Pharmacy aides help licensed pharmacists with administrative duties in running a pharmacy. Aides often are clerks or cashiers who primarily answer telephones, handle money, stock shelves, and perform other clerical duties. They work closely with pharmacy technicians, and refer any questions regarding prescriptions, drug information, or health matters to a pharmacist. Responsibilities may also include:
- Establish and maintain patient profiles
- Prepare insurance claim forms
- Stock and take inventory of prescription and over-the-counter medications
- Clean pharmacy equipment, help with the maintenance of equipment and supplies
- Manage the cash register
Accurate record keeping is necessary to help avert a potentially dangerous drug interaction. Because many people have medical insurance to help pay for the prescription, it is essential that pharmacy aides efficiently and correctly correspond with the third-party insurance providers to obtain payment.
- Pharmacy aides work in clean, organized, well-lighted and well-ventilated areas.
- Most of their workday is spent on their feet.
- They may be required to lift heavy boxes or to use stepladders to retrieve supplies from high shelves.
- Aides work the same hours that pharmacists work. These include evenings, nights, weekends, and some holidays. Because some hospital and retail pharmacies are open 24 hours a day, aides may work varying shifts. There are many opportunities for part-time work in both retail and hospital settings.
Training, qualifications and advancement
- Most pharmacy aides receive informal on-the-job training, but employers favor those with at least a high school diploma.
- Prospective pharmacy aides with experience working as a cashier may have an advantage when applying for jobs.
- Employers also prefer applicants with strong customer service and communication skills and experience managing inventories and using a computer.
- Aides entering the field need strong spelling, reading, and mathematics skills.
- Successful pharmacy aides are organized, dedicated, friendly, and responsible.
- Candidates interested in becoming pharmacy aides cannot have prior records of drug or substance abuse.
- Teamwork is very important because aides are often required to work with technicians and pharmacists.
- Pharmacy aides almost always are trained on the job.
- To become a pharmacy aide, one should be able to perform repetitious work accurately. Advancement usually is limited, although some aides may decide to become pharmacy technicians or to enroll in pharmacy school to become pharmacists.
- In most cases, benefits are offered only to full time-employees.
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