Medical & medical support

Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy Technicians handle medication, and provide pharmaceutical advice and support to RAF Medical Services. Their role spans the two primary functions below.

Typical Responsibilities:

  • Primary Healthcare: order, receive, prepare, store and dispense medical supplies and medication
  • Medical Logistics: supply units with medical equipment, supplies and medication. Maintain, co-ordinate and deploy medicines and medical equipment at the Tactical Medical Wing Headquarters

Similar civilian roles include Hospital pharmacy technician, Community pharmacy technician, Pharmaceutical representative or Pathology technician.

Royal Air Force - Regular & Reserve

RAF Regulars and Reserves work side by side.

Scroll down to explore the opportunities as a Pharmacy Technician in the RAF.

Key Facts

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Full Time
Regular

Initial pay after training

£18,612 + Benefits

Pay during training

£14,637 + Benefits

Entry level

Airmen/Airwomen

Commitment

Usual service

12 years

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Spare Time
Reserve

Initial pay after training

Day rates dependent on rank, role and experience

Entry level

Airmen/Airwomen

Commitment

27 days per year for 12 years minimum. Each year includes a 15 day block for general RAF training, which is taken over a two week period, and 12 days for additional/trade training, or training exercises.

The possibility of being deployed to a UK or overseas base for up to 6 months after the first year.

Locations

RAF Northolt, Middlesex

RAF Leuchars, Fife

Aldergrove Flying Station, Co Antrim

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Royal Air Force - Regular & Reserve

In the RAF

My Role

'As a Pharmacy Technician in the RAF, I have much more responsibility than I might have in a civilian role. I am responsible for ordering, storage and security of all medicines, including Controlled Drugs. I give thorough training to all RAF Medics who work alongside me in the Dispensary, including supervising them through their NVQ level 2 in pharmacy services. I’m also responsible for the Medical Stores, which hold all the electrical medical equipment, medical gases, and treatment room stock. The dispensary is a busy environment and involves plenty of interaction with patients, such as giving them advice on their medicines and answering their queries.'

My Day

'It is essential that all medicines are stored at the correct temperature, so I carry out checks twice a day. I dispense the prescriptions handed in by patients, and provide counselling about the correct use of their medicines. I frequently answer telephone queries from patients and provide advice to Doctors, Nurses and the Dental staff about medicines and medical equipment. I also place orders for stock and send any faulty equipment away for servicing as required. I’m often required to solve problems, such dealing with faulty medical equipment, but overcoming unexpected challenges is rewarding because I know I am providing the best service possible for our patients.'

Emily, Pharmacy Technician

Training

Full Time
Regular

Recruit Training 

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.

Specialist Training

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 College of Healthcare Education and Training (DCHET) at Defence medical Service (Whittington) near Birmingham. 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 DCHET 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 DCHET 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  managed Defence Primary Healthcare Medical Centre.

Career Prospects/Progression

You will initially join the RAF for a period of twelve years on a Notice Engagement with effect from 1 April 2015. After completing one year’s total service and graduating from your training course you will be eligible for promotion to Senior Aircraftman Technician. Those already qualified will be promoted to Senior Aircraft Technician backdated to their second day in service. Further promotion to the rank of corporal and sergeant is on a time promotion basis.

Transferable Skills

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.

Spare Time
Reserve

Initial Training

Your training will start with a Basic Recruit Training Course (BRTC) consisting of 4 weekends at your chosen RAF Reserves Squadron, followed by a 15 day residential training course at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. This training course will prepare you for service life in one of the most respected military forces in the world; it is also designed to help you tune into the military environment and way of life. As well as military training, you will learn about the core values, code of conduct and history of the RAF, as well as its unique lifestyle.

Specialist Training

After successfully completing initial training, you will be trained for your specific role in the RAF either at your squadron or another RAF station in the UK.

Requirements

Full Time
Regular

Job requirements

Qualifications:

You need at least four GCSEs at Grade C or equivalent, including English Language, Mathematics and two Science subjects; or at least four SCE Standard Grades at Grade 2/Scottish National 5, including English, Mathematics and two Science subjects.  Qualified Pharmacy Technicians must be registered as a Pharmacy Technician with the GPhC

All RAF ground trade recruits (except Air Traffic Controller – Senior Non-Commissioned Officer) must have or gain Functional Skills (FS) qualifications in English and Mathematics to graduate from Recruit Training. Your first chance to pass these tests, if you do not already have the necessary FS grades, will be at the Pre-Recruit Training Course.  The level of FS qualifications you need to achieve depend on the trade you are applying for; as, Pharmacy Technician, you will need to pass the Level 1 FS tests in Mathematics and English.

Even if you have other qualifications in Mathematics and English (like GCSE/SCEs), you will still have to take and pass the FS Mathematics and English tests.  Further information will be available from your local Armed Forces Careers Office.  You will also have to perform well at a specialist interview.

 

Age:

  • 16 - 29

RAF Requirements

To join the RAF you will also need to meet fitness, health, nationality, residency, and other criteria detailed below.

Spare Time
Reserve

Job requirements

Qualifications:

Applicants must have a Professional Qualification, experience and be registered with General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) If uncertain of the relevance of your personal qualifications, contact the Medical Reserves Specialist Team on 01400 268011.

Age:

  • 18 - 54.6

RAF Requirements

To join the RAF you will also need to meet fitness, health, nationality, residency, and other criteria detailed below.