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Pharmacy technician

Nurse picking up medicines

What is a pharmacy technician?

Pharmacy technicians are skilled and essential members of the pharmacy team who manage the supply of medicines and assist pharmacists with advisory services to patients and the public.

Is pharmacy the right career for me?

Pharmacy is a science-based profession where you need to have an interest in the actions and uses of medicines in the human body and also in providing health care advice.

As a pharmacy technician you will need to be:

  • Caring
  • Good with people and able to motivate them
  • Able to work as part of multidisciplinary team as well as having the ability to use your initiative

What do pharmacy technicians do?

Pharmacy technicians help people to understand how to take their medicines and use them safely. The pharmacy technician works with other healthcare professionals, like pharmacists, doctors and nurses to make sure that medicines are ready for people when needed.

Pharmacy technicians are involved in providing some services through the pharmacy which are designed to save people having to make a GP appointment. Pharmacy technicians run the prescription dispensing processes in pharmacies. This often involves overseeing other members of the pharmacy team who can dispense. There are many things that Pharmacy technicians can advise on around over the counter medicine sales and healthy lifestyles before having to refer people to speak to the pharmacist.

Pharmacy technicians work with a wide range of people to manage their conditions and maintain good health:

  • Children – common childhood illnesses: chicken pox, constipation, head lice
  • Long term medical conditions: asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes
  • Elderly – monitoring for side-effects and stopping medicines

Where do pharmacy technicians work?

In NHS Wales, a pre-registration pharmacy technician works in a pharmacy whilst undertaking a facilitated distance learning course to achieve a Level 3 BTEC National Certificate Pharmacy Services. There is also work based learning and assessment to achieve a Level 3 NVQ (QCF) Diploma in Pharmacy Service Skills.

Training and working as a pharmacy technician offers you the opportunity to work in a number of settings, including:

  • Community Pharmacies
  • GP surgeries
  • Nursing homes
  • Hospitals
  • Specialist sterile manufacturing units
  • Further education colleges

How much do pharmacy technicians earn?

The NHS salary for a newly registered pharmacy technician is Band 4; please see our Pay and Benefits section for more information.

What career progression opportunities are available for pharmacy technicians?

Pharmacy offers many different and flexible employment options. Once you’ve qualified and gained the appropriate clinical, specialist or managerial experience you could become a:

  • Accredited checking technician in hospital or community
  • Medicines management technician on a specialist ward
  • Prescribing support technician in primary care
  • An NVQ assessor
  • Responsible for managing an area of a manufacturing unit
  • A community pharmacy chain

How do I become pharmacy technician?

Do I need a degree? No, if you want to work as a pharmacy technician you will need to complete General Pharmaceutical Council approved courses to demonstrate the required knowledge and competency. You can then join the professional register and begin to practice.
Where can I train in Wales?

Hospital training posts are advertised as 2 year fixed term contracts on NHS jobs. Visit the Pre-registration Education page to find out more.

Large community pharmacy chains advertise opportunities on their websites.

Is there funding available? During the 2 year training programme the salary is 70-75% of a band 4 salary.
Are there post registration opportunities? Yes, continuing professional development is essential for example leadership, education and training developments and Level 4 Agored units.
Do I need previous experience to apply for the course? Any experience in caring roles, will be an advantage. As will experience with public facing, team working or leadership roles.
How do I get experience? Contact individual employers to arrange a look around. To find out about work experience and volunteering opportunities in NHS Wales visit our Work section.
How do I apply for a job?

All vacancies for NHS Wales are advertised on NHS Jobs. Visit our Work section for more information.

The large pharmacy chains also advertise jobs through their own websites.

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