Dispensing/pharmacy assistant training

The GPhC has recognised a number of awarding bodies to deliver the Level 2 knowledge-based and Level 2 competency-based dispensing/pharmacy assistant qualifications. We have also accredited a number of distance learning courses which are equivalent to units of the Level 2 (NOS) NVQ in Pharmacy Service Skills.

You must be employed in a pharmacy to take one of these courses and it usually takes between six and 12 months to complete.

The GPhC requires that all staff working in a pharmacy are appropriately trained for the role they undertake. Any member of staff involved in the dispensing process must meet the GPhC's minimum training requirements for this type of role and start training within three months of starting in the role.

To meet minimum training requirements a dispensing/pharmacy assistant needs to take the relevant modules of the Level 2 certificate in pharmacy service skills.

Anyone working in a pharmacy in the following areas needs to undertake a GPhC-accredited/recognised course to ensure they are appropriately trained:

  • the sale of over-the-counter medicines and the provision of information to customers on symptoms and products
  • prescription receipt and collection
  • the assembly of prescribed items (including the generation of labels)
  • ordering, receiving and storing pharmaceutical stock
  • the supply of pharmaceutical stock
  • preparation for the manufacture of pharmaceutical products (including aseptic products)
  • manufacture and assembly of medicinal products (including aseptic products).

Further information on the GPhC’s minimum training requirements for dispensing/pharmacy assistants can be found in our training policy for pharmacy support staff:

GPhC policy on minimum training requirements for dispensing/pharmacy assistants and medicines counter assistants (unregistered staff)

Entry requirements

To start training towards becoming a dispensing/pharmacy assistant you first need to be employed, either full-time or part-time, in a hospital or community pharmacy.

The reason for this is that the training is vocational, and you will be required to demonstrate that you can put the knowledge you have acquired into practice.

The entry requirements for the course are determined by the individual course provider. However, you will be expected to be employed in a pharmacy and the course provider may require that you hold GCSE or equivalent qualifications.

Approved dispensing/pharmacy assistant qualifications

Find out details of the approved national qualifications and GPhC accredited training providers together with the latest accreditation reports.

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