Pharmacy Assistant

Job Description:

Pharmacy assistants serve customers and patients in chemists and hospital dispensaries.

Job Category:
Health Care & Social Assistance

What you will do:

As a pharmacy assistant you could:

  • Serve customers and give advice about non-prescription items
  • Label products, stock shelves and put orders together
  • Take calls from GP surgeries, nursing homes and clinics
  • Deliver medicines to wards
  • Enter medicine data on computer systems


You’ll need:

  • The ability to read English
  • To be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • Customer service skills
  • Patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • The ability to work well with others (teamwork)
  • To be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • Excellent verbal communication skills
  • The ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

School Subjects

Becoming a Pharmacy Assistant typically involves a combination of on-the-job training and practical experience. While there are no strict GCSE subject requirements for this role, having a strong foundation in certain subjects can be beneficial for understanding the healthcare field and developing skills relevant to the role. Here are some GCSE subjects that could be helpful:

  1. Science: Subjects like Biology and Chemistry can provide a basic understanding of pharmaceuticals, medications, and health-related concepts.
  2. Mathematics: Math skills are important for tasks such as measurements, calculations, and handling prescription orders.
  3. English: Effective communication skills, both written and verbal, are essential for interacting with customers, documenting information, and providing clear instructions.
  4. Health and Social Care: This subject can provide insights into healthcare ethics, patient care, and professionalism, which are important aspects of a Pharmacy Assistant’s role.
  5. Business Studies: Basic business knowledge can be helpful for understanding inventory management, customer service, and administrative tasks in a pharmacy setting.
  6. Information Technology (IT): Basic computer skills can be useful for tasks involving electronic health records, inventory systems, and communication.

While specific GCSE subjects can provide a foundation, Pharmacy Assistants often receive on-the-job training from experienced pharmacy staff. They learn about medication dispensing, prescription processing, customer service, inventory management, and other essential aspects of pharmacy operations.

Post School 

You can get into this job through:

  • A college course
  • An apprenticeship
  • A trainee position
  • Applying directly

You could do a college course to get some of the skills you’ll need as a pharmacy assistant.

In the UK for example, you could do a Level 2 or 3 Certificate in Retail Skills.

You could do a Pharmacy Services Assistant or Retailer Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship.

You might be able to get a trainee pharmacy assistant job in a pharmacy.

You could work and do a part time qualification like the Level 2 Certificate in the Principles and Practice for Pharmacy Support Staff.

Direct Application
You can apply directly for pharmacy assistant roles

You might need:

  • Experience of customer service
  • Good reading, number and IT skills


Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 37-39 hours of work. You could be required to work evenings/weekends/bank holidays.

You could work at a health centre, at a store or in a government or private hospital.

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience and a recognised qualification, you could:

  • Become a senior pharmacy assistant, supervisor or manager.
  • Become a pharmacy technician.