Role of a Pharmacy Assistant

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There are several different pharmaceutical jobs in every pharmacy. The pharmacy assistant does a lot of administrative work such as answering the phones, ringing up sales and restocking shelves.

Pharmacy assistants find pharmaceutical job opportunities in pharmacies in chain or independent stores, hospitals and clinics –basically wherever a pharmacist needs assistance. Many pharmacy assistants choose, after awhile, to get more education and take on another important pharmaceutical job: pharmacy technician.

Pharmacy assistants are essential in the smooth functioning of any pharmacy. Though they do not generally portion out or handle medications, this pharmaceutical job is heavily involved in customer service. Pharmacist assistants must know where everything is located behind the counter to retrieve things for patients, as well as have a general knowledge of over the counter medications to make recommendations to patients who are ill. This pharmaceutical job is also largely responsible for collecting patient signatures for restricted drugs.



Pharmacy assistants are also tasked with dealing with insurance companies and making sure that a patient's paperwork and insurance documents are in order. This pharmaceutical job also follows up with insurance companies to obtain payments for medications given out. In medical facilities such as hospitals, pharmacy assistants may also drop of medications for patients as well as retrieve new prescriptions for the pharmacist.

Pharmacy assistants also see to the stocking and restocking of medications and supplies available at the pharmacy. They must coordinate with vendors and delivery companies to ensure that the pharmacy has everything it needs to operate.

In some states the pharmaceutical job of a pharmacy assistant can even include handling medications, labeling prescriptions and counting out tablets under the supervision of a pharmacist. Because of the wide variety of tasks that come with this pharmaceutical job, many pharmacy assistants opt to go through an additional year or two of schooling and become pharmacy technicians.

The pharmacy assistant has a lot of things to think about in a given work day, so there are certain skill sets or qualities that are helpful to have: a patient and friendly attitude, good math skills, and be excellent communicators. This particular pharmaceutical job also requires a clean arrest record and a history free of any prior substance abuse.

Being a pharmacy assistant has many benefits. As of 2008, the average pay for a pharmacy assistant was about $9.60 per hour, while those with five or more years of experience earned up to $12 per hour. Many pharmacy assistants also work part time, but full time benefits for this pharmaceutical job include paid vacation time, 401k plans and health insurance.
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