Pharmacy technician education and training

Pharmacy technicians are a vital part of the pharmacy team and work under the supervision, direction, or guidance of a pharmacist. 

Pharmacy Technicians work in a wide range of settings, including (but not exclusively): registered pharmacies, community services, justice (the Prison Service), GP Practices, dispensing doctors’ practices, care homes and clinical commissioning groups, hospitals, mental health, defence (HM Armed Services) and within the pharmaceutical industry. They prepare medicines and other healthcare products for the supply to patients. They also take an active role in providing patients with guidance on taking medicines.

Pharmacy technicians manage the supply of medicines and devices in a pharmacy and assist pharmacists with advisory services. As a qualified technician you could be involved in the following areas:

  • providing safe and effective pharmacy services
  • supply medicines and devices to patients, whether on prescription or over the counter
  • achieving the best outcomes through a patient’s medicines
  • assemble medicines for prescriptions
  • provide information to patients and other healthcare professionals
  • manage areas of medicines supply such as dispensaries
  • supervise other pharmacy staff / training and development
  • answering customers questions face to face or by phone
  • pre-packing, assembling and labelling medicines
  • referring problems or queries to the pharmacist
  • manufacturing
  • aseptic dispensing
  • quality control
  • procurement
  • information technology
  • clinical trials
  • medicines information

As a vocational course, it is flexible in its delivery. It can be delivered face-to-face, at a distance, online or a combination of these. The training consists of two years consecutive work-based experience under the direction of a pharmacist or pharmacy technician* to whom the trainee is directly accountable for not less than 14 hours per week. 

To qualify as a pharmacy technician you need to complete a GPhC-approved integrated competency and knowledge-based qualification/course^

Entry requirements

The entry requirements will vary depending on the course provider. However, as a guide, you might be expected to have the equivalent of four GCSEs at Grade C and above, including mathematics, English language, science and one other subject. You will also need to be working in a pharmacy under the supervision of a pharmacist or pharmacy technician* as per our criteria for registration as a pharmacy technician in Great Britain - September 2019.

Approved pharmacy technician training qualifications/courses

You can find details of the approved national qualifications and GPhC accredited training providers together with the latest accreditation reports.

For further information on the accreditation of these programmes, please see Approval process for education and training providers.

Developing professionalism

The standards for pharmacy professionals are relevant to all pharmacy students and trainees while they are on their journey towards registration and practice. The standards explain the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours that will be expected of students and trainees if they apply to join the register.

Students and trainees should use them as a tool to prepare for registration and read them alongside other relevant documents that are provided by their education and training provider.

Pre-registration pharmacy technician educational supervisors

We recommend that a pre-registration trainee pharmacy technician's employer chooses a pharmacist or pharmacy technician* to act as the trainee's designated educational supervisor. That person should have oversight of the trainee's training and should be a source of advice and guidance. The educational supervisor might have another role as well, such as being an assessor.

Pre-registration trainee pharmacy technicians can have a variety of people actively involved in their training. These can include mentors, assessors, work colleagues and line managers. We have developed guidance on tutoring for those that play an active role in the training of pharmacy technicians

*the integrated qualification/course and the use of pharmacy technicians as supervisors are only applicable in relation to qualifications/courses developed to the standards for the initial education and training of pharmacy technicians - October 2017

^this replaces the requirement for both a separate competency-based qualification and a knowledge-based qualification. Trainees enrolled onto these separate qualifications are still be able to register with the GPhC within five calendar years from commencement on the courses.

Apprenticeships

GPhC approved courses/qualifications delivered through an apprenticeship funding route must fulfil all the relevant requirements of the apprenticeship standard, and as such this will include the End Point Assessment (EPA). It is a requirement that apprentice pharmacy technician trainees must pass the EPA to be eligible to register with the GPhC. The funding route for pharmacy technical education in Wales and Scotland is a devolved matter and is subject to local arrangements.