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Pharmacy assistant

Alternative titles for this job include Chemist’s assistant, dispensing assistant

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

Average salary (a year)

£16,000 Starter


£21,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a pharmacy assistant

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • a trainee position
  • applying directly


You can learn some of the skills you need for this job by doing a college course. Courses include:

  • Level 2 or 3 Certificate in Retail Skills

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More Information


You can get into this job through a pharmacy services assistant or retailer intermediate apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More Information


You may be able to get a trainee position in a pharmacy. You could combine work with 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 job vacancies. Experience of customer service will be helpful.

Employers will expect you to have good reading, number and IT skills. They may ask for GCSEs.

More Information

Further information

You can find out more about working as a pharmacy assistant from Health Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • the ability to read English
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role, you could:

  • advise customers about non-prescription items
  • serve customers and make up orders
  • take payments
  • label products
  • re-stock shelves and display cabinets
  • take calls from GP surgeries, nursing homes and clinics
  • deliver medicines to wards
  • enter medicine data on computerised dispensing systems

Working environment

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

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience and a recognised qualification, you could become a senior pharmacy assistant, supervisor or manager.

With further training, you could become a pharmacy technician.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Pharmacy Assistant

  • Wage: £7,503.60 Annually
  • Location: MANCHESTER

Pharmacy Assistant Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £7,503.60 Annually
  • Location: LONDON

Courses In England

Retail Certificate Level 1

  • Start date: 04 September 2023
  • Location: Leicester

CGLI L1 Cert in Retail Skills

  • Provider: NCG
  • Start date: 04 September 2023

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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