Job description: Dispense medication, provide pharmaceutical advice and order medical supplies at RAF stations and on deployed operations
Pay after one year: £18,340
Joining age: 16 – 29
Usual service: 9 years
Open to: men or women
Similar civilian jobs:
- Hospital pharmacy technician
- Community pharmacy technician
- Pharmaceutical representative
- Pathology technician
Qualifications you need: Four GCSE/SCEs at Grade C/2 minimum or equivalent including English language, maths and two approved science subjects.
This role requires a physics based science subject. Please check by reading this document (opens in a new window).
Qualifications you can gain: NVQ Level 3 in pharmaceutical services or BTEC National Certificate in pharmaceutical science
Nationality: Citizen of the UK or the Republic of Ireland, or a Commonwealth citizen since birth
As a Pharmacy Technician, you’ll provide professional pharmacy support and advice at medical centres on RAF stations and at Defence Secondary Care Agency hospital units in the UK and Cyprus. As in the civilian sector, your main roles will be dispensing medication, giving pharmaceutical advice and providing logistical support by ordering and looking after medical supplies. Pharmacy Technicians in the RAF can expect a greater range of responsibility, tasks and working locations than in civilian life, including the opportunity to take part in operational deployments.
In Medical Logistics, you could be based at a military Medical Distribution Centre, where you will supply units with medical equipment, supplies and medication. There are also opportunities to work with the Headquarters Tactical Medical Wing, where you would be responsible for the maintenance, co-ordination and deployment of operational medical modules for deployed RAF medical teams.
You will initially join the RAF for a period of nine years and graduate from your training course with the rank of Senior Aircraftman (Technician). You are eligible for promotion to Corporal after one year of productive service and to Sergeant after four years in the rank of Corporal. Further promotion to the rank of Flight Sergeant and beyond is by competitive selection.
The qualifications you can earn are as valuable in the civilian world as they are in the RAF. Your CPD will keep you abreast of change and up to date with your civilian counterparts – this means that whenever you decide to leave the RAF, you will be well placed to find employment in pharmacy.
Your career will start with a 10 week Basic Recruit Training Course (BRTC) at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. The course is designed to help you adjust to a military environment. As well as fitness and military training, you’ll also learn about the RAF lifestyle.
If you are joining with no qualifications as a Pharmacy Technician, your training will commence with a short Induction visit to the Department of Pharmacy and Medical Supply (DPMS) at Defence Medical Services Training Group (DMSTG) at Aldershot in Hampshire. You will then be detached to a NHS hospital pharmacy department to undergo a two-year course leading to the award of Diploma level 3 in Pharmacy Service Skills (competence). In addition you will undertake day release to a College where you will undergo a Diploma in Pharmaceutical Science (knowledge). On successful completion of both courses you will return to Aldershot for a Professional Topics and Defence Medical Information Capability Programme (DMICP – the computer system used in RAF Medical Centres) course and a medical supplies course, which involves both practical and written assessments: followed by a six-week placement at Headquarters Tactical Medical Wing. Finally you will complete a placement at a RAF Medical centre for a three-month period under the supervision of Senior Pharmacy Technician; you will then be given your first assignment. You will then be required to complete a First Aid course at DMSTG within 12 months.
If you are joining as a General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) Registered Pharmacy technician, you will complete the First Aid course, the Professional Topics, DMICP and the Medical Supplies course. You will also undertake the placements; after which you will receive your first assignment.
Your first tour
After training your first tour will be to a unit where you can consolidate your initial training and broaden your specialist knowledge. This is usually at a RAF Primary Healthcare Medical Centre.
As a Pharmacy Technician, there are extensive opportunities for continuous professional development throughout your career, including the chance to gain higher civilian professional qualifications. You can apply for funding for courses through the RAF Medical Services. This will assist you in completing and recording of your Continuous Professional Development (CPD) entries as part of the mandatory registration process with the professional regulator the GPhC.