Pharmacy Aides picture    Pharmacy Aides image

Pharmacy Aides are responsible for assisting licensed pharmacists by handling most of the administrative duties required to run a pharmacy. The primary duties of pharmacy aides tend to be clerical in nature: answering telephones, stocking shelves, taking inventory, handling money, etc. The scope of their responsibilities is limited; they do things that make the operation of a pharmacy run smoothly but none of the things they do extend into the technical health aspects of patient support. Any questions they get regarding prescriptions or drug information are typically referred to a pharmacist.

A pharmacy aide's job is distinguishable from that of other pharmacy staff members primarily in scope. Although all members of a pharmaceutical staff work together as a team, an aide's responsibilities are primarily administrative and clerical as opposed to technical in nature. The other professionals who are principal players on a pharmaceutical team include the following:

  • Pharmacists are professionals who must be licensed. They are the only pharmacy workers who are authorized to counsel patients on the proper use of medications. Pharmacists typically check all medications before they leave the pharmacy and go into the hands of patients.
  • Pharmacy Technicians, like pharmacy aides, are also responsible for assisting the pharmacist; however, the scope of a technician's duties is more complex and more technical than that of an aide. Technicians dispense medication and other health care products to patients. Their work includes many of the tasks associated with the preparation of prescribed medication (e.g., labeling bottles, counting tablets, etc.). To an increasing extent, technicians are beginning to handle many of the same administrative duties normally done by aides. In fact, the job description of a pharmacy technician in many places is nearly interchangeable with that of a pharmacy aide, except for the inclusion of the more technical support tasks.


Simply put, pharmacy aides are responsible for the administrative duties required to run a pharmacy. In doing their jobs, aides work closely with other members of the pharmaceutical staff, notably pharmacy technicians and pharmacists themselves. Aides are responsible for keeping accurate records, handling pharmacy correspondence, and maintaining inventory and stock. They develop and maintain patient profiles, prepare insurance claim forms, and maintain a sufficient inventory of prescription and over-the-counter medications. In addition, pharmacy aides keep records of medicines delivered to the pharmacy, assist in the maintenance of pharmaceutical equipment, and engage in correspondence with third-party insurance carriers in order to obtain payment for prescriptions.

Other tasks typically performed by pharmacy aides include the following:

  • Maintain files and records
  • Submit required pharmacy reports
  • Accept prescriptions for filling
  • Prepare prescription labels by typing and/or using a computer and printer
  • Notify pharmacist when pharmaceutical supply levels are low
  • Process cash and credit sales
  • Restock storage areas and replenish items on shelves
  • Clean pharmacy equipment
  • Refer all questions regarding prescriptions, drug information, or health matters to a pharmacist

Job Characteristics

The work setting for most pharmacy aides mirrors that of pharmacy technicians and of pharmacists. Aides typically work in clean, neat, bright, and well-organized environments. They also tend to work the same hours as technicians and pharmacists. These are likely to include evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays; particularly in facilities that are open around the clock such as hospitals and some retail pharmacies. The large part of an aide's workday is spent on his/her feet. There are some physical demands associated with the job, including the moving or lifting of heavy boxes or delivery carts and the use of stepladders to retrieve supplies from high shelves.

Success in this occupation usually comes to individuals who possess strong customer service and communication skills, as pharmacy aides are frequently called upon to interact with patients, fellow pharmacy workers, and other health-care professionals. Friendliness, tact, and diplomacy can help an individual immensely in this profession. Also very important is good manual dexterity and an ability to perform repetitious work accurately. In addition, successful pharmacy aides need to be well-organized, responsible, team-oriented, and willing to take direction.

Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (USDL BLS), employment of pharmacy aides is expected to decline rapidly over the upcoming decade. The lessening demand for aides will be caused in large part by the trend towards pharmacy technicians taking on many of the administrative tasks now performed by pharmacy aides. To an increasing extent, duties such as answering phones, operating cash registers, and stocking shelves are being handled by pharmacy technicians, who are doing these things regularly as corollary responsibilities to supplement their more technical duties. This trend is expected to continue and an increasing number of pharmacy aides are expected to seek out additional training and become pharmacy technicians themselves.

As employment of pharmacy aides declines, employment of pharmacy technicians is expected to rise, which should further boost the incentive for aides to advance in their profession. In the near future, there will be a wider variety of treatments for an increasing number of conditions, resulting in more prescriptions to be dispensed. Also, there will be a continual increase in the numbers belonging to the demographic whose use of prescription drugs is the highest (i.e., the middle-aged and the elderly).

