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Pharmacy healthcare assistant jobs can be a great choice for people looking for a respected, well-paying position that enables them to help people on a daily basis. Working as a pharmacy healthcare assistant means you will be part of a healthcare team, often located in a hospital or community pharmacy. Pharmacy healthcare assistant employers include supermarket pharmacies, high street pharmacies and NHS community pharmacies. In community pharmacies, pharmacy healthcare assistant jobs are also sometimes known as dispensing assistants.
People working as a pharmacy healthcare assistant generally do so under the supervision of a registered pharmacist. Daily duties can be varied, with workloads often busy, particularly in high street pharmacies which can get very busy during certain periods. Whilst day-today duties may differ depending on the sector you are working in, pharmacy healthcare assistant jobs will generally involve the following:
- Providing prescriptions to customers
- Using computer systems to order stock and print labels
- Delivering medicines and equipment to other parts of a hospital/other pharmacies
- Selling over-the-counter medicine
- Answering customers’ health-related questions over the phone and face-to-face
There are no standard entry requirements for those working as a pharmacy healthcare assistant. However, pharmacy healthcare assistant employers will seek candidates with good communication and literacy skills, and therefore may require GCSEs in English and maths. Whilst relevant work experience is desirable, particularly in customer services, most pharmacy healthcare assistant roles provide on-the-job training. As such, most pharmacy healthcare assistant employers seek candidates with relevant skill sets, including:
- Being responsible
- Accurate and methodical, with good attention to detail
- Interested in people’s health and helping people
- Able to communicate effectively with customers, including clearly explaining instructions to customers
- IT and manual abilities
Career prospects for those working as a pharmacy healthcare assistant are good, with many opportunities in both the public and private sectors. Pharmacy healthcare assistant jobs in hospitals can lead to you becoming a registered pharmacist, with individuals working in hospitals developing their careers by gaining professional qualifications such as a diploma in clinical pharmacy or an MSc. Pharmacy healthcare assistant employers in the private sector include high street pharmacies.
Most pharmacy healthcare assistant employers will provide extensive training in a variety of areas in addition to pharmacy-related areas, including customer skills, communication and problem solving. Pharmacy healthcare assistant jobs offer starting salaries of between £16,000 – £20,000, with this rising to £30,000 – £35,000 for qualified pharmacists and the onto £50,000 – £70,000 for specialists and management-level positions.
There are numerous pros and cons to working as a pharmacy healthcare assistant. For one, training as a pharmacy assistant can be an excellent and fast way to beginning a career in healthcare. Most positions feature many opportunities to develop professionally, whilst the training and skills you will receive can be easily transferred to other sectors. Other benefits to pharmacy healthcare assistant jobs include having a positive impact on people’s lives every day, as well as the job providing great variety and ensuring no two days are the same.
Regarding cons to working as a pharmacy healthcare assistant, common complaints include low starting salaries and the constant need to stay up to date with the latest medicines and treatments. Work loads in this role can be high and may involve standing up for long periods of the day, as well as the constant need to interact with customers face to face, particularly in the private sector.