Pharmacy technician

Pharmacy technicians manage the supply of medicines in a community pharmacy and assist pharmacists with advisory services. In hospitals, they do more specialised work such as manufacturing or preparing complex medicines. 

Working life

Pharmacy technicians are part of the pharmacy team, preparing and dispensing medicines. Pharmacies are where medicines are stored, prepared and dispensed. 


Medicines are the most common treatments offered to NHS patients. Pharmacy technicians work as part of a pharmacy team under the direction of a registered pharmacist. The work includes:

Pharmacy technicians can also be involved in manufacturing medicines when ready-made preparations are not available. For example, certain cancer treatments and intravenous feeding solutions need to be tailor made under sterile conditions for individual patients.

Pharmacy technicians work as part of healthcare teams in hospitals or community pharmacies. Some work in retail pharmacies in supermarkets or on the high street, or for other employers that provide NHS services. In community pharmacies they may be called dispensing assistants.

Entry requirements

To practise as a pharmacy technician, you have to be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). To register, you need to study for an accredited qualification such as:

To apply for a course, you need to be working in a pharmacy. Employers, including the NHS, offer jobs for trainee pharmacy technicians (or dispensing assistants). Find courses on our course finder.

Employers usually ask for at least 4 GCSEs (A-C), including English, maths and science or equivalent qualifications. It will help your application if you can show that you have an understanding of pharmacy and how it benefits patients. It is a good idea to spend some time with a registered pharmacist to see what the work is like.

Skills and personal characteristics

Pharmacy technicians need to be:

Training and development

Training to become a pharmacy technician usually takes two years. It combines practical work experience with study, either at college or by distance learning. Courses cover:

Once qualified, many pharmacy technicians join the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) or Association of Pharmacy Technicians (APTUK).   Registered pharmacy technicians have to keep their skills and knowledge up to date with annual continuing professional development (CPD). The RPS and APTUK run courses, conferences and seminars where pharmacists can exchange ideas and update their skills.

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