What's the best thing about working as a pharmacy assistant? And what are some of the day-to-day challenges people face in this role?
And the big question: should you take pharmacy assistant training and invest in this career path?
In this post, we're breaking down the top pros and cons of becoming a pharmacy assistant, so you can get a clearer picture of whether this diploma program is right for you.
We'll look at what's involved in training, where you can work after graduation, and what to expect on-the-job once you're out in the field. Let's get started.
Pro: Pharmacy Assistant Training is Really Quick to Complete
This is a major advantage for many students. If you're looking for a quick path to a health care career, pharmacy assistant training is an excellent option.
You can finish a pharmacy assistant diploma in as little as 10 months—including an internship. It will be a very busy 10 months, and you'll be studying full-time, but you'll find the program challenging and fun.
Your courses will cover everything from compounding prescriptions to using the latest pharmacy computer software.
You'll also learn human anatomy, all the different name-brand and generic drugs, and the tasks you'll be responsible for as a pharmacy assistant.
By the end of your 10-month training, you'll be fully prepared to hit the ground running in your first job.
Con: You'll Spend a lot of Time on Your Feet
One of the first things you'll notice once you start working as a pharmacy assistant, is all the time spent on your feet.
Whether you're doing inventory, re-stocking shelves, preparing prescriptions, or serving customers—you'll be standing and moving around a lot. It takes energy and stamina to keep up.
Pro: You'll Make a Positive Impact on People's Lives
Most pharmacy assistants agree that building relationships with regular customers is one of the best parts of this job.
This is especially true if you work at a community pharmacy, where the same clients come in to fill their prescriptions on a regular basis.
You'll get to know each other by name, and these clients will genuinely appreciate how you prepare their prescriptions, check for possible interactions or complications, and ensure they understand dosages and instructions.
Pharmacy assistants are the real "face" of the pharmacy. Compared to the pharmacist, they spend the most time interacting with clients, and making sure their needs are met.
If you've got good customer service skills, and are friendly and compassionate, you're a perfect fit for this role.
Con: Pharmacies Get Busy & You'll Need to Keep Up
Anyone who's worked in a busy retail pharmacy will tell you, the pace can get really intense during peak hours. You'll be rushing to answer phones, deal with clients, prepare medications, and update patient files.
Meanwhile, there'll be inventory to manage, insurance issues to handle, and your supervising pharmacist will need a hand with tasks, too.
On the plus side, you won't get bored! Busy work can be energizing and you'll find your shifts will fly by.
Pros: There's Variety in this Work
Pharmacy assistants split their time between a fairly wide variety of responsibilities.
During a single work day, you could go from preparing IVs, to blending ingredients for creams and ointments, to organizing prescription records, to measuring solutions, to checking on inventory, to helping customers choose over-the-counter pharmacy products.
There's also a difference between working at a retail pharmacy and in a hospital. Retail is customer-focused, while at a hospital pharmacy you'll be interacting more with nurses and doctors.
Pharmacy assistant training will prepare you for either role, and you can choose which work environment is a better fit for you.
Learn More About Pharmacy Assistant Training
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