What is a pharmacy assistant?

Pharmacy assistants help pharmacists order, prepare and dispense medicines. They assist pharmacists by performing all clerical duties necessary to ensure that a pharmacy is running efficiently.

How to become a pharmacy assistant?

You can learn some of the skills you need for this job by doing a college course. Courses include:

  • T level for Pharmacy Science Assistants
  • Level 2 or 3 Certificate in Retail Skills

You can get into this job through a pharmacy services assistant or retailer intermediate apprenticeship. For the entry requirements, you’ll usually need some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship.

You may be able to get a trainee position in a pharmacy. You could combine work with a part-time qualification like the Level 2 Certificate in the Principles and Practice for Pharmacy Support Staff.

You can apply directly for job vacancies. Experience of customer service will be helpful. Employers will expect you to have good reading, number and IT skills. They may ask for GCSEs.

Pharmacy assistant duties

Pharmacy assistant duties are diverse and depend on the employer and specialty, but some responsibilities are common to most:

  • Dispenses prescription medication and other medical products to patients under direction of licensed pharmacist
  • Counts pills, labels bottles, prices, and compounds medications to prepare prescriptions for patients as directed
  • Performs administrative duties, including answering phones, receiving and inputting prescription orders, operating cash registers, and restocking inventory
  • Gathers, organises, and assesses patient information
  • Supplies patients with information and education on their prescriptions
  • Monitors prescription-filling process to ensure compliance with relevant regulations and pharmacy policies
  • Accurately typing and printing out prescription labels.

Pharmacy assistant skills

To be an effective pharmacy assistant, you’ll need certain skills and competencies. The following are often cited in job vacancies:

  • Proficient in all Microsoft Office applications
  • Detail-oriented and accurate
  • Trustworthy
  • The ability to work as part of a team
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Exceptional customer service skills

How to find a pharmacy assistant job

These jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the pharmacy assistant jobs near you, you need to:

  • Search for pharmacy assistant jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

Pharmacy Assistant Job Titles

When you search for pharmacy assistant jobs online, be aware that the jobs might be advertised using a different job title. Popular job titles for pharmacy assistant jobs include;

  • Pharmacy aide
  • Pharmacy dispenser

What does a pharmacy assistant do?

The job of a pharmacy assistant varies depending on the job role and the company you’re working for. Check the duties and responsibilities of pharmacy assistant job advertisements to find jobs that best suit your skills and experience. 

The day-to-day tasks of a pharmacy assistant include;

  • advise customers about non-prescription items
  • serve customers and make up orders
  • take payments
  • label products
  • restock shelves and display cabinets
  • take calls from GP surgeries, nursing homes and clinics
  • deliver medicines to wards
  • enter medicine data on computerised dispensing systems