Is Assistant Dispenser a Right Career Choice for You?

Apart from the pharmacists, assistant pharmacist also plays an important role in pharmacy. As usually referred as pharmacy aides, they work under the supervision of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians under various work settings such as retail stores, local pharmacies and hospitals. In community pharmacies, they are called Dispensing Assistants.

Generally, Assistant Dispensers have the major responsibility of checking prescriptions to ensure correct medicines are prescribed to the patients. In addition, they also perform administrative duties and work directly with customers face to face or over the phone.

If you choose to work as a one in the future, you may start earning as soon as you enroll in a college for trainings and education. With the average salary ranging from £11,000 to around £20,000 per annum, you surely won’t be disappointed at all.

A brief preview

As formal education is not required after high school for becoming assistant dispensers, good training and clerical skills can be helpful in doing a pharmacy assistants job effectively. For pharmacy assistant jobs, one must hold GCSEs at grade C as minimum and good standard high school education.

There are certain training requirements required for this learning this type of course. In order to meet them, applicants must take level 2 NVQ Certificate in Pharmacy Service Skills and Pharmacy Science. Later on, this recognised qualification can hold as an added advantage for job application. It normally takes 12 months (1 year) for the completion of this course.

Major responsibilities

Pharmacy assistants must work as part of a pharmacy team under the supervision of a registered pharmacist. Their day-to-day responsibilities include:

  • Dispensing medicines
  • Handling medicine stock lists and labels
  • Ordering medicines and other items
  • Delivering medicines to hospitals
  • Answering to customers’ queries face to face or by phone

Working areas

Pharmacy Assistants can work as assistants to Pharmacists and Pharmacy technicians in different health related workplace. They are hospitals, community pharmacies, local pharmacy stores and various other NHS service providing healthcare institutions.

Pharmacy assistant certification

You will get all the education and service requirements to be an Assistant Pharmacist or Dispenser while you work and train.

GCSEs or equivalent qualifications are very beneficial to stand out amongst the crowd in this competitive world. For being an efficient Pharmacy and Dispensary Assistant, you will have to train for Level 2 NVQ certificate in Pharmacy Service Skills and Pharmaceutical Science, which will help you learn various skills along the way, including:

  • Learning how to deal with the general public
  • Presenting yourself properly in the workplace
  • Learning to work in a team, learning about various health and security issues
  • Learning to use health place IT systems
  • Learning to manufacture various medicines that needs to be tailor made
  • Learning to dispense prescriptions and so on


As a pharmacy assistant, you can expect to earn between £11,458 and £16,135 a year; an average wage of £6.89 per hour mostly, often dependent on your experience and qualifications. If you choose to take your career further and become a pharmacy technician, you can expect to be placed on band five, with earnings between £21,388 and £27,901.

Job markets and vacancies

Various NHS trusts advertise for the jobs related to Pharmacy Assistants and Dispenser Assistants on NHS Jobs[Link to: ]and some on their own websites.

Sometimes prison service and armed forces also advertise for pharmacy assistants. If you choose to work in a hospital, you may be promoted to an administration or supervisory role, where you will manage a particular department over a course of time.

You may also move into the role of a specialist such as clinical technician, if you are interested in working closely with healthcare professionals and patients. If you work as for a local chemist, you may progress into a management role or specialise in sales and marketing.

Why Pharmacy Assistant career is right for you?

If you want to find out whether a pharmacy career is the right move for you, then have a look at these questions below. If you can answer yes to most of them, then this could be your ideal job:

  • Do you enjoy helping people and working for people’s health?
  • Do you like working in a local community?
  • Will you able to work in a hospital or medical environment?
  • Do you have good computer skills?
  • Are you able to explain things clearly to members of public?
  • Do you have a keen eye for detail and accuracy?
  • Are you able to follow procedures and be responsible?

Once you have decided, do hurry up and join this course immediately in the prestigious college offering it.