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.

Where do pharmacy technicians work?

Pharmacy technicians work as part of healthcare teams in hospitals, primary care (including GP surgeries) and community pharmacies. Some work in retail pharmacies in supermarkets or on the high street, in care homes or for other employers that provide NHS services.

They can also be found working in health and justice services, the armed forces and industry.  

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 (9-4/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:

A level 3 apprenticeship for pharmacy technicians has been approved for delivery. You can search for vacancies on the NHS Jobs website and Find an Apprenticeship website.

In order to practise in Great Britain, pharmacy technicians must be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and have satisfied the Council that it meets its detailed requirements. Registered pharmacy technicians have to keep their skills and knowledge up to date with annual continuing professional development (CPD). Find out more about CPD

Once qualified, many pharmacy technicians join the Association of Pharmacy Technicians (APTUK). The APTUK runs courses, conferences and seminars where pharmacy technicians can exchange ideas and update their skills.

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