2 minute read

Pharmacy Aide Job Description, Career as a Pharmacy Aide, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training On-the-job training

Salary Median—$9.35 per hour

Employment Outlook Poor

Pharmacy aides typically perform all the administrative duties of the pharmacy. Their responsibilities include answering the telephone, handling money, stocking the shelves, as well as other clerical duties.

They also work closely with the pharmacy technicians and the pharmacist. In some instances the job duties and title of the pharmacy aide overlaps with the pharmacy technician. However, pharmacy aides refer questions relating to health issues, prescriptions or specific drug information, directly to the pharmacist.

In addition, pharmacy aides may be asked to perform other responsibilities such as maintaining patient profiles, keeping accurate patient records, preparing insurance claims, maintaining the inventory, as well as helping with equipment and supply maintenance.

Pharmacy aides generally have excellent customer service and interpersonal skills, computer knowledge, and are very organized. They must be able to withstand being on their feet most of the day, work weekends, mornings, and evenings, and may be required to do some heavy lifting.

Education and Training Requirements

Most employers seek pharmacy aides who have a minimum of a high school diploma and have experience with computers and inventory management. Pharmacy aides typically receive on-the-job training by shadowing an experienced employee until they are capable of handling the duties on their own.

In addition, pharmacy aides should have computer knowledge, strong communication and customer service skills, good spelling, reading and mathematics abilities, and be a team player. Persons interested in pursuing pharmacy aide positions cannot have any prior records of substance or drug abuse.

Getting the Job

Interested candidates should apply directly to the employer by filling out an employment application.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

The job outlook for pharmacy aides appears to be poor within the next several years. Most of the decline is due to positions being eliminated by giving pharmacy technicians additional duties once performed by pharmacy aides. Despite the predictions of declining pharmacy aide positions, there will still be a need for replacing those aides who leave the field.

Advancement opportunities are limited for pharmacy aides. Some move up to pharmacy technicians while others enroll in a pharmacy program through a college or university to later become a pharmacist.

Working Conditions

Pharmacy aides work in pharmacy and drug stores, grocery stores, or hospitals where the environment is generally the same: well-lit, clean, open, well-ventilated, and organized. They work the same hours as the pharmacists, may require some heavy lifting and usually spend the majority of their time on their feet.

They can work mornings, evenings, weekends, and even some holidays depending on the employer. Some facilities that stay open 24 hours, such as retail pharmacies and hospitals, may offer different shifts for pharmacy aides.

Pharmacy aides must be able to perform repetitious job duties and be very accurate simultaneously. They should be organized, possess strong communication skills, be a team player, and enjoy working in a customer service environment.

Where to Go for More Information

Check with local employers or the state employment office for more information about pharmacy aide job opportunities.

Earnings and Benefits

Pharmacy aides’ salaries vary depending on the employer. The majority of pharmacy aides work in retail pharmacies like drug stores, department stores, grocery stores, and mass retailers, while less than 10% work in hospitals.

In May 2006 the median hourly earnings for pharmacy aides was $9.35. Pharmacy aides employed by hospitals generally earn more money than those who work in grocery stores and pharmacy and drug stores.

Benefits vary depending on the company, as well as the pharmacy aide’s work status. Usually only full-time pharmacy aides receive benefits.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHealth & Medicine