Pharmacy Assistant Jobs & Salary

Pharmacy Assistant Jobs and Salary

Without pharmacy assistants, pharmacies wouldn’t operate as smoothly as they do. Not only do pharmacy assistants help pharmacists fill prescriptions, they also answer customer questions, handle payment transactions and ensure the shelves are stocked with the proper over-the-counter medication. 

Pharmacy assistants are valuable in Canada so if you want to learn about pharmacy assistant jobs and salary, you’re in the right place! We’ll review key skills, career progression, salaries, current job postings and the training you need to start your career journey.


First things first:

1. What does a pharmacy assistant do? 

Pharmacy assistants mainly work with customers. They answer medication questions over the phone and in person and also help with third-party insurance claims. Pharmacy assistants will take payments and stock the shelves so they have the proper inventory. 

When they’re not helping customers, they’ll help pharmacists prepare prescribed medication by counting tablets, packaging the medication or labelling bottles.


2. What are some of the key skills you need for the role?  

There are three main skills categories you should master as a pharmacy assistant: customer service, mathematical and medical skills. Let’s dive into these a little bit: 



  • Customer service skills. Since you’re always dealing with customers, having strong communication skills is your key to success. Chances are, you’ll be answering many questions a day and it’s your job to provide the proper information in a friendly and informative way. Sometimes you’ll deal with sensitive or confidential information and you have to be able to handle these situations with respect and clarity.
  • Mathematical skills. As a pharmacy assistant, you’ll be doing calculations every time you prepare prescriptions, so strong mathematical skills are a must. You’ll have to learn short forms and symbols as well as metric and imperial measures. During your day-to-day, you’ll also have to measure and mix liquids, creams and ointments so compounding skills are an asset as well. 
  • Medical skills. It takes a large amount of medical knowledge to have a successful career in the field. You should know the basics of anatomy, physiology and pharmacology including the major drug classes used to treat common diseases. It’s also important to know the difference between Institutional and Community Pharmacy procedures which include drug distribution systems and how to fill prescriptions.



If you take our Pharmacy Assistant Diploma program, you’ll learn all the skills you need to have  a successful career as a pharmacy assistant.


3. What is a pharmacy assistant’s career progression? 

If you want to work in the medical field and are interested in advancing your career as a pharmacy assistant, you have a few avenues to grow your skills. 


Here are some titles you can work towards as a pharmacy assistant: 


  • Pharmacy Technician. Pharmacy technicians have a very similar role to pharmacy assistants—the main difference is added responsibilities. Pharmacy techs have “signing-authority” on new and refill prescriptions, which means they can review the prescription, prepare it and do a final check. The pharmacist will approve it but they can do all other steps independently. Pharmacy techs are also able to accept some verbal prescriptions and make prescription transfers.
  • Pharmacist. If you love working in a pharmacy setting, you can always go back to school and gain extra training to become a pharmacist. There are many post-secondary institutions in Canada that offer pharmacy programs. Pharmacists provide patient consults, direct patients on how to use prescribed medication and also communicate potential side effects and risks. They also collaborate with doctors and other medical professionals to advise and recommend prescriptions for patients. 



If you think you eventually want to become a pharmacy technician, check out our Pharmacy Technician Diploma program page for more information. 


4. What is a pharmacy assistant’s salary? 

According to job search engine neuvoo, the average pharmacy assistant salary in Canada is $42,660 per year. From those surveyed, the average entry-level salary comes in at around $24,000 per year with executive-level positions paying upwards of $56,000 per year. As with most positions, the more experience you have, the more potential there is for salary growth. 


5. What are some of the current job postings in Canada? 

There’s a fair amount of information about pharmacy assistant jobs and salary in Canada, so let’s go over some of the current postings you can find on Indeed:


Pharmacy Assistant at Wilsons Pharmasave – New Minas, NS

This pharmacy assistant role requires two years of experience in the field and prior education. Wilsons Pharmacy requires their pharmacy assistant to know how to use Kroll software, be confident in inputting data and know how to use compliance/blister packaging. Their number one requirement is excellent customer service and communication skills.


Pharmacy Assistant at Red River Co-operative Ltd. – Winnipeg, MB

This is a part-time position for a pharmacy assistant who can work in Red River Co-op’s city food stores. Their list of duties includes, but is not limited to: verify third-party coverage information, verify prescription data, replenish drug storage containers, prepare prescription orders for delivery, manage drug inventory and handle payment transactions. They also mention how “legendary” customer service and communication skills are a must. 


Pharmacy Assistant at Hogan Pharmacy Partners Ltd. – Cambridge, ON

This position is very similar to the other ones listed on Indeed—and also happens to match many of the key skills we highlighted above. Here are some of the tasks you’d be completing as a pharmacy assistant at this location: counting pills, labelling bottles, compounding medication, maintaining electronic patient information and preparing billing information for medications.


As you can see, these pharmacy assistant jobs all require the same key skills: customer service, communication, medical terminology and pharmacology. Now how do you gain these skills? Let’s get into it. 


6. How can you become a pharmacy assistant? 

You can take our 26-week Pharmacy Assistant Diploma program at our Edmonton or Calgary campus. One of the benefits of studying with us at Robertson is you’ll learn from experienced industry instructors in a fully-equipped pharmacy lab setting. You’ll get to use the exact technology that you’ll see in a real pharmacy environment. 

Our pharmacy assistant program will give you theory, lab and practicum training so you’ll be ready to hit the ground running in your new career. You’ll learn about Community and Institutional Pharmacy procedures so you’ll be equipped to work in a variety of pharmacy environments. We’ll also teach you the basic math calculations used in retail and hospital pharmacies and you’ll develop the skills needed to assist pharmacists in filling prescriptions. 


Working in a pharmacy is never boring—you’ll always have a prescription to package, a customer to assist or a shelf to stock. If you have a keen eye for detail, enjoy helping others and like being on your feet, a career as a pharmacy assistant may be a perfect fit for you.

If you have any questions about our program or the job search, reach out to our Student Admissions Advisors. Simply fill out the form with your question and they’ll reach out to you with the information you need to help you get started on your career journey.

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