They carry out specialised tasks, including preparing complex medicines and dispensing medicines safely for patients. They also work in GP practices undertaking a variety of tasks.

Pharmacy technicians are registered healthcare professionals.

Starting your career

Choosing subjects at school

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

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Human 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.

The role

As a pharmacy technician, you’ll prepare and dispense medicines safely. You will also be able to accuracy check medicines to guarantee they are safe to take. You’ll engage with patients and manage the supply of medicines while keeping a record of medicine history.

Your role may vary depending on where you work. If you are in a community pharmacy, you may give health advice to people about stopping smoking or sexual health.

If you’re in a hospital, you may 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.

If you are in primary care, you might 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 (GPs)
  • 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:

Did you know?

In Scotland, there are over 2000 pharmacy technicians working in hospitals, primary care and community pharmacies.

Learning and development

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

You may register with the GPhC and practise as a pharmacy technician once you have gained these qualifications and completed two years of consecutive work experience.

You will be required to 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