How to Become a

Pharmacist Assistant

The complete career guide to be a Pharmacist Assistant: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $27,460
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 0.2%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Dependable Daily Workload
    Career Attribute

Pharmacy Assistants assist pharmacists with administrative and clerical roles. They may help fill out prescriptions under the supervision of a pharmacist. They often interact with patients to fulfill their prescription needs. They also answer phones, work as cashiers, and deliver medication to doctors.

Recommended Schools

What is a Pharmacist Assistant?


  • Maintain inventory records of drugs dispensed
  • Accept payments and handle money
  • Ensure proper labeling of medication
  • Prepare insurance claims forms
  • Interact with customers and patients to fulfill their needs
  • Stock shelves and maintain inventory
  • Sell over-the-counter medicines

A Day in the Life of a Pharmacy Assistant

While pharmacy assistants are not pharmacists, they fulfill important support tasks under their supervision. Pharmacy assistants jobs are mainly clerical or administrative. They do not usually handle the preparation of medication directly. With pharmacists becoming more involved with patient care, pharmacy assistants have to take on more administrative and distributive roles.

Pharmacy assistants receive and hand out prescriptions. They generate stock lists, and place orders to maintain inventory levels. They need to receive deliveries and load and unload medication. Often, this will require lifting heavy boxes and climbing stepladders to place items on shelves. You can expect to be on your feet for most of the day.

Pharmacy assistants are the ones who usually answer phones and deal with patient queries, so they need good communication skills. They also need to maintain patient profiles and be alert to ensure that potentially fatal drug interactions are avoided. Pharmacy assistants also need to interact with insurance providers to obtain payment

Typical Work Schedule for Pharmacy Assistants

Most Pharmacy Assistants work full-time schedules during normal business hours. Many pharmacies are open 24 hours, so pharmacy assistants should be prepared to work weekends and night shifts.

Projected Job Growth for Pharmacy Assistants

An aging population is going to increase the demand for prescription medication, increasing the need for pharmacies. As pharmacies also take on patient care activities, pharmacy assistants are going to be in demand to handle the administrative and clerical duties of a pharmacy, thus freeing up pharmacists and technicians to concentrate on dispensing medication and ensuring proper patient care.

Regulations typically require that pharmacies have an equal number of pharmacists and assistant, but some states are relaxing these to allow each pharmacist to supervise two assistants. As the number of people covered by insurance increases, there will be an increased need to coordinate with insurance providers, and ensure that all the required clearance forms are in order. Pharmacy assistants also need to ensure that their work environments are clean, hygienic, and in accordance with state and federal regulations.

Typical Employers

Most pharmacy assistants are employed by retail pharmacies. They also work in pharmacies in hospitals and supermarkets.

Recommended Schools

How To Become a Pharmacist Assistant

To become a pharmacy assistant, a high school diploma is usually a prerequisite. While pharmacy assistants often receive informal on-the-job training, there are certifications available, and employers often prefer hiring pharmacy assistants with formal training.

Pharmacy assistants need to have good mathematics skills, be proficient in typing and have good IT skills, and have good communication and interpersonal skills. Formal certificate courses will usually stress these areas to develop them. As they handle a lot of the paperwork of a pharmacy, pharmacy assistants must also be able to perform repetitious tasks accurately and consistently.

To become a pharmacy assistant, you can consider volunteering at a community pharmacy, and start off by observing more experienced assistants and technicians. These will help you get a foot in the door, and will be valuable experience. Some pharmacies have training programs for assistants, but most rely on assistants being trained as they work. The ability to take directions is essential, but assistants must also be able to work on their own without requiring constant instruction from a pharmacist.

Pharmacy assistants can also study to become a pharmacy technician while they work. Technicians have more responsibilities than an assistant, and are often the ones actually dispensing medication under the supervision of a pharmacist. Pharmacy assistants can also enter school to become pharmacists.

Pharmacist Assistant Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Pharmacist Assistant salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Pharmacist Assistant's can make an average annual salary of $27,460, or $13 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $20,350 or $10 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #739 Nationally for All Careers

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Pharmacist Assistant. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Pharmacist Assistants

  • 1.5%   Doctorate
  • 1.1%   Masters
  • 16.6%   Bachelors
  • 12%   Associates
  • 38.3%   College
  • 26.1%   High School
  • 4.5%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Pharmacist Assistant job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 100 jobs for a total of 41,600 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 0.2% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #593 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Pharmacist Assistants

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Pharmacies and drug stores 27,000 -1,400 -2%
Grocery stores 6,300 300 0%
General medical and surgical hospitals; private 2,300 100 0%

Want To Be a Pharmacist Assistant? Get Started!

Generate your free SmartPlan™ to identify colleges you like, and potential ways to save on a degree or certification program toward your career with courses, offers, and much more!

Enroll Now and Get Started

or Learn More →