what is a pharmacy assistant?

As a pharmacy assistant, you work under the pharmacist in a capacity that best helps the pharmacy. You assist customers, find answers to their questions, manage their electronic health records, and process their prescriptions. You help them access treatments and medication to improve their well-being. Since you support licensed pharmacists, you oversee non-specialised daily operations in a pharmacy and ensure customers get the assistance they need.

Also known as pharmacy aides, pharmacy assistants perform clerical tasks and paperwork in the pharmacy. Clerical skills will help you complete administrative tasks associated with the role. You reorder and restock medications, receive deliveries, and operate the cash register. You deal with customers face-to-face and advise them on prescription medicines or health and beauty products.

Working as a pharmacy assistant is a customer-facing role since you are the first person customers interact with at the pharmacy. You require customer service skills to engage with customers and help them find the necessary medication. You also need pharmaceutical knowledge to recommend the right non-prescription medications and explain the correct use of drugs to customers.

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average pharmacy assistant salary

The average salary of a pharmacy assistant in Australia is $45,000 per year. When you join the role, your remuneration package is $40,000 annually. Experienced pharmacy assistants receive a salary of $50,000 yearly.

how to increase the remuneration of a pharmacy assistant

As a pharmacy assistant, your earnings depend on your experience and educational qualifications. When you have minimal experience, you start with an entry-level salary. However, as your experience and qualifications improve, your earnings also increase. Experienced pharmacy assistants earn more due to their expertise and qualifications.

Where you work also influences your remuneration package. For instance, the size of the hospital or pharmacy determines the amount you are likely to earn. When you work in a large hospital or pharmacy, you are likely to earn more than someone working in a smaller retail shop. Large pharmacies often have the resources to pay higher salaries.

When you work in metro areas, your remuneration is likely higher due to the high cost of living. Pharmacy assistants working in smaller cities earn less due to the lower cost of living.

Want to know what you will earn as a pharmacy assistant? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.

pharmacy assistant jobs

types of pharmacy assistants

Some of the types of pharmacy assistants include:

• clinical pharmacy assistants: as a clinical pharmacy assistant, you work in hospitals or medical facilities assisting pharmacists in their work. Your job is to dispense medication and help pharmacists with the distribution of drugs to patients in hospitals. You also record the drug dosages and delivery times to ensure accurate administration.

• community pharmacy assistants: as a community pharmacy assistant, you administer medication at pharmacy counters in retail shops. You work in communities, including mining communities, to provide over-the-counter medicines to patients. Your job is to administer medication prescribed by healthcare workers and to explain the dosage and side effects.

A photo of a female and male healthcare workers
A photo of a female and male healthcare workers

working as a pharmacy assistant

Pharmacy assistant is a fascinating profession that allows you to help people by administering the right dosage. Find out about pharmacy assistants' daily duties, responsibilities and career prospects.


education and skills

While formal education is not mandatory for pharmacy assistants, the following qualifications improve your prospects:

• educational qualifications: enrol for a Certificate II or III in community pharmacy at a registered training organisation. For additional qualification, consider enrolling for a Certificate IV in community pharmacy.

• experience: you can gain on-the-job experience without formal education. Work under a senior pharmacy assistant or a pharmacist to gain the necessary skills.

pharmacy assistant skills and competencies

Some of the qualities required in the role include:

• customer service skills: as a pharmacy assistant, you engage with customers directly. Hence, you require excellent customer service skills to handle customer concerns and resolve issues. With customer service skills, you make customers feel comfortable by welcoming them and responding to their questions.

• data entry abilities: your responsibility as a pharmacy assistant is to receive and confirm prescription orders. You also manage patients' files and keep track of digital orders. Data entry skills help you complete your administrative and clerical tasks effectively.

• communication skills: as a pharmacy assistant, you require adept communication skills for handling customers and staff. Being an empathetic and compassionate listener is crucial. It is also essential to be courteous when interacting with other healthcare professionals.

• attention to detail: medication needs to be dispensed accurately according to the dosage. Your attentiveness to detail when packaging drugs and medicine is crucial to avoid providing too many or too few drugs.


FAQs about working as a pharmacy assistant

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of pharmacy assistant.

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