Similarities and Differences Between Pharmacy Tech and Pharmacy Aide

A pharmacy technician or aide assists a pharmacist in providing patients with medication and other healthcare products. A pharmacy technician is a certified healthcare professional who has formal training and passed a certification exam. They are responsible for preparing, counting, packaging, and labeling prescriptions. 

A pharmacy aide does not require certification and has more basic duties like stocking shelves, organizing medications, and helping customers. Both positions require customer service skills and the ability to calculate and measure medications accurately.

Similarities Between the 2 Roles

Both pharmacy technicians and aides work in pharmacy settings, such as retail stores, medical facilities, and corporate pharmacies. The two roles often have similar work schedules, depending on the type of pharmacy they are employed in. 

Pharmacy techs and aides might work days, evenings, or nights, depending on the pharmacy’s hours of operation. Additionally, both positions may be supervised by a licensed pharmacist and involve working with prescription medications and customers.

Differences in Job Duties

A pharmacy technician and a pharmacy aide both have different responsibilities when it comes to their job roles. A pharmacy technician is more involved with handling prescription medications, aiding customers with their inquiries, and working collaboratively with the pharmacist. While a pharmacy aide’s duties are less complex and more generalized. Nevertheless, each position shares some commonalities in the tasks they carry out.

Daily, a pharmacy technician carries out several different responsibilities. Depending on the state, these may include counting, measuring, mixing, and other preparations of medications. Additionally, they must verify that prescriptions are correct, gather customer information, and enter data into a computer system. Furthermore, they package and label medications, manage customer inquiries over the telephone, and report any questions, drug shortages, or other important information to the pharmacist.

A pharmacy aide’s responsibilities are distinct from those of a pharmacy technician. Tasks for the aide typically include stocking shelves and other storage areas, notifying the supervisor of inventory levels, and logging in deliveries of medication. Additionally, the aide may accept customer prescriptions, operate a cash register, and collaborate with the technician in activities such as preparing prescription labels and responding to customer inquiries.

Differences in Credentials and Salaries

A high school diploma or equivalent is usually all that’s needed to become a pharmacy aide or technician. A few states may require certification, but in most cases, a high school diploma is sufficient. To get ahead, obtaining a certificate or other form of recognition can be beneficial. This may help you stand out from other job seekers and advance your career.

Pharmacy technicians and pharmacy aides both have important roles in the healthcare industry. Pharmacy technicians generally earn slightly more than pharmacy aides, with a median annual wage of $32,700 in 2018. Pay for both positions can vary depending on experience and the setting the person works in. Generally speaking, working in a hospital pays more than working in a retail pharmacy.


Pharmacy technicians and pharmacy aides both play an important role in the pharmacy setting; however, there are some key differences between the two. Pharmacy technicians are responsible for more complex tasks, such as preparing and dispensing medications, while pharmacy aides are mainly responsible for stocking shelves, assisting customers, and other administrative tasks. Despite these differences, both work together to ensure that customers receive the best possible service and that medications are dispensed accurately and safely.

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