How to Work in a Pharmacy

Get started in a pharmacy career today and you could begin earning the competitive salary and job benefits you desire.

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Pharmacy Tech vs Pharmacist

The typical allotment of pharmacy jobs available to workers include pharmacist and pharmacy technician at most locations.

Your career starts by becoming a pharmacy tech.

Pharmacy Techs

Pharmacy technicians work behind in-store dispensary counters.

A pharmacy technician retains responsibility for assisting licensed pharmacists with the dispensing of prescription medications to both health professionals and private consumers.

Duties include:

  • patron interaction
  • answering phone calls
  • writing down customer information for prescriptions
  • generally assisting licensed pharmacists
  • Technicians also sort and catalog medicines for easy and efficient access.

Job Requirements
Most employees in such a role typically need to meet only minimum hiring requirements, such as standing at least 18 years of age and in possession of a high school diploma.

In certain states, the regulation of pharmacy technicians may require further post-secondary education or passing of specific examinations.

Most training occurs on the job though additional trainings and certifications may prove necessary after hire. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a positive outlook over the next ten years, with an additional 71,000 jobs expected. Pharmacy technicians typically earn around $16 to 18.00 an hour.

Common Pharmacy Tech Jobs

How Do You Get Started as a Pharmacy Tech?
These are the minimum requirements for the pharmacy tech career path:

  • Need a GED or high school degree
  • Enroll in a pharmacy technician program (typically takes a year)
  • Get certified (pass an exam)
  • Maintain your certfications

You can learn more about becoming a pharmacy tech here.

Next you can apply for local jobs with companies such as:


Pharmacists decipher and fill prescriptions written by doctors and brought in by patients.

The task usually includes consulting formal training received to gain licensure as well as referring to medical dictionaries and drug identification manuals.

Both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians explain possible drug interactions with customers and allergy concerns in addition to directions for usage.

Additionally, a pharmacist may offer proficiency of knowledge in the safe use of such prescriptions, advise how to lead healthier lifestyles, guide health and wellness examinations, and provide certain immunizations.

Where Can Pharmacists Work?
Pharmacists retain career options, as pharmacies may remain available in locations such as:

  • grocery stores
  • drug stores
  • hospitals
  • clinics

A pharmacist may also find ready employment in the military, performing commercial research, and working for the pharmaceutical companies directly.

A four-year professional degree, most commonly the Doctor of Pharmacy degree, remains crucial to attaining a position as a pharmacist, as does proper licensing. Pharmacists may between up to $120,000 to $160,000 a year, depending on differing factors, including area of work, location, and tenure.

Learn about becoming a pharmacist.

Other Pharmacy Jobs

Cashier and stock positions may prove available for entry-level job seekers, as most pharmacies offer retail services, as well.

Store Associate

  • Primarily serving as cashiers and stockpersons with the pharmacy retail chain, customer service representatives generally earn between minimum wage and $9.00 an hour.
  • Job duties include assisting and interacting with customers, replenishing merchandise as needed, unloading deliveries, and taking payments for purchases.
  • Customer service representatives should possess excellent interpersonal skills and strong organizational capabilities.
  • Employees usually work part-time shifts at first and average between 15 and 30 hours on the job each week.

Store Manager

  • Successful managers maintain engaged store teams through demonstration of strong initiative and leading by example.
  • Managers maintain overall supervision of the store, implement company policies, and effectively hire, train, and develop new workers.
  • Customer service should always remain at the forefront of managerial responsibilities, with concentrated focus on strong sales strategies, customer satisfaction, and strong team mentalities.
  • Entry-level associates may receive promotion to management by participating in the company leadership program or management trainee initiatives.
  • Managers should possess a minimum of one year of retail management experience, while holding a college degree may also prove beneficial in the overall hiring process.
  • Assistant store managers typically earn around $60,000 in yearly salary, while store managers enjoy the possibility of earning up to $110,000 a year, depending on store location, tenure, and overall experience.

Job Requirements

Job hopefuls possessing any medically oriented experience, customer service training, and attention to detail gain greater consideration for employment for work in pharmacies, regardless of capacity.

Most pharmacies prefer employees with open availability, as locations often hold late hours of operation.

A high school diploma or the equivalent typically constitutes the educational requirement for pharmacy tech jobs, while pharmacists need college degrees, extensive training, and previous work history prior to employment, in most cases.

Training by supervising pharmacists occurs on the job to assist new-hire pharmacists or pharmacy technicians.

Employers normally only hire applicants 18 years and older.