Dispensary Assistant

Dispensary assistants help pharmacists order, prepare and dispense medicines.

Pharmacy assistants work as part of a pharmacy team under the direction of a registered pharmacist.


  • taking in and handing out prescriptions
  • dispensing prescriptions
  • using computer systems to generate stock lists and labels
  • ordering items
  • receiving, loading, unloading deliveries
  • selling over-the-counter medicines
  • answering customers questions face to face or by phone
  • pre-packing, assembling and labelling medicines
  • preparing medicines
  • referring problems or queries to the pharmacist

It would be an advantage if you have worked in a customer service role.

Pharmacy assistants work as part of healthcare teams in hospitals or community pharmacies. Some work in retail pharmacies in supermarkets or on the high street, or for other employers that provide NHS services.

Entry requirements: 

There are no set entry requirements to become a pharmacy assistant. Employers usually expect good literacy, numeracy and IT skills. They may ask for GCSEs or equivalent qualifications.

Employers often ask for relevant work experience. Even where this is not specified, it would be an advantage if you have worked in a customer service role.

Pharmacy assistants need to be: 

  • accurate and methodical
  • responsible
  • able to pay attention to detail
  • able to understand law and guidelines on medicines
  • able to read and carry out instruction
  • to be interested in people’s health
  • able to explain clearly to members of the public
  • They’ll also need excellent communication, customer service, IT and manual skills.

Training and development: 

You will be given the training you need to be a member of the pharmacy team. This includes health and safety, use of IT systems, manufacturing medicines and dispensing prescriptions.

You may be offered the chance to study for qualifications such as:

  • NVQ level 2 in pharmacy service skills
  • BTEC level 2 in pharmaceutical science