Pharmacy Aide

Certified Pharmacist Assistant, Dispensary Attendant, Drug Clerk, Drug Purchaser, Pharmacist Aide   More Names
Pharmacist Assistant, Pharmacist Helper, Pharmacist's Aide, Pharmacy Aide, Pharmacy Aides, Pharmacy Ancillary, Pharmacy Assistant, Pharmacy Cashier, Pharmacy Clerk, Pharmacy Helper, Prescription Clerk

Help licensed pharmacists serve customers and with other administrative duties of running a pharmacy. Greet customers, accept prescriptions to be filled, handle money payments, run cash registers, and answer telephones.

Other administrative duties involve maintaining patient profiles and keeping accurate patient records of medications, checking drug orders delivered, stocking shelves, and informing supervisors when supplies are running low. Also help clean and maintain pharmacy equipment.

Pharmacy aides work in the same settings as pharmacists do, including retail, hospital, clinic, home health, managed care, and mail order pharmacies. They work under the direct supervision of pharmacists and often along-side more formally-trained pharmacy technicians.

As part of their various customer service duties, pharmacy aides greet customers, answer telephones, and send and receive fax information. They help maintain patient profiles and must keep accurate records of each patient's medications to avoid harmful drug interactions. They prepare insurance claim forms and submit them to insurance providers for payment. They also refer customer questions concerning prescriptions, drug information, or general health matters to on-site pharmacists.

When helping pharmacists to run the pharmacy, aides may be asked to take careful inventory of on-shelf supplies of prescription and over-the-counter medications and inform the pharmacists of the need to order more supplies. This inventory task involves careful inspection of the expiration dates of medications on the shelf, and the need to find out which drugs might need to be thrown out because they are too old to safely give to patients.

Daily tasks for pharmacy aides include operating cash registers, credit card processers, and other kinds of customer payment equipment. They also operate desktop computers, enter information into databases, and use spreadsheet and word processing software. In addition, they use different kinds of printers, including prescription label printers, unit dose, and packaging equipment.

When pharmacy aides work with pharmacy technicians, both may perform some of the same kinds of clerical and customer service tasks, but pharmacy technicians also perform more complex tasks which pharmacy aides are not trained or permitted to do. In particular, pharmacy technicians can help the pharmacist prepare prescriptions and mix medicines, tasks that pharmacy aides are not trained to do.

Getting hired as a pharmacy aide can be a good entry-level, first-step job on a healthcare career pathway. Promotion opportunities can come with experience and be helped by additional education and training. With more formal learning, including earning an industry-based certification, aides can become pharmacy technicians.

Credentials Needed: Pharmacy aides are not required to be state licensed or registered. Candidates interested in becoming pharmacy aides cannot have prior records of drug or substance abuse and may be required to pass a criminal background check or obtain a fingerprint clearance. Applicants with prior experience managing inventories, using computers, or working as cashiers may have an advantage when applying for pharmacy aide positions.

Some Key Things to Remember: Employers tend to prefer pharmacy aides who are high school graduates, and having some post secondary training is an added plus. Pharmacy aides typically receive informal on-the-job training. Prior experience in inventory control or as a cashier can be beneficial. The career pathway for a pharmacy aide may include completing a two-year program of study to become a pharmacy technician.

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Job Growth and Wages
Percent Job Growth:  
Not Available
Typical Wages (National):  
Annual: $21,130 - $32,980    Hourly: $10 - $16
Physical/Medical/Health Requirements

No specifc requirement is identified at this time.

Legal Requirements

Career Snapshot

Typical Education:

High School or GED (HS)
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Percent Job Growth:

Not Available
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Typical Wages:

Annual: $21,130 - $32,980

Hourly: $10 - $16