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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.

Responsibilities

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.

Resources

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 2015

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Birmingham N/A $18,860
Hoover N/A $18,860
Mobile N/A $23,500
Foley N/A $23,760
Fairhope N/A $23,760
Daphne N/A $23,760
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 70 $40,320
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Scottsdale 370 $28,940
Mesa 370 $28,940
Phoenix 370 $28,940
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 200 $20,130
North Little Rock 200 $20,130
Little Rock 200 $20,130
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anaheim 4530 $33,590
Los Angeles 4530 $33,590
Long Beach 4530 $33,590
Carlsbad 1160 $27,010
San Diego 1160 $27,010
Arden 700 $26,040
Arcade 700 $26,040
Roseville 700 $26,040
Sacramento 700 $26,040
Ontario 680 $24,800
San Bernardino 680 $24,800
Riverside 680 $24,800
Hayward 580 $30,830
San Francisco 580 $30,830
Oakland 580 $30,830
San Jose 360 $29,960
Sunnyvale 360 $29,960
Santa Clara 360 $29,960
Stockton 260 $29,930
Lodi 260 $29,930
Bakersfield 240 $28,500
Ventura 190 $25,320
Oxnard 190 $25,320
Thousand Oaks 190 $25,320
Watsonville 150 $27,070
Santa Cruz 150 $27,070
Visalia 120 $26,230
Porterville 120 $26,230
Fresno 110 $25,790
El Centro 60 $20,000
San Luis Obispo 60 $35,820
Arroyo Grande 60 $35,820
Paso Robles 60 $35,820
Fairfield 50 $45,850
Vallejo 50 $45,850
Merced 40 $28,240
Santa Rosa N/A $27,090
Santa Barbara N/A $27,540
Santa Maria N/A $27,540
Redding N/A $29,820
Modesto N/A $30,020
Salinas N/A $39,110
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lakewood 80 $37,410
Aurora 80 $37,410
Denver 80 $37,410
Pueblo 40 $22,510
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
New Haven N/A $22,950
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Palm Beach 780 $24,820
Miami 780 $24,820
Fort Lauderdale 780 $24,820
Tampa 400 $18,970
St. Petersburg 400 $18,970
Clearwater 400 $18,970
Fort Walton Beach 40 $23,010
Crestview 40 $23,010
Destin 40 $23,010
Deltona N/A $19,290
Ormond Beach N/A $19,290
Daytona Beach N/A $19,290
Titusville N/A $20,580
Melbourne N/A $20,580
Palm Bay N/A $20,580
Port St. Lucie N/A $20,670
Brent N/A $21,510
Ferry Pass N/A $21,510
Pensacola N/A $21,510
Winter Haven N/A $22,060
Lakeland N/A $22,060
Jacksonville N/A $22,720
Orlando N/A $24,070
Kissimmee N/A $24,070
Sanford N/A $24,070
Cape Coral N/A $26,280
Fort Myers N/A $26,280
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 250 $30,230
Sandy Springs 250 $30,230
Atlanta 250 $30,230
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anderson 40 $23,300
Carmel 40 $23,300
Indianapolis 40 $23,300
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 140 $18,750
Lawrence 50 $23,290
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
New Orleans 300 $22,920
Metairie 300 $22,920
Bossier City 120 N/A
Shreveport 120 N/A
Thibodaux 40 $18,930
Houma 40 $18,930
Lafayette 40 $25,710
Baton Rouge N/A $21,940
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson N/A $24,250
Columbia N/A $24,250
Baltimore N/A $24,250
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dearborn N/A $21,880
Detroit N/A $21,880
Warren N/A $21,880
Portage N/A $24,980
Kalamazoo N/A $24,980
Wyoming N/A $29,120
Grand Rapids N/A $29,120
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rochester N/A $22,170
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 70 $34,110
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield 50 $23,230
Jefferson City N/A $19,810
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 40 $33,100
Henderson 40 $33,100
Las Vegas 40 $33,100
Reno N/A $28,900
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque N/A $28,880
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cheektowaga 240 $19,850
Buffalo 240 $19,850
Niagara Falls 240 $19,850
Syracuse 120 $26,620
Albany 30 $25,350
Troy 30 $25,350
Schenectady 30 $25,350
Rochester N/A $19,500
Watertown N/A $20,020
Fort Drum N/A $20,020
Binghamton N/A $26,850
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Chapel Hill 110 $19,760
Durham 110 $19,760
Raleigh 70 $23,390
High Point N/A $17,640
Greensboro N/A $17,640
     
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck N/A $22,950
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Elyria 80 $23,680
Cleveland 80 $23,680
Akron 50 $19,120
Columbus N/A $21,660
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Tulsa N/A $20,030
Oklahoma City N/A $23,950
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hazleton 60 $21,890
Barre 60 $21,890
Wilkes 60 $21,890
Scranton 60 $21,890
Harrisburg 50 $20,180
Carlisle 50 $20,180
York 40 $20,840
Hanover 40 $20,840
Lebanon 30 $18,360
Reading N/A $20,730
Lancaster N/A $21,210
Pittsburgh N/A $26,660
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
San Juan 1170 $18,330
Carolina 1170 $18,330
Caguas 1170 $18,330
Aguadilla 90 $17,990
Isabela 90 $17,990
San Germ�n 60 $18,310
Mayag�ez 50 $18,260
Guayama N/A $17,720
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Florence N/A $22,300
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin N/A $22,300
Murfreesboro N/A $22,300
Davidson N/A $22,300
Nashville N/A $22,300
Knoxville N/A $26,710
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Arlington 900 $23,380
Fort Worth 900 $23,380
Dallas 900 $23,380
San Antonio 210 $28,900
New Braunfels 210 $28,900
Sugar Land 180 $25,350
The Woodlands 180 $25,350
Houston 180 $25,350
Austin 180 $29,390
Round Rock 180 $29,390
Lubbock 90 N/A
Amarillo 40 $23,490
El Paso N/A $17,520
Wichita Falls N/A $27,740
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 100 $31,130
Clearfield 80 $27,650
Ogden 80 $27,650
Provo 40 $30,190
Orem 40 $30,190
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 100 $22,640
Burlington 100 $22,640
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roanoke 60 $23,370
Lynchburg N/A $20,590
Richmond N/A $23,260
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bellevue 710 $29,270
Seattle 710 $29,270
Tacoma 710 $29,270
Bellingham 80 $31,030
Yakima 40 $25,790
Spokane 40 $36,260
Spokane Valley 40 $36,260
Kennewick N/A $19,820
Richland N/A $19,820
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Green Bay 40 $23,280
West Allis N/A $18,220
Waukesha N/A $18,220
Milwaukee N/A $18,220
Beloit N/A $21,560
Janesville N/A $21,560
Madison N/A $23,450

Most Popular Industries for :
Pharmacy Aides

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

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

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
These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles). Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.
 
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San Jose
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  • A.S.- Health Sciences (Pharmacy Technician)
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  • Pharmacy Technician

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Vista
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  • Degree - Pharmacy Technology
  • Many programs require externships, allowing students to gain real-world experience.
  • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1984.
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Bakersfield
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  • Pharmacy Technician
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Fairfield
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CityTownInfo Career and College Resources

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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