Chemist’s assistant, dispensing assistant
Pharmacy assistants serve customers and patients in chemists and hospital dispensaries.
Salary range: £17,250 to £21,000
How to become a pharmacy assistant
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
You can learn some of the skills you need for this job by doing:
- Level 2 Certificate in Retail Skills
- Level 3 Diploma in Retail Skills Sales Professional
You may need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You can get into this job through a pharmacy services assistant or retailer intermediate apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
You can apply directly for job vacancies. Experience of handling cash and serving customers will be helpful.
Employers will expect you to have good reading, number and IT skills. They may ask for GCSEs.
You can find out more about working as a pharmacy assistant from Health Careers.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- customer service skills
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to work well with others
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- excellent verbal communication skills
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- to enjoy working with other people
- the ability to read English
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
What you’ll do
- 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
You could work at a health centre, at a store or in an NHS or private hospital.
You may need to wear a uniform.
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.