Types of Pharmacy Jobs

There are many different employment positions in a pharmacy depending on the size of the operation. Some small pharmacies are practically a one man operation with a pharmacist tending to customers, dispensing medication and handling the cashier till. Most pharmacies though need at least 4 employees – a pharmacist, a dispensary assistant, front shop salesperson and the cashier.

Jobs for Pharmacists

A pharmacist is a highly skilled medical professional with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and years of practical experience. There is no shortage of jobs for pharmacies both locally and abroad. Some pharmacists may opt to start their own business by opening a pharmacy while others will locum or work for a hospital or clinic dispensary.

Jobs for Pharmacy/Dispensary Assistants

A dispensary assistant is often a well trained and experienced person who is familiar with modern drugs and the pharmacy operation. There are short courses and correspondence training programs for pharmacy assistants but it is not uncommon for pharmacists to train a trusted employee to become an assistant with no formal qualification.

Dispensary assistants cannot dispense medication. Their sole function is to assist the pharmacist in the daily operation of the dispensary. Apart from handling medication, a dispensary assistant should also be familiar with medical aids and computer software for submitting medical aid accounts. A keen eye for detail is also essential to ensure that prescriptions are properly filled out and stock is adequate so as not hamper the pharmacist’s duties.

Front Shop and Cashier Pharmacy Jobs

The front shop assistant handles customers and monitors stock on the pharmacy shelves. These are OTC (over-the-counter) medication which are not scheduled, multivitamin and nutritional supplements, herbal products and toiletries.

Apart from assisting customers, the front shop assistant has to double up as the salesperson and sometimes even the cashier as well. Promoting front shop items that are on sale, advising customers and completing till transactions may all be part of the front shop assistant’s duties. A qualification is not necessary but assistants with years of experience in the industry are usually better positioned for a pharmacy job.

Finding unskilled or semi-skilled work in a pharmacy depends a lot on experience. If you have a qualification then this is an advantage. With more pharmacy chain stores and dispensaries in supermarkets now opening up, pharmacy jobs are becoming more widely available.

Jobs in Pharmacies in South Africa

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