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Almost all pharmacy aides are trained on-the-job, although employers generally seek out those with at least a high-school diploma when hiring. Prior experience as a cashier is also highly desirable to employers, as is experience serving customers, managing inventories, or using a computer. Training for pharmacy aides typically begins as the aide observes one or more experienced workers while at the same time learning and becoming familiar with the policies, procedures, and equipment in the pharmacy. As time goes on, the aide begins to work more independently and does not generally receive additional training unless new equipment is introduced or policies or procedures change.

It is common for pharmacy aides to seek advancement by going on to become pharmacy technicians. Those who decide to do so very often pursue a formal pharmacy technician education program and earn a diploma, a certificate, or an associate's degree. Programs are offered by a large number of institutions including vocational and technical colleges, community colleges, hospitals, the military, and even pharmacies at which the aide is currently employed.


Major Employers

Pharmacy aides can be found in a variety of locations. More than 8 out of every 10 pharmacy aides work in a retail pharmacy of some sort. Most of these pharmacies are located in drugstores, but some of them are in department stores, grocery stores and mass retailer chains. The other major employer of pharmacy aides is hospitals.

Schools for Pharmacy Aides are listed in the column to the left.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Pharmacy Aides

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Pharmacy Aides jobs , as of 2016

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Daphne 70 $20,600
Foley 70 $20,600
Fairhope 70 $20,600
Muscle Shoals 70 $21,680
Florence 70 $21,680
Gadsden 30 $23,460
Mobile N/A $21,390
Hoover N/A $30,470
Birmingham N/A $30,470
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Scottsdale N/A $34,250
Mesa N/A $34,250
Phoenix N/A $34,250
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway N/A $19,010
North Little Rock N/A $19,010
Little Rock N/A $19,010
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anaheim 4640 $32,330
Los Angeles 4640 $32,330
Long Beach 4640 $32,330
Carlsbad 1170 $28,820
San Diego 1170 $28,820
San Francisco 610 $31,750
Hayward 610 $31,750
Oakland 610 $31,750
Ontario 520 $28,730
Riverside 520 $28,730
San Bernardino 520 $28,730
Arden 510 $28,930
Arcade 510 $28,930
Sacramento 510 $28,930
Roseville 510 $28,930
Lodi 280 $28,680
Stockton 280 $28,680
Bakersfield 220 $31,230
Fresno 160 $24,590
Modesto 160 $32,060
Porterville 150 $26,990
Visalia 150 $26,990
Thousand Oaks 140 $29,360
Ventura 140 $29,360
Oxnard 140 $29,360
Santa Barbara 110 $31,110
Santa Maria 110 $31,110
Santa Rosa 100 $52,380
El Centro 80 $24,540
Paso Robles 80 $32,030
Arroyo Grande 80 $32,030
San Luis Obispo 80 $32,030
Merced 70 $23,540
Salinas N/A $24,650
Watsonville N/A $27,240
Santa Cruz N/A $27,240
Redding N/A $29,060
San Jose N/A $29,630
Santa Clara N/A $29,630
Sunnyvale N/A $29,630
Chico N/A $29,860
Fairfield N/A $43,730
Vallejo N/A $43,730
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lakewood 70 $37,400
Aurora 70 $37,400
Denver 70 $37,400
Pueblo 40 $23,170
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
East Hartford N/A $24,050
West Hartford N/A $24,050
Hartford N/A $24,050
New Haven N/A $24,250
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fort Lauderdale 1050 $26,760
Miami 1050 $26,760
West Palm Beach 1050 $26,760
St. Petersburg 390 $19,630
Clearwater 390 $19,630
Tampa 390 $19,630
Pensacola 70 $22,160
Ferry Pass 70 $22,160
Brent 70 $22,160
Fort Walton Beach 40 $24,300
Destin 40 $24,300
Crestview 40 $24,300
Ormond Beach N/A $19,980
Deltona N/A $19,980
Daytona Beach N/A $19,980
Port St. Lucie N/A $21,290
Winter Haven N/A $22,750
Lakeland N/A $22,750
Titusville N/A $24,230
Melbourne N/A $24,230
Palm Bay N/A $24,230
Jacksonville N/A $25,240
Fort Myers N/A $27,440
Cape Coral N/A $27,440
Orlando N/A $32,620
Kissimmee N/A $32,620
Sanford N/A $32,620
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell N/A $26,880
Sandy Springs N/A $26,880
Atlanta N/A $26,880
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu N/A $35,330
