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Pharmacy assistant Chemist’s assistant, dispensing assistant

Pharmacy assistants serve customers and patients in chemists and hospital dispensaries.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £14,000 to £20,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 30 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll usually need a good standard of general education, including GCSEs in maths and English. You’ll also need good customer service skills.

Previous retail experience could be helpful. 

You may be able to start through a pharmacy services apprenticeship.

Health Careers has more information about working as a pharmacy assistant.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • customer service skills
  • attention to detail
  • to be able to understand the law and guidelines on medicines
  • to able to explain the properties of medicines clearly to members of the public

3. What you'll do

You’ll be:  

  • advising customers about non-prescription items
  • serving customers and making up orders
  • taking payments
  • labelling products
  • re-stocking shelves and display cabinets
  • taking calls from GP surgeries, nursing homes and clinics
  • delivering medicines to wards
  • entering medicine data on computerised dispensing systems

4. Salary

Starter: £14,000 to £17,500

Experienced: £18,000 to £20,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work between 30 and 40 hours, on shifts spread over 7 days.

You’ll work in a chemist’s shop, a health centre or hospital dispensary.

6. Career path and progression

With experience and a qualification like the Level 2 NVQ Certificate in Pharmacy Service Skills, you could become a senior pharmacy assistant.
With further training, you could become a pharmacy technician.

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Last updated: 13 December 2016

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