Pharmacy assistants help pharmacists with the secretarial tasks necessary to keep a pharmacy running correctly.
A pharmacy assistant’s responsibilities include creating and maintaining patient files, ordering pharmaceutical supplies, and operating the cash register.
The pharmacy assistant is also in charge of keeping shelves stocked and organised and keeping work areas clean at all times.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- advise customers about non-prescription items
- serve customers and make up orders
- take payments
- label products
- re-stock shelves and display cabinets
- take calls from GP surgeries, nursing homes and clinics
- deliver medicines to wards
- enter medicine data on computerised dispensing systems.
- Starting salaries for an apprentice is £16,000 per year.
- Experienced pharmacy assistant’s can earn up to £21,000 per year.
You will typically work 37 to 39 hours per week, working evenings, weekends and bank holidays on shifts.
You could work at a health centre, at a store or in an NHS or private hospital.
You may need to wear a uniform.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice pharmacy assistant include:
- Level 2 Pharmacy Services Assistant – Entry requirements for this level include some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship. This qualification will take 12 months to complete.
On a pharmacy assistant apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- customer service skills
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to work well with others
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- excellent verbal communication skills
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- to enjoy working with other people
- the ability to read English
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device.
Career path and progression
With experience and a recognised qualification, you could become a senior pharmacy assistant, supervisor or manager.
With further training, you could become a pharmacy technician.