Pharmacy technicians prepare and supply medicines for prescriptions, under the supervision of a pharmacist.
Salary range: £19,500 to £30,000
How to become a pharmacy technician
You can get into this job through:
- an apprenticeship
- a trainee position
You could do an advanced apprenticeship in health pharmacy services or a pharmacy technician advanced apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
You can apply for a trainee pharmacy technician position. Employers will often ask for 4 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English, maths and science, Level 2 Diploma in Applied Science, or equivalent qualifications.
You’ll do on-the-job training over 2 years and work towards qualifications which show your knowledge and skills, like a:
- Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Pharmacy Service Skills
- Level 3 Diploma in Pharmaceutical Science
- you’ll need to register with the General Pharmaceutical Council
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- customer service skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- excellent verbal communication skills
- active listening skills
- maths knowledge
- the ability to work well with others
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- administration skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks may include:
- choosing the correct items for a prescription
- weighing ingredients, measuring liquids and counting tablets
- putting together ointments and medicines
- making sure prescriptions are legal and accurate
- creating labels to tell people how to take medicine
- ordering new stock using computerised systems
- giving advice to customers about prescription and over-the-counter medicines
- handling confidential information
You could work at a health centre or at a store.
You may need to wear protective clothing and a uniform.
Career path and progression
In a hospital, you could move to:
- a specialist role like clinical technician, working with healthcare professionals and patients on wards
- a specialist area of work like oncology, paediatrics, or clinical trials
- research and development
In a pharmacy, you could become a supervisor or manager.
You could also train as a pharmacist through a pharmacy foundation degree, which is a two-year, full-time course. When you finish this course, you can then apply for year two of an accredited MPharm degree.
In industry, you could move into more specialised areas of development and production, or move into sales or marketing.
Another option is to become a pharmacy assessor working with trainee pharmacy technicians.