Did you know we have live locum shifts available for Pharmacy Technicians and Dispensers? With this in mind, we thought we’d give a little bit of an insight into what both disciplines involve on a day to day basis and the typical career path. This blog will highlight the great work Pharmacy Technicians do.
What is a Pharmacy Technician?
Pharmacy technicians are senior members of the pharmacy team who manage and prepare the supply of medicines and give advice to patients and customers. In community pharmacy, pharmacy technicians may also be involved in delivering some public health services such as advice on stopping smoking.
How much can a Pharmacy Technician earn?
Pharmacy Technicians can earn anywhere between £20,000 and £30,000 depending on experience. Currently a Locum Pharmacy Technician working with Locate a Locum can earn up to £14.00 per hour.
What does being a Pharmacy Technician involve day to day?
The pharmacy technician roles is one that has changed significantly in recent years. Technicians will carry out many of the same tasks pharmacists do including engaging with patients, managing supply of medicines and working with the wider healthcare team.
In a hospital, a Pharmacy Technician could manage the pharmacy department, be involved in taking medicine histories from patients and reviewing medicines, counselling, and give advice on different treatment options. Technicians may also work on setting up IT systems to ensure governance and safety.
The work of a pharmacy technician in community pharmacy is varied but it will more than likely include the following aspects:
- taking in and handing out prescriptions
- dispensing prescriptions
- using computer systems to generate stock lists and labels
- ordering items
- receiving, loading, unloading deliveries
- delivering medicines to other parts of a hospital or health centre
- selling over-the-counter medicines
- answering customers questions face to face or by phone
- pre-packing, assembling and labelling medicines
- preparing medicines
- Giving advice to patients on various treatment options including smoking cessation
- referring problems or queries to the pharmacist
Skills and Characteristics
Pharmacy technicians must be great communicators and be confident interacting with a wide range of people. Being organised is also another key characteristic as technicians will often have to multitask and prioritise.
The following skillset is also seen as beneficial when working as a Pharmacy Technician.
- accurate and methodical
- able to pay attention to detail
- ready to refer to the pharmacist when necessary
- able to understand the law and guidelines on medicines
- able to read and carry out instructions
- interested in people’s health
- able to explain clearly to members of the public
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:
- BTEC National Diploma in pharmaceutical science
- NVQ/SVQ level 3 in pharmacy services
- National Certificate in pharmaceutical science
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).
Employers usually ask for at least 4 GCSEs (9-4/A*-C), including English, maths and two 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.
Full details on training and development can be found here.
If you’d like to learn more about locuming as a Pharmacy Technician or Dispenser you can create a profile here or alternatively email our expert team and we’ll get you set up.