What is a pharmacy technician?
Pharmacy technicians are senior members of the pharmacy team, who’s job role involves managing and preparing the supply of medicines, while providing patient counselling on how to take these medicines safely. Pharmacy technicians may also be involved in delivering certain public health services, for example, providing advice on stopping smoking.
A pharmacy technician’s duties and responsibilities include the following:
receiving, loading, unloading deliveries
delivering medicines to other parts of a hospital or health centre
taking in and handing out prescriptions
using computer systems to generate stock lists and labels
selling over-the-counter medicines
answering customers questions face to face or by phone
referring problems or queries to the pharmacist
pre-packing, assembling and labelling medicines
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Where can pharmacy technicians work?
Primarily, pharmacy technicians typically work as part of healthcare teams in organisations across different health divisions. Some of the most common workplaces pharmacy technicians would likely work in include:
Hospitals (NHS and Private)
MOD – healthcare divisions
Pharma Life - Sciences
High street retail (pharmacies/supermarkets)
It should be noted that pharmacy technicians can work in a multitude of healthcare environments for any employer that provides NHS services.
What qualifications does a pharmacy technician need?
To practice as a registered Pharmacy Technician in Great Britain, you need to be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council. To get registered, you will require an accredited qualification such as:
BTEC National Diploma in Pharmaceutical Science
Level 3 NVQ/SVQ in Pharmacy Services
National Certificate in Pharmaceutical Science
Please visit General Pharmaceutical Council for more information
It’s important to note that the process differs for non-UK registrants. If you are a registered pharmacy technician in a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA), additional qualifications must be completed in the UK before you can apply to register. This includes:
Completion of one of the recognised competency-based qualifications listed in the criteria for registration as a pharmacy technician.
Completion of one of the recognised knowledge-based qualifications listed in the criteria.
Having a minimum of two years’ work-based experience in the UK, Isle of Man or Channel Islands. You can also have a shorter period, but you must be able to provide evidence that you qualified and were eligible to practise as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician in a country outside the EEA.
It’s also important that in order to become a pharmacy technician, there are certain of skills and personality traits that are required for this specific profession. These include:
Excellent attention to detail
Good understanding of the pharmacy law
Effective communication skills
Demonstrates positive working dynamics in a multidisciplinary team
Possesses excellent interpersonal, problem solving and time management skills
What is a pharmacy technician’s salary?
The salary bands and the average salaries which pharmacy technicians are likely to receive are as follows:
Band 4 pharmacy technician expected salary
< 1 year experience
Band 5 pharmacy technician expected salary
< 1 year experience
Band 6 pharmacy technician expected salary
< 1 year experience
In order to qualify for a higher salary band, there are certain qualifications and experience that’s required in order to achieve this. For any technician who is considering undertaking the accuracy checker course or accredited medicines management technician qualification, there is an opportunity to qualify for a higher banding, subject to post-qualification experience.
Cancer Services, Clinical Trials and Oncology Services are subdivisions within pharmacy – and pharmacy technicians working in these areas can progress to a higher banding. However, it should be noted that these are subject to length of service.
Working as a locum pharmacy technician
As a locum pharmacy technician, the duties and responsibilities will remain the same – however, this is on more of a temporary basis. As a locum technician, you will have control of your own earning potential and working hours, which gives you the freedom and complete flexibility on how long you wish to work for.
For many, this allows those to take career breaks, explore travelling options and offers a positive work/life balance. As a locum, there are always vacancies available – ranging from short-term or medium contract to more permanent long-term contracts.
Benefits of working as a locum pharmacy technician
There are certain benefits that come from working as a locum pharmacy technician compared to a full-time role. These include:
Flexible working hours
Training opportunities - route of entry from community pharmacy into hospital pharmacy
Opportunity to relocate for work opportunities across the UK and overseas
Financially rewarding – premium hourly rates of pay
No lengthy notice periods – one week’s notice period is required for all locum contracts.
Opportunity to work in other healthcare settings from private hospitals, HM Prisons, CCG’s and within Primary Care.
Hourly pay rates for locum pharmacy technicians
This is subject to locations, as certain locations have higher salaries than others:
Band 4: £15-17 an hour
Band 5: £18-£20 an hour
Band 6: £21 - £24 an hour
How to become a pharmacy technician
Looking to become a pharmacy technician? Register with Maxxima today.
In order to become a pharmacy technician, you must be
Registered with the GPhC (General Pharmaceutical Council);
have at least 1 year’s UK hospital experience; and have an NVQ level 3/B-Tec equivalent in Pharmacy Services.
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