Why We Love It
$27,460Potential Avg. Salary
0.2%Job Growth Rate
Growing DemandJob Outlook
Dependable Daily WorkloadCareer 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.
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.
Most pharmacy assistants are employed by retail pharmacies. They also work in pharmacies in hospitals and supermarkets.
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
National Hourly Wage
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 Jobs41,500
2024 Est. Jobs41,600
Job Growth Rate0.2%
Est. New Jobs100
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%|
|General medical and surgical hospitals; private||2,300||100||0%|