What Do Pharmacy Aides Do?
Pharmacy aides are valuable employees who keep their workplaces running smoothly. In addition to recording the delivery of drugs and merchandise, they stock shelves and inform supervisors when inventory runs low. They are also able to accept prescriptions to be filled.
Pharmacy Aides Skills and Abilities
A variety of skills and abilities are required in this position. Since you will be working with customers, it will be important for you to listen carefully to what they say without interruption, ask questions when appropriate and convey information clearly and effectively. You should be service oriented and seek ways to be of help to people. You will need computer skills, such as a familiarity with word processing, spreadsheets and database entry. You will have to manage files and records on a daily basis and because you will be working with pharmaceuticals, you should have a knowledge of relevant laws, government regulations and legal codes. An understanding of marketing strategy and sales techniques will also serve you well since you will be promoting and selling the pharmacy’s products.Basic communication abilities such as speech clarity and recognition will come into play. Along with the ability to understand information presented through both the spoken and written word, you should be prepared to observe details that exist or events that occur within a few feet of your position.
Pharmacy Aides Duties
As a pharmacy aide, you will combine many different tasks into your work day. These include:
- Accepting prescriptions to be filled
- Assisting customers by answering questions and helping them locate merchandise
- Taking phone queries and referring callers to the pharmacist if necessary
- Receiving and storing supplies and keeping track of inventories
- Sorting, counting and labeling pharmacy merchandise
- Checking for medications that have expired
- Compounding and packaging pharmaceuticals under the pharmacist’s supervision
- Operating a tablet or capsule counting machine
- Preparing labels for prescription drugs
- Calculating bill totals and copays, and processing insurance claims
- Providing information to customers concerning drug uses, side effects and possible interactions
- Maintaining clean equipment, shelves and work areas
Your clerical tasks will include compiling and keeping prescription records and maintaining files in an orderly manner. For example, you will use, or develop for use, a variety of computer formats for keeping records of receipts, purchases, deliveries and pharmaceutical inventories. You may also have to compose letters.
Pharmacy Aides Tools and Technology
As a pharmacy aide, you will be responsible for filling liquid dose packaging machines or auger dose machines, which are generally used for fine powders or granules. Familiarity with HEPA filtered enclosures and tablet counters will also be required. Technical knowledge needed will mostly be confined to computer and cash register operations.
Education and Training for Pharmacy Aides
To enter this field, you should at least have a high school diploma. However, statistics show that 32.5% of employees aged 25 to 44 have had some college education and another 21.7% have earned a bachelor’s degree. Previous work experience is not required; you will receive short-term, on-the-job training once you have been hired as a pharmacy aide.
Pharmacy Aides Salary
The median annual salary for pharmacy aides is $23,200 nationwide. The lowest 10% of all employees earn $17,500 per year while the top 10% take home an annual salary of $37,900.
Pharmacy Aides Jobs by Geography
The need for pharmacy aides continues to increase, which is good news for individuals interested in pursuing this career path. Colorado, Alaska, Florida and Idaho are the states with the most positions available. The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico also offers a significant number of openings. The upswing in jobs is expected to continue in coming years and you will likely find positions available anywhere in the country.