Working under the supervision of the pharmacist, a pharmacy assistant or technician provides information about medications to patients and healthcare professionals, supplies medications to patients and manages areas of medicine supply. Pharmacy assistants can work in a variety of different settings such as hospitals, prisons and community pharmacies.
Pharmacy technicians play an important role in the healthcare field. In many settings, they are responsible for stocking medications, preparing insurance claims, inventory control and record keeping.
A pharmacy assistant must have strong computer skills, excellent written and oral communication skills and a good eye for detail. He or she also must be able to multitask and enjoy working with people.
Pharmacists prefer to hire someone who has gone to college and excelled in classes such as pharmacology, medical terminology and retail pharmacy practice. previous retail experience may also be desired. Occasionally a pharmacist may hire someone without these qualifications and train them on the job.
Becoming a certified pharmacy technician by taking the appropriate courses will allow a person to earn a greater salary. As of 2013, the hourly salary for a pharmacy technician with less than one year of experience can range from $7 to $13 per hour. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary is around $28,400 per year.