Retail & Consumer Products
Pharmacy technicians assist registered pharmacists fill and dispense prescription medications to customers.
Senior secondary school certificate or equivalent
What does a Pharmacy Technician do?
Pharmacy technicians assist registered pharmacists fill and dispense prescription medications to customers. Pharmacy technicians are also called dispensary technicians.
As a pharmacy technician, you would:
- select the correct medication to make up a prescription
- check for the correct dosage of each prescription medication
- make sure each prescription is double checked by the registered pharmacist
- label each medication with dosage and instructions for taking
- weigh out ingredients, measure liquids and count out tablets
- compound ointments or medications
- order new stock using computerised systems
- give advice to members of the public on medications, ailments and minor illnesses
- sell a range of cosmetics and over-the-counter medicines
- in a hospital, create medicines for those having specialist treatment such as chemotherapy
- in a hospital, make sure departments are stocked with required medications.
Key skills and interests
To become a pharmacy technician, you would need:
- an interest in medicine
- good numeracy for calculating dosages
- good customer service and communication skills
- a high level of attention to detail
- a friendly, patient and sympathetic manner.
Working hours and conditions
As a pharmacy technician you would usually work a standard number of hours per week, which may include evenings and weekends. Part-time work is often available.
You would work in a retail pharmacy or hospital pharmacy department, and would usually wear a protective coat and/or a uniform.
How to become an Pharmacy Technician?
Entry Level Education
No formal qualifications are required to work in a retail setting as a pharmacy technician. A good level of experience in a pharmacy environment would usually be required if you do not have formal qualifications. On-the-job training would be provided.
Your employment prospects may be improved if you have a VET qualification in Community Pharmacy. The Pharmacy Guild of Australia runs training programs in Community Pharmacy and Dispensary Assistant Training.
You could also become a pharmacy technician in a retail setting by undertaking a traineeship in Community Pharmacy. Generally employers require a senior secondary school certificate or equivalent.
To work in a hospital pharmacy you would usually be required to complete a VET qualification in Hospital/Health Services Pharmacy Support.
Employment of pharmacy technicians is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations.
As the baby boomer population ages, and as newer and better medications are developed, there will be increased demand for prescription medications. This will lead to an increase in opportunities for pharmacy technicians.