how to become a pharmacy aide

What does a Pharmacy Aide do?

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A pharmacy aide assists a pharmacy by performing tasks such as running a cash register and accepting orders for prescriptions in need to be filled. Though they would help with inventory and stocking merchandise, they are not qualified to fill prescriptions. They may answer the phone and answer the client’s non-clinical questions as well. Watch a video to learn what a pharmacy aide does.

How to Become a Pharmacy Aide

Unlike a pharmacy technician who needs to become certified to work in a pharmacy, a pharmacy aide can generally gain employment with a high school diploma as this is considered an entry-level position. You would be trained on-the-job and if you do not have prior experience working at a pharmacy, training could last up to a few months.

Job Description of a Pharmacy Aide

As this is a non-clinical position, pharmacy aides largely assist with customer service and inventory. They would find themselves greeting customers, checking them out at the cash register, answering the phone to answer any basic questions and forward any call to the pharmacist as needed. Pharmacy aides would also help keep the pharmacy running by helping with inventory and checking the stock of supplies and letting the pharmacist know if any supply is running low.

Pharmacy Aide Career Video Transcript

When a pharmacy technician or aide says they’ll give you a taste of your own medicine, you have nothing to worry about. Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers or health professionals. They receive written prescriptions and confirm their accuracy, and can measure and package medications, and label prescriptions. Technicians answer customers’ basic questions and will track the orders of medications they receive. They may also process medical insurance forms.

Pharmacy aides record and store deliveries of supplies and medications, and may accept prescriptions to be filled. They greet customers and provide basic information about their medications. They usually run the cash register in the pharmacy and also prepare labels and keep the pharmacy area tidy. Many pharmacy technicians and aides work full time, and may work irregular shifts at 24-hour pharmacies.

Technicians may enter the field by earning an associate’s degree, taking a short-term pharmacy technician program, or gaining work experience to develop the needed skills. Most, but not all, states require licensure and certification for pharmacy technicians. Pharmacy aides generally need a high school education and train on-the-job. As the face of the pharmacy, pharmacy technicians and aides need customer service skills and a strong eye for detail. Ensuring customers receive the correct medication in a timely fashion is essential to our health care system.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Pharmacy Aides.

National Center for O*NET Development. 13-2011.01. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

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