Similar careers

How to become a Pharmacy Technician

pharmacy technician careers

What does a Pharmacy Technician do?

Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of a pharmacist. They prepare and supply medicine which includes weighing out required ingredients, counting tablets, measuring liquids and selecting correct items to make up prescriptions.

They also prepare labels with descriptions of medicines and instructions for their use, keep records, check stock levels and order stock; most of this will be computerised.

Pharmacy technicians working in hospitals are also responsible for making sure all departments have sufficient stocks of drugs. Senior technicians may specialise in specific areas, such as radio-pharmacy or ward pharmacy.

Community pharmacists working in retail outlets may advise customers on the use of medicines or on general health issues, referring them to a pharmacist if necessary. They make sure prescriptions are legal and accurate. As well as pharmacy goods, they may sell a wide range of over the counter medicines and other products.

What's the working environment like working as a Pharmacy Technician?

Technicians in a hospital setting may be required to work weekends or shifts on a rota basis. Technicians in the community are likely to work a shift pattern that includes Saturdays and some Sundays. Part-time work is often available.

Hygiene and cleanliness are essential in all work areas. In some cases pharmacy technicians work in sterile or radioactive areas which necessitates the wearing of special protective clothing. In hospital and community pharmacies they may be required to wear a uniform.

What does it take to become a Pharmacy Technician?

As a pharmacy technician, you will need:

  • an interest in science and medicine and a good level of scientific and numerical ability
  • a methodical and accurate approach to practical tasks
  • a high level of concentration as much of the work is of a routine nature
  • administrative skills for record keeping
  • a friendly, patient and sympathetic nature
  • tact and discretion when dealing with confidential or potentially embarrassing information
  • the ability to explain complicated instructions clearly to customers
  • teamwork skills
  • some sales ability if working in the community retail sector.

Pharmacy Technician Career Opportunities

There is ongoing demand for pharmacy technicians in both the health service and the retail/community sector. Hospital technicians seeking promotion usually undertake further study. Promotion gives the opportunity for specialisation. There are five grades of technician in NHS hospitals. In the community retail sector, promotion can mean moving into management, sales or marketing.

Some technicians move into research, development and production work in hospitals or the pharmaceutical industry.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Pharmacy Technician that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

NHS Learning and Development Service
Tel: 08000 150 850
Email: learning@nhscareers.nhs.uk

NHS Careers
PO Box 376
BS99 3EY
Tel: 0845 606 0655

The National Pharmaceutical Association (NPA)
Training Dept
Mallinson House
38-42 St Peters Street
St Albans
Tel: 01727 832161

Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain
1 Lambeth High Street
Tel: 020 7735 9141

SEMTA (Science Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance)
14 Upton Road
WD18 0JT
Tel: 0808 100 3682

Facts and Stats:

  • The biggest blood transfusion was carried out in 1970 and totalled 1,080 litres.
  • The record number of surviving multiple births is seven, recorded in both Illinois, USA and Saudi Arabia.
  • The thumb has a special section, separate from the area that controls the fingers, reserved for it in the brain.

Courses to help you become a Pharmacy Technician