Association of Pharmacy
Technicians UK (APTUK)
The Professional Leadership Body for Pharmacy Technicians

FAQ's for Members

Level 3 Diploma: Principles and Practice for Pharmacy Technicians FAQs June 2019

1) Do I need to re-take the qualification to remain on the register as a pharmacy technician?
  No, if you are registered with the GPhC, as a pharmacy technician you will not need to undertake the new qualification.
You will need to demonstrate that you meet the professional standards through revalidation.

What are the entry criteria requirements for the Level 3 Diploma in the Principles and Practice for
Pharmacy Technician?

  The entry criteria will be set by training providers.
The entry criteria will reflect the academic level required to be able to achieve the learning outcomes and assessment criteria for a level 3 Diploma.
3) When will the Diploma be ready for its first cohort?
  Awarding organisations that have co-produced the Diploma have committed to February 2020 start date.
4) What is the assessment strategy and model for the Diploma?

The assessment strategy and plan will be reflective of the GPhC assessment criteria. Who and how will be determined by Awarding Organisations and approved by the GPhC. The Diploma is not an NVQ.

This qualification must be assessed in line with the Awarding Organisation qualification assessment strategy as well as in line with Skills for Health Assessment Principles for Occupational Competence (v4 November 2017). 

This qualification consists of both skills units and knowledge units.  All units are mandatory. This qualification will be graded pass or fail.

The primary method of assessment for the skills-based units is observation in the workplace by the assessor. The definition of an Assessor will be determined by the education provider(s) and meet the GPhC requirements. Please note that this is not an NVQ and Assessor role etc will be defined to meet the new Diploma requirements. Across the qualification’s skills-based units there must be at least three observations which cover the required skills. Evidence should be generated over a period of time to show consistent performance.  Expert witness testimony may be used where it is difficult for an assessor to observe aspects of practice.

For knowledge-based units, evidence will be assessed using internally set, internally marked written assignments. The Awarding Organisation will provide sample assignments and assessment guidance to education providers. The assignments will be internally quality assured, then subject to externally quality assurance by the Awarding Organisation.

In addition to the evidence requirements set out in each unit, a range of assessment methods have been identified for the qualification units which may include evidence generated using the following: 

• Question and answer sessions based on the learner’s workplace activities

• Learner’s own personal statements/reflections

• Professional discussion

The additional assessment methods provide the opportunity for different learning styles and individual needs of learners to be taken into account.

5) Is the Diploma designed for a specific sector of pharmacy practice?

No, the Diploma is designed to ensure core education and training regardless of the sector of training.
This will enable an increase in the areas/placements that trainees can be employed.
Therefore, ensuring a future pipeline of pharmacy technicians for roles that are growing in primary care and specialist areas.
There are no optional units so all registrants will enter the register with the same underpinning qualification.

This will support specialising in specific practice areas that require additional skills and knowledge to be developed as foundation practice post registration.

6) Is the new Diploma the Apprenticeship?

No, the Diploma meets the IET set by the GPhC. The Apprenticeship framework will need to meet the GPhC Initial Education and Training Standards (IET) and apprenticeship criteria as determined by the Institute of Apprenticeships and Technology with an independent End Point Assessment.
Once the apprenticeship standard and End Point Assessment for Pharmacy Technicians has been approved the qualification can be used as the qualification to underpin the standards in the apprenticeship framework.

7) Will you will be able to fund the new qualification through the apprenticeship levy?
  Yes, once the apprenticeship standard has been approved.  
The qualification has been developed to meet the requirements of an integrated End Point Assessment (as stipulated by the GPhC).
As soon as the Apprenticeship EPA is approved employers will be able to procure providers that are on the Register of Approved Training Providers (RoATP) and draw down the funding for the education costs from their organisations apprenticeship levy.
The qualification is a stand-alone qualification and can be completed separate to an apprenticeship.
8) Will the new qualification train individuals to final accuracy check prescriptions on day 1 registration?
  In order to meet the new IETs, the qualification does include the knowledge, skills and behaviours required of an Accuracy Checking Pharmacy Technician. The point at which a pharmacy technician who has completed the qualification is delegated the responsibility of checking others work unsupervised will be decided by the employer.
It may be deemed appropriate for additional local competency based assessment but it should not be necessary to ask an individual that has completed the new diploma to undertake an existing Accuracy Checking Pharmacy Technician programme.
9) How will the new qualification affect Technical Services?

Following a review of the consultation feedback and subsequent discussion with the subject matter experts, it was agreed that IETs 37 and 38 were not sufficiently covered. To support this, a knowledge unit has been developed with subject matter experts titled ‘Principles of safe manufacture of quality medicines in a pharmaceutical environment’.

Historically, the Technical Services NVQ units were optional and could be utilised instead of other units to support specialist practice areas. Any qualification that is designed to meet an apprenticeship standard in England should consist of mandatory units only, as the apprenticeship model in England does not permit the inclusion of optional tasks to be occupationally competent. 

For those organisations wishing to assess skills or competence in this area, assessment can be achieved by utilising other units within the qualification, e.g. the ‘assemble and check dispensed medicines and products’ skills-based unit can be applied to the preparation and self-checking processes within Technical Services units.

This will mean that the qualification is achievable in all sectors and meets the Apprenticeship standard.



Please note the Board of Directors have produced this FAQ for APTUK members. It is a guide, APTUK, will work with partners to disseminate information as it becomes available. APTUK encourages members to discuss through their local education networks specific questions related to delivery of the new qualification.

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