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Pharmacy Aide Career

Career Description

A Pharmacy Aide records drugs delivered to the pharmacy, stores incoming merchandise, and informs the supervisor of stock needs. May operate cash register and accept prescriptions for filling.

Common Work Tasks

  • Answer telephones, handle money, stock shelves,  and perform other clerical duties
  • Establish and maintain patient profiles, prepare insurance claim forms, and stock and take inventory of prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • Correspond efficiently and correctly with third-party insurance providers to obtain payment
  • Maintain inventory and inform the supervisor of stock needs so that the pharmacy does not run out of vital medications that customers need
  • Help with the maintenance of equipment and supplies
  • Prepare solid and liquid dosage medications for dispensing into bottles and unit dose packaging
  • Greet customers and help them locate merchandise
  • Unpack, sort, count and label incoming merchandise, including items requiring special handling or refrigeration
  • Prepare prescription labels by typing or operating a computer and printer
  • Receive, store and inventory pharmaceutical supplies, notifying pharmacist when levels are low

Other Job Titles

Pharmacy Aides are also known by other titles, including:

  • Pharmacy Assistants
  • Pharmacy Technicians
  • Medical Assistants
  • Nursing Aides

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
 
Most pharmacy aides receive informal on-the-job training, but employers favor those with at least a high school diploma. Prospective pharmacy aides with experience working as cashiers may have an advantage when applying for jobs. Employers also prefer applicants with experience managing inventories and using computers.

Experience
  Strong customer service and communication skills are essential, as pharmacy aides frequently interact with patients, fellow employees, and other health-care professionals. Aides entering the field also need strong spelling, reading, and mathematics skills. Successful pharmacy aides are organized, dedicated, friendly,  and responsible. They should be willing and able to take directions. Candidates interested in becoming pharmacy aides cannot have prior records of drug or substance abuse.

Salary

The median annual salary for a Pharmacy Aide is $19,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $30,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $15,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of pharmacy aides are:

  • Health and Personal Care Stores - $20,140
  • Grocery Stores- $21,690
  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals- $26,840
  • Department Stores - $19,270
  • Other General Merchandise Stores - $26,830

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  -11%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: -5,600
  • Employment 2006 : 50,000
  • Employment 2016:  45,000
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