Pharmacy technician

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Healthcare
Care

Career outlook for pharmacy technician

UK Salary Ranges

Entry-level

£20,329

Experienced

£31,533


Currently employed in Scotland

3,000

Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would prepare and supply prescription medicine to treat people’s illnesses and health conditions.

You could be based in a community, hospital pharmacy or primary care (for example, GP practices or care homes). You’d work under the supervision of a qualified pharmacist.

You would:

  • select the correct items to make up a prescription
  • weigh out ingredients, measure liquids and count out tablets
  • put together ointment mixtures, and medicines
  • make sure prescriptions are legal and accurate
  • create labels which give information about the medicines and how to use them
  • order new stock using computerised systems

If you work in a hospital pharmacy you might be responsible for making up medicines for patients who are having cancer treatment. These need to be made in special sterile conditions to avoid contamination. It is especially important in these cases to be as accurate and methodical as possible.

You would also be responsible for making sure that each department in the hospital has the right amount of medicine in stock. With experience, you could specialise in a particular area such as quality control, clinical trials or medicines information services.

If you work in a community pharmacy, you would talk with customers to:

  • advise them about prescription medicines and over-the-counter products
  • advise about healthy living
  • explain how to deal with minor illness

Some pharmacy technicians also provide a stop smoking service.

You’d need to be able to explain things clearly. People may be embarrassed about their health conditions so you’d need to have tact and discretion.

You would refer them to a pharmacist or healthcare professional when necessary.

You can see more about this role in the National Health Service on the Pharmacy technician page on the NHS Scotland Careers website.

Working conditions

Hours

You would usually work between 37 and 40 hours a week, including weekends and some evenings. You may be expected to work on a rota based system. Part-time hours are also often available.

Environment

Your employer will usually provide you with a uniform and protective clothing if working under sterile conditions.

UK employment status

Full-time

68%

Part-time

32%

Self employed

0%

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  • Positive attitude
  • Supporting
  • Verbal communication
  • Social conscience
  • Attention to detail
  • Implementing ideas
  • Taking responsibility
  • Understanding

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Qualifications

You'll need to complete a 2-year accredited pharmacy technician course involving a mix of practical work experience and study. You'll usually be employed by a pharmacy as a pre-registration trainee pharmacy technician and study for a level 3 apprenticeship.

You can then register with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and practise as a qualified pharmacy technician. 

Visit NHS health careers to find courses to become a pharmacy technician. 

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Maths
  • Human biology
  • Business
  • ICT subjects
  • Care

You will also need

To work as a pharmacy technician you need to be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). 

To register you need to successfully complete:

  • one of the accredited qualifications
  • 2 years of work experience

Helpful to have

You can find more information on the NHS health careers website.