7 Skills Needed to Become a Pharmacy Assistant

Do you want to join a rapidly expanding area of the healthcare field? Would you enjoy working with people and solving their everyday health problems? If so, a job as a pharmacy assistant might be the one for you. The pharmaceutical industry is one of the fastest-growing segments of the healthcare field, expected to grow to $43 billion by 2020. So, if you have an interest in pharmaceutical science and customer service, you should consider a career as a pharmacy assistant. Find out how you can get the job below.

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What is a pharmacy assistant?

A pharmacy assistant works as a member of a team under the guidance and supervision of a registered pharmacist. The size of the pharmacy dictates what an assistant’s job entails – in some pharmacies, the pharmacy assistant will be responsible for clerical duties and product ordering, and in others, the assistant may work with medicines with the help of a licensed pharmacist.

There are no entry requirements to become a pharmacy assistant. However, on-the-job training, additional career training and professional development, as well as online courses and certifications can strengthen essential skills and advance your career in this field. 

Top skills a pharmacy assistant needs

There are some skills a pharmacy assistant should have, so below we give you seven of the top skills you need to become a successful pharmacy assistant.

1. Teamwork

Pharmacy assistants must be team players. That’s because in this job, you need to work together with your colleagues as part of a healthcare unit. You must know how to follow directions, take on additional and unplanned duties, and anticipate your coworker’s and pharmacist’s needs.

2. Organisation

Amongst many other duties, a pharmacy assistant has to keep the pharmacy well-organised. Specific duties that require organisation include keeping medicine bottles stocked on the shelves and behind the counter, stocking shelves with additional supplies, updating stock data in the computer system, and affixing printed labels onto medicine bottles.

3. Problem-solving

Problem-solving is at the heart of a pharmacy assistant’s job. A high level of emotional maturity and creativity is necessary to address and solve conflicts that might arise with customers, colleagues, and insurance companies. A relaxed, confident, and calm demeanour can go a long way toward solving everyday problems at the pharmacy, whether you’re dealing with incorrect billing, unavailable prescriptions, or something else.

4. Computer literacy

A pharmacy assistant needs to possess computer technology skills to work with different computers and computer programs at the pharmacy. Computers are used in pharmacies to produce accurate counts of pills for subscriptions, as an interface to input patient information and history, and for filing insurance claims. A successful pharmacy assistant will be able to learn new computer programs at a rapid pace to keep up with advancing technologies.

5. Communication

The pharmacy assistant is often the first person the customer interacts with, and so you need to be an active, compassionate, and empathetic listener. Members of a healthcare team must converse with customers using clarity, diplomacy, and tact while remaining aware of confidentiality and legal rules. As a pharmacy assistant, you’ll also use your written and verbal communication skills to build a good rapport with your colleagues.

6. Attention to detail

Due to the importance of properly handling medications, a pharmacy assistant must be dedicated to accuracy and attention to detail. Processing prescriptions involves careful attention to medicine type and dosage levels. Mistakes made at this point in the process may result in harm to a customer’s health. Additional attention should be given to drug intolerances or allergies that may also threaten a patient’s life.

7. Mathematical ability

A pharmacy assistant should be mathematically proficient to succeed in this job. Math is needed for filling prescriptions as well as for ordering, stocking, and packaging over-the-counter medications and prescriptions. Math is also a requirement for maintaining records and performing inventory control.

Begin your pharmacy assistant career today

Are you interested in a rewarding, in-demand, and hands-on job in the healthcare industry? If science, medicine, and customer service interest you, then perhaps you have a calling as a pharmacy assistant. The International Career Institute offers a Pharmacy Assistant course that will help you get you the qualifications you need to enter this promising field. Enrol the online course and start your new career today.

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Gladys Mae

Gladys is the Associate Director of Admissions & Student Services with over 10 years of experience at the International Career Institute.