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)

£17,250 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 a pharmacy assistant

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You can learn some of the skills you need for this job by doing:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Retail Skills
  • Level 3 Diploma in Retail Skills Sales Professional

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

Direct application

You can apply directly for job vacancies. Experience of handling cash and serving customers 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

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

Day-to-day tasks

You’ll be:  

  • advising customers about non-prescription items
  • serving customers and making up orders
  • taking payments
  • labelling products
  • re-stocking shelves and display cabinets
  • taking calls from GP surgeries, nursing homes and clinics
  • delivering medicines to wards
  • entering 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

With experience and a qualification like the Level 2 NVQ Certificate in Pharmacy Service Skills, you could become a senior pharmacy assistant.
With further training, you could become a pharmacy technician.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Pharmacy Assistant

  • Wage : £136.50 Weekly
  • Location: HX1 2ES

Pharmacy Services Apprentice

  • Wage : £156.00 Weekly
  • Location: London W6 8JA

Courses In England

certificate in retail skills

  • Start date: 01 July 2020

Certificate in Skills for Retail

  • Start date: 01 November 2020
  • Location: CHESTERFIELD

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