Pharmacy and other dispensing assistants


Average Annual Pay

Annual Survey of Hours and Earning 2018


Average Weekly Hours

Annual Survey of Hours and Earning 2018


Unemployment Rate

Labour Force Survey 2018

Future employment projections (Working Futures UK)


Pharmacy and other dispensing assistants work under the supervision of pharmacists or other relevant health professionals to dispense drugs and medicines, issue pre-packaged prescriptions, sell over-the-counter medication, dispense spectacles and contact lenses and other related products.


Entrants usually possess GCSEs/S grades. Training is typically received on-the-job, supplemented by study towards vocational qualifications. NVQs/ SVQs are available in relevant areas and at various levels, and apprenticeships may be available.

Typical tasks

  • checks received prescriptions for legality and accuracy and confirms patients’ or customers’ details;
  • maintains records of prescriptions received and drugs issued;
  • checks stock levels, rotates stock, orders new stock from supplying companies and ensures that products are stored appropriately;
  • arranges displays of merchandise;
  • relays information to customers under the direction of pharmacist or other health professional;
  • carries out sales transaction, wraps and packages goods.

Common job titles

Assistant, dispensing, pharmacy
Assistant, dispenser's
Assistant, optometrist’s
Assistant, pharmaceutical (retail chemists)
Assistant, care, health (retail chemist)
Assistant, dispensing (opticians)
Adviser, healthcare (retail chemist)
Assistant, dispensary
Assistant, dispensing
Adviser, optical
Assistant, pharmacy
Assistant, shop, chemist’s
Assistant, sales (retail pharmacy)
Assistant, optical
Assistant, counter (chemist)
Adviser, sales, optical
Assistant, pharmacist's
Assistant, counter (pharmacy)
Officer, technical, assistant (pharmacy)
Assistant, optician's
Dispenser, chemist
Assistant, counter, pharmacy
Assistant, counter, medicines
Assistant, dispensing, optical
Assistant, chemist's
Assistant, lens, contact
Assistant, chemist's (retail trade)
Assistant, healthcare (retail chemist)

Education background

Destination of Leavers survey, supplied by the Higher Education Statistics.