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anderson 40 $24,600
Carmel 40 $24,600
Indianapolis 40 $24,600
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Iowa City 40 $25,300
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 120 $19,260
Topeka N/A $28,870
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette N/A $20,160
Lexington N/A $20,160
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Metairie 190 $26,450
New Orleans 190 $26,450
Thibodaux 50 $21,040
Houma 50 $21,040
Baton Rouge N/A $22,310
Lafayette N/A $24,020
Monroe N/A $25,840
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson 30 $34,590
Columbia 30 $34,590
Baltimore 30 $34,590
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Detroit 280 $21,670
Dearborn 280 $21,670
Warren 280 $21,670
Wyoming N/A $28,680
Grand Rapids N/A $28,680
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rochester N/A $23,270
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jefferson City N/A $20,160
Springfield N/A $23,230
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Reno 50 $28,000
Paradise N/A $34,190
Henderson N/A $34,190
Las Vegas N/A $34,190
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 40 $35,550
Las Cruces N/A $23,450
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cheektowaga 140 $25,640
Buffalo 140 $25,640
Niagara Falls 140 $25,640
Syracuse 100 $27,770
Schenectady 60 $24,980
Troy 60 $24,980
Albany 60 $24,980
Fort Drum 40 $22,170
Watertown 40 $22,170
Utica 40 $25,810
Rome 40 $25,810
Binghamton N/A $27,860
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Durham 70 $21,640
Chapel Hill 70 $21,640
High Point N/A $18,150
Greensboro N/A $18,150
Raleigh N/A $28,030
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck N/A $22,890
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Toledo 140 $22,870
Elyria 70 $24,560
Cleveland 70 $24,560
Akron 40 $19,400
Columbus N/A $19,360
Dayton N/A $26,820
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 240 $23,140
Tulsa N/A $21,870
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 270 $24,550
York 50 $21,190
Hanover 50 $21,190
Erie N/A $19,020
Harrisburg N/A $20,950
Carlisle N/A $20,950
Reading N/A $21,440
Hazleton N/A $22,210
Scranton N/A $22,210
Barre N/A $22,210
Wilkes N/A $22,210
Bloomsburg N/A $26,400
Berwick N/A $26,400
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
San Juan 910 $18,380
Caguas 910 $18,380
Carolina 910 $18,380
Arecibo 220 $17,860
Ponce 190 $17,730
Mayag´┐Żez 30 $18,660
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbia N/A $28,450
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Johnson City 30 $22,700
Franklin N/A $19,410
Murfreesboro N/A $19,410
Davidson N/A $19,410
Nashville N/A $19,410
Knoxville N/A $32,020
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Arlington 760 $22,630
Dallas 760 $22,630
Fort Worth 760 $22,630
San Antonio 240 $31,190
New Braunfels 240 $31,190
Austin 220 $23,490
Round Rock 220 $23,490
Sugar Land 170 $22,450
The Woodlands 170 $22,450
Houston 170 $22,450
El Paso 100 $18,000
Lubbock 70 $23,940
Mission N/A $19,800
Edinburg N/A $19,800
McAllen N/A $19,800
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 120 $32,550
Clearfield 80 $28,460
Ogden 80 $28,460
Orem 50 $31,390
Provo 50 $31,390
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 90 $23,040
Burlington 90 $23,040
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond N/A $22,560
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bellevue 650 $29,910
Seattle 650 $29,910
Tacoma 650 $29,910
Bellingham 50 $29,770
Yakima 40 $27,010
Spokane 40 $34,460
Spokane Valley 40 $34,460
Kennewick N/A $20,420
Richland N/A $20,420
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston N/A $19,030
Vienna N/A $19,540
Parkersburg N/A $19,540
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Appleton 30 $19,800
West Allis N/A $18,780
Waukesha N/A $18,780
Milwaukee N/A $18,780
Beloit N/A $21,940
Janesville N/A $21,940
Madison N/A $23,360

Most Popular Industries for :
Pharmacy Aides

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Grocery Stores 7,560 47% $21,120
Department And General Stores 3,900 24% $19,260
Hospital 3,000 18% $27,470
Medical Office 570 3% $27,310
Government 270 1% $25,890
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Pharmacy Aides.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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