Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Pharmacy Service Skills (no pharmacist)

Type of Study
Online, Paper
Dispensing Doctors
Study Time
12 months
Online Course Cost
£787.50 (Exc VAT)
Paper Course Cost
£945 (Exc VAT)
Entry Criteria
You will have completed a course which provided you with the underpinning knowledge for this course i.e. the Level 3 Technical Certificate in Pharmaceutical Science (no Pharmacist)
Course Overview

Learners must be working in a dispensary for the two year duration of the course (minimum number of hours applies for apprentices, which is currently 16 hours per week). The learner should be someone showing a keen interest in professional development and a willingness to accept responsibility for a more senior role. The qualified senior dispenser will be able to dispense medicines and pharmaceutical products, reflect on and develop their practice, undertake an in-process accuracy check and give pharmaceutical information and advice. They will be able to assist with validation of prescriptions and the counselling of patients.

How will this course benefit me?

You will be in an ideal place to promote concordance and adherence, assist in the advice given to patients (particularly in the management of chronic conditions) and reduce waste. Knowledge gained of drugs, actions and side effects will enable you to make more effective contributions to DRUM.


This course must be undertaken alongside an approved underpinning knowledge programme, and is usually undertaken alongside the Level 3 Technical Certificate (no Pharmacist) over a duration of two years.

How is the course delivered?

All our courses are delivered by blended learning. This course benefits from a dedicated website, where learners with internet access can download the course support materials. The assignments require written accounts of work based activities to be witnessed by a workplace pharmacist or senior pharmacy technician. If none is available provision will be made by Buttercups. For more information on the responsibilities of the Expert Witness, please see our website. Buttercups has an optional e-portfolio method of evidence collection, significantly reducing the paperwork involved.

Learners must complete all 14 units in Group A (Mandatory Units) plus 3 units from Group B (Optional Units):

The Course Content
Group A - Mandatory Units (you must complete all 14 units from group A)
Ensure your own actions reduce risks to health and safety

Provide an effective and responsive pharmacy service

Process pharmaceutical queries

Reflect on and develop your practice

Receive prescriptions from individuals

Confirm prescription validity

Assemble prescribed items

Issue prescribed items

Prepare extemporaneous medicines for individual use

Order pharmaceutical stock

Receive pharmaceutical stock

Maintain pharmaceutical stock

Issue pharmaceutical stock

Undertake an in-process accuracy check of assembled prescribed items prior to the final accuracy check

Group B - Optional Units (you must complete 3 units from group B)
Contribute to the effectiveness of teams

Assist in the sale of medicines and products

Prepare documentation, materials, components and other items for the preparation of aseptic products

Provide advice on symptoms and the actions and uses of medicines

Manufacture and assembly of medicinal products

Prepare aseptic products and carry out in-process checking

Prepare documentation, materials and other items for manufacture and assembly of medicinal products

Check documentation, starting materials, components and other consumables for the production of aseptic products

Provide an effective service in a setting outside of the pharmacy

Assist in the supply of pharmaceutical appliances

Process prescriptions for payment

Prepare to conduct a review of an individual’s medicines

Enable learning through demonstrations and instructions

Expert Witness

Access to an Expert Witness is required in order for a learner to undertake the course. Their role is to observe the learner in the workplace undertaking tasks required to demonstrate competency against various Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria within the Pharmacy Services Skills Programmes.

They are not responsible for assessing evidence against the Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria. The evidence of competency provided by the Expert Witness observations is holistically assessed by the learner's allocated Assessor at Buttercups Training.

Who can be an Expert Witness

This is detailed in the Assessment Strategy as follows:

  • Registered Pharmacist, or;
  • Practising Pharmacy Technician registered with the GPhC:
    • Must be occupationally competent in areas that they are observing
    • Must be able to demonstrate CPD
    • Must be inducted by Centre/Training Provider - this will involve accessing reference materials via a dedicated website, and then taking a short on-line test

As well as on-line access to results and our FAQ section, learners can talk to dedicated tutors 24/7


Please note that registration as a pharmacy technician with the GPhC is dependent upon the relevant two year work experience in a pharmacy under pharmacist supervision. If this is not possible, then the learner must not be known as a pharmacy technician on completion, but rather a senior dispenser or similar title.