Pharmacy assistants, or aides, help the pharmacy run smoothly by handling many of the administrative tasks. Pharmacy assistants work with pharmacists and technicians, but have fewer responsibilities. You can usually become a pharmacy assistant with only a high school diploma or GED, but you must have administrative and customer service skills as well.
Pharmacy assistants greet customers as they enter the pharmacy. They accept prescriptions, get information from customers and prepare the paperwork for the pharmacist to fill the medication. Helping customers locate over-the-counter medications and medical supplies, managing the cash register and accepting payments from customers are other duties of pharmacy assistants. They will also answer the phone in the pharmacy and redirect calls as needed.
Pharmacy assistants accept shipments of medication and supplies, unpack and store inventory and ensure it is handled properly. For example, some medication may need to be refrigerated or other special handling. Maintaining stock in the front of the store so that customers can find the supplies they need and checking for expired medications and notifying the pharmacist when stock is low and needs to be re-ordered are also the responsibility of a pharmacy aide.
Other tasks include maintaining and filing patient records, preparing letters and other paperwork and responding to faxes. Pharmacy assistants may prepare labels for prescription bottles using a computer or typewriter. Depending on the employer, they may be asked to deliver medication and supplies to customers, clinics, treatment areas or other medical facilities.
Pharmacy assistants may not work directly with medications or fill prescriptions for customers and may not provide medical advice or information about medications or treatment options to patients. Assistants do not have the medical training or knowledge to provide these services and must refer customers directly to the pharmacist or doctor for information.