Should You Become a Pharmacy Assistant?

The job of a pharmacy assistant is exciting and comes with many responsibilities. The pharmacy assistant is the first point of contact for the general public in a pharmacy setting. As well as being the face of the pharmacy, they also perform tasks that require specialist knowledge and expertise.

The job of pharmacy assistant

Pharmacists engage in activities such as compounding, counting of loose tablets, taking stock of drugs and pre-packed medicines as well as a range of other tasks. These activities have also evolved over time into a community service role. Pharmacy assistants help with this side of things, by creating awareness about public health issues such as smoking initiatives or managing weight loss

There is also the advisory role played by pharmacists and their assistants, since they are traditionally approached for advice and suggestions. Patients may sometimes walk into the pharmacy rather than approach a General Practitioner, seeking advice for general conditions such as a cold.

The job of a pharmacy assistant has a lot of variety and significant responsibility. You will need distinct skills to excel.

Skills needed for a pharmacy assistant

As a pharmacy assistant representing your organisation, you need to stay connected with your community and maintain a positive working relationship. And remembering your customer names would be a good place to start.

Is your client an executive from a business or a nurse who cares for the elderly? Has your customer’s son just gone to school or their daughter graduated from college? Remembering the finer details really helps you connect with your clients on a personal level.

In the world of pharmacy, where constant changes are the norm and where the community looks for expert opinions on health and wellness, knowledge matters. Pharmacies frequently conduct wellness programmes in the community to understand, identify and cater to the health needs of patrons. For instance, the NSW Pharmacy Health Check Program is meant to create and spread awareness on different health conditions and ailments, such as cardiovascular diseases and Type-2 Diabetes.

As a trained pharmacy assistant, you are expected to have sufficient knowledge of basic health practices such as checking inhaler techniques, testing for anaemia, blood sugar levels or blood pressure in patients, as well as conducting and providing information sessions on vaccination campaigns. An ICI Diploma for Pharmacy Assistant can equip you with the right set of skills.

Advantages and disadvantages of being a pharmacy assistant

Pros: Quick start to your professional life

One of the major advantages of training to be a pharmacy assistant is that you don’t have to wait for long to become one. A diploma-level study to become a pharmacy assistant could be completed in as little as six weeks, with a maximum time of three years available to complete the course.

Pros: Job satisfaction

The pharmacy assistant’s role is rewarding. Having a positive impact on lives and leaving a lasting impression is not possible in other professions.

Pros: Unmatched variety

There’s never a dull moment in the life of a pharmacy assistant. The role involves handling multiple responsibilities, dealing with numerous clients and stakeholders and requires constant learning opportunities. Being in a meaningful job that provides satisfaction with unmatched variety is an incentive to work in this exciting profession.

Cons: Being on the move

A pharmacy assistant is expected to be busy and constantly on the move. You’ll be on your feet most of the time, which takes energy and commitment. Whether you are serving customers at the counter, taking stock of medicines, filling up shelves or preparing scripts for patients, you will need stamina to stay on top of things at work.

Legal aspects related to being a pharmacy assistant in Australia

The profession of pharmacy assistant is governed by strict guidelines provided by the Pharmacy Board of Australia. The guidelines apply to pharmacists registered in a general, provisional or limited capacities and does not apply to students. However, students are expected to be aware of the guidelines before they engage with the profession in a practical placement.

The guidelines for dispensing medicines include specifications on safety, dealing with scanned prescriptions or ones delivered by facsimile and extemporaneous dispensation of medicines (compounding). Pharmacists may sometimes have to deliver medicines to patients in remote areas by processing orders by mail or over the internet, where specific precautions may be taken to satisfy the regulatory requirements related to the state or territory that they practise in.

It is important for students to be aware of the guidelines associated with their profession. An informed decision based on facts would be the stepping stone to an exciting career of possibilities.

You can enroll today for ICI Pharmacy Assistant course and start a new career!

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Gladys Mae


Gladys Mae serves as the General Manager and Head of Student Services at the International Career Institute. Gladys holds a degree in Mass Communication - Broadcast Media from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. She joined ICI in 2010 and has over the past 12 years been instrumental in providing leadership and guidance to staff and students alike. Prior to joining ICI Gladys led a multifaceted career with key roles in the banking and business process outsourcing industries.