Are you searching for a job as a pharmacy assistant?
This is the perfect way for you to launch your career in the pharmaceutical sector. It is a great way to gain skills and experience while also securing a salary. However, you still need to complete a certain amount of training before you can apply for a job. Competition can be high for positions, and it is essential to highlight your skills and experience in the right way.
So, let’s check out my in-depth pharmacy assistant job description and find out more about what this role involves.
- What Is A Pharmacy Assistant?
- The Work Environment
- Duties And Responsibilities
- Skills And Attributes
- Education And Training
- Certifications For Pharmacy Assistants
- Additional Info And Opportunities For You!
- Final Thoughts
What Is A Pharmacy Assistant?
A typical job description for this role should describe the work environment in detail. This should include the size of the pharmacy and the number of people you would be working with. There should also be details about the typical customer volume, working hours, and the base salary.
The job description should provide an overview of the typical duties employees are expected to complete. There should be information on the education and training that applicants need to have. There could also be details about the skills and attributes that the ideal candidate should possess.
The Work Environment
This role can take place in an independent pharmacy, the pharmacy of a hospital, shopping center, or medical clinic. Most pharmacy assistants work full-time and need to remain standing throughout their shifts. It is often necessary to work quickly to solve issues and assist customers during busy periods.
Duties And Responsibilities
When applying for a pharmacy assistant job, it is important to reflect the right types of experience in your resume. The hiring manager needs to know that you have specific experience tackling certain tasks. So, let’s check out the main duties and responsibilities that typically go along with this job.
Interacting with customers
One of the main duties of this job is greeting customers and determining their needs. It is important to be polite and friendly at all times while also listening carefully to customers. You then need to collect all the necessary information to serve the customers in the best way possible.
You will be charged with preparing prescriptions under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. You need to be able to follow the instructions of the pharmacist to the letter when making compound medicines. This often includes making ingredients for ointments, powders, and capsules so that they are ready for use.
Processing payments and insurance claims
When customers purchase over-the-counter medications, you need to receive payment and provide the correct change. When prescriptions are covered by insurance policies, you will be responsible for contacting the responsible insurance company.
It is important to make sure that the pharmacy is well-stocked with essential medication at all times. This involves providing regular inventory checks and ordering new stock when necessary. You also need to collect any expired medications and dispose of them correctly, following the approved procedures.
A large part of this role is performing various administrative skills to support the pharmacist. This can include preparing invoices, cash memos, receipts, and letterheads. If you already have administrative skills and experience, make sure you highlight them on your resume.
Skills And Attributes
It is important to highlight the right skills on your resume, especially in your objective statement. The hiring manager should know at a single glance that you have the necessary skills to do the job. Here are some key skills and attributes to highlight when applying for a pharmacy assistant role.
Many customers are feeling ill or stressed when they visit the pharmacy. If their medicine is not available for some reason, they may be grumpy or rude. It is important to remain calm at all times and focus on helping the customer in any way possible.
It is important to make sure that all medication is correctly labeled and stored in the right place. You will often be given a large number of tasks to complete in a short amount of time. Being organized and being able to prioritize tasks will help to make the job much easier.
It is important to be able to provide customers with first-rate service at all times. When customers request medication they have not been prescribed; you need to be polite yet firm. It is important to keep the needs of customers firmly in mind at all times to provide excellent service.
When giving a patient their medication, you need to explain the dosage to them clearly and simply. It is essential to make sure that the customer understands exactly when and how to take their medication. You also need to be able to answer any questions they may have and provide details on a healthy lifestyle.
Attention to detail
There is no room for error when you are working with medications. It is important to read prescriptions carefully and make sure that they are accurately filled. You also need to make sure the medications are labeled correctly and don’t conflict with other patient medications.
Most pharmacies feature a special computer system that you need to be able to use. These systems are designed to help you with tasks such as counting pills and correctly filling prescriptions. Computer skills are also needed when inputting customer data into the system and filing insurance claims.
You need to be able to come up with creative solutions to solve issues quickly and smoothly when they arise. This includes finding alternatives to unavailable medications and resolving incorrect billing. When customers have an issue for some reason, you need to listen to them carefully and find an effective solution.
This role involves accurately measuring out medications and filling prescriptions. Strong math skills also come into play when it comes to conducting inventory, ordering new stock, and maintaining records. Therefore, it is a good idea to highlight mathematical skills on your resume when applying for a position.
Education And Training
While no formal education is needed to secure this role, employers usually expect at least a high school diploma. Completing a bachelor’s degree will make it easier to find work and advance on your career path. You can also gain work experience before applying for work by volunteering in a hospital.
Once you secure a position, you will be provided with on-the-job training. If you have your sights set on becoming a pharmacy technician, it is best to complete a vocational training program. An accredited program usually features 600 hours of training and includes laboratory work and classroom lectures.
Certifications For Pharmacy Assistants
These days, many employers seek pharmacy assistants that hold special certifications. Earning one of these certifications can also help you stand out from the crowd and give you access to advanced positions. Here are some of the best certifications you can earn to boost your career.
Certified Pharmacy Technician
This special certification program is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies and provides in-depth instruction on safety protocol. To obtain certification, you need to meet specific eligibility requirements. You also need to sit and pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam.
Earning this certification makes it clear to employers that you are fully trained in all aspects of the job. This includes compounding ointments or creams, entering medication orders, and assisting pharmacists with filling or labeling. Certification can be obtained through the National Center for Competency Testing.
Board Certified Nuclear Pharmacist
Earning this specialization allows you to advance your career and become a nuclear pharmacist. The Board Certified Nuclear Pharmacist certification allows you to use radioactive drugs for diagnosis and therapy. You will also be qualified to provide consultation with patients regarding safety and health issues.
Certified Specialty Pharmacist
The National Sociality of Specialist Pharmacy provides the assessment and instruction needed to earn this certification. This certification shows potential employers that you are a dedicated professional and an expert in the field. After completing additional coursework, you will need to complete a psychometrically sound examination process.
Additional Info And Opportunities For You!
Perhaps you’re not sure which position would suit you best, so take a look at my Pharmacy Technician Job Description, or how about my Pharmacist Job Description and Pharmacist Interview Questions, and finally, my Pharmacy Manager Job Description to help you decide.
Alternatively, we’ve also put together a few pharmacy applications such as our Smiths Food And Drug Application, our Longs Drugs Application, as well as our CVS Pharmacy Application, and Shoppers Drug Mart Application in 2023.
Of course, if you’re just starting your studies, we recommend using the PTCE with Online Test: Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam, or perhaps the PTCB Exam Study Guide 2021-2022: Test Prep with Practice Questions for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board Examination, and the Mosby’s Review for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination to help ace those exams!
Working as a pharmacy assistant is a great way to launch your career and gain valuable work experience.
There are plenty of roles available for people who have the right skills and qualifications. When checking out job descriptions, it is important to make sure you meet the requirements before applying.
The average salary for a pharmacy assistant is $52,000 per year. People who have extensive experience and skills can easily earn double this figure. Gaining special certification is a great way to boost your earning potential and secure an advanced role.
All the very best in your new career as a Pharmacy Assistant!