Pharmacy Aides fall into the Conventional Theme Code Category of the Strong Interest Inventory® Test. The Strong Interest Inventory® categorizes careers into six Theme Codes based on the preferences and interests of individuals who complete the assessment. Client interest patterns are compared with professionals’ interest patterns who are already functioning in particular occupations. Their interests are compared and contrasted. This comparison leads to lists of specific careers for the client and can help them choose a career that they may find enjoyable and fulfilling. People who favor the Conventional Theme Code tend to be detail-oriented and focused. They prefer to work in a structured environment in which they have a clear chain of command and specific procedures to apply in the completion of concrete tasks.
Pharmacy Aides assist pharmacists in multiple aspects of customer service, including greeting customers, entering patient information and prescriptions, operating the computer system and answering telephone inquiries. They may also be the first point of medical contact, providing customers with information about the drug effects or interactions. Pharmacy Aides are also responsible for maintaining the pharmacy’s inventory. These responsibilities may include receiving, storing, restocking and tracking all supplies and medications, and ordering new ones as needed. They may also shelve supplies and ensure that all products receive the care they need to maximize their shelf life, including special handling or refrigeration needs. This responsibility can involve operating tablet counting machines, which automatically package pills in numbers required by prescriptions. They also clean and maintain pharmacy equipment and perform other clerical tasks, including maintaining prescription records, and the delivery of medication.
Pharmacy Aides often need to utilize many kinds of tools and technologies to complete their daily tasks. These include automatic packaging and measuring machines for liquid and solid medications, as well as for medical materials like blood sugar test strips or insulin delivery devices. They may also use scales for this application. Additionally, Pharmacy Aides use label making machines, credit card processors, and other kinds of office equipment, such as fax machines, computers, and copiers. In terms of software, they often use database software as well as Microsoft Office Suite, including Word and Excel, though the precise software applications may differ from pharmacy to pharmacy. Computer literacy is extremely important in this career, as are strong communication skills.
The primary knowledge area required of Pharmacy Aides is customer and personal service. Because of their contact with patients, Pharmacy Aides need to be able to meet quality standards for customer satisfaction. For this reason, they also need to be able to communicate proficiently and confidently in English, as well as have strong problem sensitivity. Also, because of the importance of accurate records and databases, Pharmacy Aides need to have a basic knowledge of computers and clerical procedures. A third area is being able to give answers to basic medical questions, so that only more serious or challenging inquiries get through to the pharmacist. Generally, Pharmacy Aides hold a high school diploma, though they may also have completed vocational training or internship as well.
Pharmacy Aides’ salary nation-wide can range from under $20,000 in states like Wisconsin and Alabama, to nearly $40,000 in Alaska. The most highly-paid Pharmacy Aides in Alaska have salaries that near $60,000, while even the lowest-paid Aides salaries are still well over $25,000. This variation is largely due to the demand for the position, as well as the cost of living in a particular locality. The employment rates of Pharmacy Aides is expected to stay somewhat stagnant between 2017 and 2024, with under 100 jobs being added nation-wide within this period. Most of these are concentrated in the growing western states of Colorado, Arizona, Alaska, and Utah. However, each state is projected to add just a few dozen jobs total.
Below are some employment trends for pharmacy aides:
- Median Pharmacy Aides Salary: $11.75 hourly; $24,450 annually
- Employment: 42,000 employees
- Projected growth (2014-2024): little or no change (-1% to 1%)
- Projected job openings (2014-2024): 8,800
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- Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2014-2022 employment projections Onetonline.org