Pharmacy technicians are in charge of medicine preparation, supply, and dispensing. They are vital parts of the pharmacy and multidisciplinary teams, and they help patients get the most out of their drugs. To ensure that medications are taken successfully and safely, liaison with patients, other healthcare experts, and consumers is essential.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- choose the correct items for a prescription
- weigh ingredients, measure liquids and count tablets
- put together ointments and medicines
- make sure prescriptions are legal and accurate
- create labels to tell people how to take medicine
- order new stock using computerised systems
- give advice to customers about prescriptions and refer complex queries to the pharmacist
- sell over-the-counter medicines
- handle confidential information
- refer complex queries to the pharmacist.
- If you’re working in the NHS, newly qualified pharmacy technicians will usually start at £23,949 band 4 of the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scale.
- Experienced pharmacy technicians with 3 years of experience can earn up to £26, 282 per year.
- You’ll also have access to a generous pension scheme and health service discounts, as well as at least 27 days of annual leave plus bank holidays.
You will typically work 37 to 40 hours per week, working evenings, weekends and bank holidays on a rota.
You could work in an NHS or private hospital, at a health centre, in a prison or at a store.
You may need to wear protective clothing and a uniform.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice pharmacy technician include:
- Level 3 Pharmacy Technician – Entry requirements for this level include 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship. This qualification will take 24 months to complete.
On a pharmacy technician apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- 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 use a computer and the main software packages competently.
As a pharmacy technician you could work in:
- community pharmacies
- GP practices
- care homes
- patient’s homes
- the armed forces
- pharmaceutical industry.
You will be required to keep your skills and knowledge up to date by participating in annual continuing professional development (CPD) and formal tests administered by the General Pharmaceutical Council.
Your company may provide in-house training, and regional and national courses and qualifications are also available.
- You could become a senior pharmacy technician, responsible for the work of other pharmacy technicians and pharmacy assistants.
- You may even decide to go into management and leadership roles.
- You could specialise, in areas such as mental health, oncology (cancer treatment) or paediatrics.