What Are Job Duties for a Pharmacy Assistant?

A pharmacy assistant is responsible for handling clerical functions in the pharmacy as well as assisting the licensed pharmacist in selling and preparing medication to patients. In order to work as a pharmacy assistant, an individual should have some on-the-job training or a certificate from a vocational training program or community college. Schools offering Pharmacy Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Duties

The job duties of a pharmacy assistant includes operating the cash register, handling money transactions, answering phone calls, and doing clerical work in the pharmacy. Pharmacy assistants also assist licensed pharmacists with selling and preparing medication to patients in retail pharmacy drugstores. These pharmaceutical responsibilities are similar to the duties of a pharmacy technician, who distributes medication to patients, but has more responsibility than a pharmacy assistant.

Work Environment

Pharmacy assistants that work in hospitals are in charge of delivering medication to patients and help stock shelves in the hospital pharmacy department. Pharmacy assistants take on these responsibilities so the pharmacist can concentrate on providing more customer service and be available to answer patients' questions about their medication. In order perform the job duties of a pharmacy assistant, individuals must be:

  • Organized
  • Patient
  • Responsible
  • Alert
  • Accurate

Education and Training

Although some pharmacy assistants receive on-the-job training, employers prefer to hire persons with some formal education. Individuals should enroll in a vocational training program or community college where they can obtain a certificate of completion or diploma. Aspiring pharmacy assistants can learn about medical and pharmaceutical terminology, pharmacy law and ethics, pharmaceutical calculations, pharmaceutical techniques, and pharmacy record-keeping. Students learn through classroom lectures, laboratory work, and clinical practice at hospitals and clinics. Students complete about 600 hours of training to become pharmacy assistants. Assistants should volunteer at hospitals or community pharmacies so they can observe and learn the skills involved for that position. Some of the course topics in the pharmacy assistant program are:

  • Healthcare basics
  • Drug classification
  • Pharmacy applications

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