Pharmacy assistant

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

Working life

A pharmacy is where medicines are stored, prepared and dispensed. Medicines are the most common treatments offered to NHS patients.


Pharmacy assistants work as part of a pharmacy team under the direction of a registered pharmacist. The work includes:

Pharmacy assistants can also be involved in manufacturing medicines when ready-made preparations are not available. For example, certain cancer treatments and intravenous feeding solutions need to be tailor made under sterile conditions for individual patients.

Pharmacy assistants work as part of healthcare teams in hospitals or community pharmacies. Some work in retail pharmacies in supermarkets or on the high street, or for other employers that provide NHS services. In community pharmacies they may be called dispensing assistants.

Entry requirements 

There are no set entry requirements to become a pharmacy assistant. Employers usually expect good literacy, numeracy and IT skills. They may ask for GCSEs or equivalent qualifications.

Employers often ask for relevant work experience. Even where this is not specified, it would be an advantage if you have worked in a customer service role.

Skills and personal characteristics 

Pharmacy assistants need to be:

They'll also need excellent communication, customer service, IT and manual skills. 

Training and development

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.

You may be offered the chance to study for qualifications such as:

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