Pharmacy Aide

Pros


  • This is a job that is focused on helping people. You will be indirectly assisting people take medications that could help them to live better lives.
  • Those who have enjoyed studying science, especially chemistry, would find this type of work interesting.
  • This career field is expected to have good job growth, and there are minimal educational requirements for an entry level job.

Cons

  • Attention to detail is very important to make sure that one does not dispense incorrect medication that could potentially harm customers.
  • This job is generally in a fast paced pharmacy that requires one to be on their feet for the majority of the day.
  • This type of work usually requires one to work outside of the normal 9-5 hours; nights, weekends and swing shifts are common to meet customers’ needs.

Overview

Pharmacy aides assist pharmacists in dispensing medication to customers. They generally are employed in pharmacies that are in retail settings. Because of this, a pharmacy aid is expected to work hours that best fit their customer’s schedules. There are a variety of tasks that pharmacy aides are involved in on a day-to-day basis, and usually a pharmacy aid also has a role in customer service functions.

The main duties that pharmacy aides will typically be found doing include taking prescription requests from customers, measuring out medications and properly labeling medication bottles to identify their contents as well as potential dangers. Often times pharmacy aides are also required to perform administrative duties in a pharmacy. This can include stocking shelves, answering telephones and recording transactions using a cash register or a computer.

A pharmacy aide works under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. Before medication can be given to a customer, the pharmacist must check the accuracy of the pharmacy aides’ work. Because of this, and the fast-paced nature of a pharmacy, there is some pressure for pharmacy aides to pay close attention to detail. Although the majority of pharmacy aides work in a retail pharmacy located in a residential setting, they can also work in other medical facilities. This can include hospitals, assisted living facilities and home health care organizations.

Education

While there are no formal training requirements to get a job as a pharmacy aide, it is helpful for prospective applicants to have some training or certification, especially for an entry level position. Educational opportunities for pharmacy aides exist in community colleges, private training centers, high school vocational programs and in the military. Quite often, pharmacy aides need to get a lot of their training from being on the job or by obtaining an internship while they are in a training program.

Job Prospects

The job prospects for this occupation are quite good. Medical advances have made more pharmaceuticals available for specific health issues and diseases. As people age they require medicine to stay healthy and to ward off health problems such as infirmity and infection. This creates an increasing demand for the services of a pharmacy, and therefore more and more pharmacy aides will continue to be needed in the future.

Advancement Opportunities

For pharmacy aides that are working in a retail pharmacy, the opportunities for advancement are limited. For those who decide to go work for a larger organization such as a hospital, however, there are ways to move up. This may include taking on more responsibility in a supervisory role. Some pharmacy aides decide to go back to school to become a medical technician or even a pharmacist. Others take their experience working with people and move into another career such as sales.