Assistant Pharmacist: Salary, Duties and Requirements

Aug 02, 2019

Assistant pharmacists require little formal education. Learn about the education, job duties, salary and job growth predictions to see if this is the right career for you.

What is a Pharmacy Assistant?

What does a pharmacist assistant do? Assistant pharmacists, also referred to as pharmacy aides, work with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in a variety of settings, from retail stores to hospitals. Assistant pharmacists perform administrative duties and work directly with customers to meet their prescription needs. While becoming an assistant pharmacist doesn't typically require formal education after high school, it does necessitate customer service and clerical skills. Some employers may favor those with related experience.

Required Education High school diploma or GED certificate
Projected Job Growth (2016-2026)* -5% decline (pharmacy aides)
Median Salary (2018)* $26,450 (pharmacy aides)

Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

How Much Does a Pharmacy Assistant Make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), pharmacy aides earned a median annual salary of $26,450 as of May 2018, with most wages ranging from $19,370 to $44,450 ( Salaries varied by location and industry. Outpatient care centers offered the highest mean wages for pharmacy aides, at $50,380 per year, based on BLS data for 2018. That same year, most of the pharmacy aide jobs were in health and personal care stores, according to the BLS.

Pharmacy Assistant Job Description

Pharmacy assistant duties include working alongside licensed pharmacists and pharmacist technicians to help process prescriptions. Assistants' duties are typically clerical and organizational in nature and might include answering phones, filling out and filing paperwork, running cash registers and stocking shelves. While assistant pharmacists might be able to perform tasks related to drug inventory, such as accepting orders, packaging prescriptions and preparing prescription labels, they can't work directly with medications.

Assistant Pharmacist Requirements

A specific assistant pharmacist course may not exist, and becoming an assistant pharmacist usually requires only a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) credential. However, employers tend to favor applicants with some pharmacy training or previous experience in a related field, such as customer service, retail or administration.

Assistant Pharmacist Job Outlook

According to the BLS, employment for pharmacy aides was projected to decrease by 5% from 2016-2026. On the other hand, BLS figures showed job opportunities for pharmacy technicians, who are trained to assist pharmacists in dispensing medications, were projected to grow at an above average rate, increasing by about 12% over the same time period. Thus, those interested in a pharmacy career might consider attending pharmacist assistant school in pharmacy technology to pursue formal technician certification.

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