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.
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.
As a pharmacy technician, you will need:
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.
If you would like to know anything about Pharmacy Technician that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.
The National Pharmaceutical Association (NPA)
38-42 St Peters Street
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
Tel: 0808 100 3682