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Pharmacy assistant

Pharmacy assistants help pharmacists order, prepare and dispense medicines. See how you could use your customer service skills in a pharmacy.

Training and qualifications required

There are no set entry requirements to become pharmacy assistant. Employers usually expect good literacy, numeracy and IT skills. They may ask for GCSEs or equivalent qualifications. You will be given the training you need to be a member of the pharmacy team. This includes health and safety, use of IT systems, manufacturing medicines and dispensing prescriptions. A level 2 apprenticeship for pharmacy service assistants is available.

Expected working hours and salary range

Pharmacy assistants working in the NHS will work standard hours of around 37.5 a week which may include shifts. They usually start in the NHS at band 2 or 3 of the Agenda for Change pay scale. Terms and conditions outside of the NHS will vary depending on the employer.

Desirable skills and values

Excellent communication, customer service, IT and manual skills are all needed. You'll also need to be accurate and methodical, able to read and carry out instructions, be interested in people’s health and able to explain clearly to members of the public.

Prospects

You may be offered the chance to study for qualifications such as a NVQ level 2 in pharmacy service skills or BTEC level 2 in pharmaceutical science. With experience, you could become a team leader or supervisor, overseeing the work of other assistants. Some experienced pharmacy assistants apply to train as a pharmacy technician.
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