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What Are Job Duties for a Pharmacy Assistant?

Pharmacy assistants and technicians are responsible for handling clerical functions in the pharmacy as well as assisting the licensed pharmacist in selling and preparing medication to patients. Keep reading to find out what pharmacy assistants do and how their jobs differ somewhat from technicians.

Job Duties

The job duties of a pharmacy assistant includes operating the cash register, handling money transactions, answering phone calls, and doing clerical work in the pharmacy. Pharmacy assistants also assist licensed pharmacists with selling and preparing medication to patients in retail pharmacy drugstores. These pharmaceutical responsibilities are similar to the duties of a pharmacy technician, who distributes medication to patients, but pharmacy assistants typically have less responsibility.

Important Facts About Pharmacy Aides

Median Pay (2018) $26,450
Job Outlook (2016-2026)5% decline
Professional Certification Pharmacy assistants who go on to become technicians may be required to earn certification by some states and/or employers.
Similar OccupationsDental assistants, medical assistants, health information technicians, medical transcriptionists (for pharmacy technicians)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Work Environment

Pharmacy assistants that work in hospitals are in charge of delivering medication to patients and helping stock shelves in the hospital pharmacy department. Pharmacy assistants take on these responsibilities so the pharmacist can concentrate on providing more customer service and be available to answer patients' questions about their medication. In order to perform the job duties of a pharmacy assistant, individuals must be:

  • Organized
  • Customer oriented
  • Responsible
  • Alert
  • Accurate

Education and Training

Because they generally have fewer responsibilities than pharmacy technicians, pharmacy assistants may only receive on-the-job training. They could also gain knowledge and experience by working at a local pharmacy or volunteering at a hospital. For those who want to become pharmacy technicians, employers prefer to hire persons with some formal education.

Individuals should enroll in a vocational training program or community college where they can obtain a certificate of completion or diploma. Aspiring pharmacy technicians can learn about medical and pharmaceutical terminology, pharmacy law and ethics, pharmaceutical calculations, pharmaceutical techniques, and pharmacy record-keeping. Students learn through classroom lectures, laboratory work, and clinical practice at hospitals and clinics. Accredited programs typically contain about 600 hours of training.