Pharmacy Assistant

A pharmacy assistant works with the pharmacist for preparation of drugs, provides customer service and answers to the customer in the store or over phone, manages the inventory, updates and follow-up patient files with medicine information, and manages insurance claims and other billings.

This job requires both clerical skills, customer service, and certain pharmaceutical knowledge and technical skills. A pharmacy technician needs understand doctor’s prescription, calculate the dosages, preparation of compound drugs, communication between doctors, pharmacists, and patients often over phones, and explaining the medicinal products to the patients/customers. They basically mix and prepare ointments, creams. lotions, make pills/tablets or suspensions from powdered drug, and other medications under the supervision of pharmacists.

Average Hourly

$22.95

Range Hourly

$14.00 – $25.28

Average Yearly

$44,743

Range Yearly

$27,300 – $49,296

Other assisting occupations in support of health services (3414)

Administration and property management services director

Administrative manager Managing director

Operational planning director

Operations chief

Operations director - administrative services

Operations manager - administrative services

Organization rules analysis manager

Organizational rules analysis manager

Planning and organizational development manager

A certificate or diploma from a training program approved by the provincial college of pharmacists is required.

Average hourly

Range hourly

Average yearly

Range yearly

$22.95

$14.00 - $25.28

$44,743

$27,300 - $49,296

High

Employment outlook is mostly good across provinces. More information is available here.

With obtaining further education and license one can become pharmacy technician.

350 hours or completion of a 2-month practicum

Communication skills; ability to work independently; flexibility; interpersonal skills

Pharmacy assistants find employment in hospitals, community, retail, medical clinics, and long-term care pharmacy practice settings

Most positions are part-time. Full-time opportunities are limited.

Difference between pharmacy technician and assistant:

Unlike technicians, pharmacy assistants do not have the authority of signing on new prescriptions and refills.

Pharmacy assistants do not need to be certified by respective provincial college of pharmacists (Alberta College of Pharmacists, Ontario College of Pharmacists etc.) following exam. Usually a certificate/diploma program is sufficient to become pharmacy assistants.

The length of the pharmacy assistant programs (~6 months) are shorter than pharmacy technician ones (~1 year)

To become competent for getting a job as a pharmacy assistant usually any of the following steps can be taken:

  1. Obtain a pharmacy assistant certificate from a college that offers practicum

  2. Seek volunteering opportunity at any local (non-franchise) pharmacy (preferably, if it is possible to connect with a pharmacy owner/pharmacist personally). Then learning and gathering experience from there one can apply to any pharmacies for such position.