Medicines counter assistant training

Anyone working in a pharmacy who supplies medicine as part of their role must undertake an accredited medicines counter assistant course.

A medicines counter assistant (MCA) is involved in the sale of over-the-counter medicine and works under the supervision of a pharmacist. A medicines counter assistant is trained to offer advice on common ailments and must know when to refer a customer to a pharmacist.

Medicines counter assistants must complete an accredited medicines counter assistant course, or the relevant units of a GPhC-recognised dispensing assistant or pharmacy technician course.

The length of the course varies between programme providers, however, as a guide, the course is normally between three and six months in length. The GPhC requires that a medicines counter assistant has completed training in a maximum of three years.

For more detailed information on the GPhC's training requirement for those who work on the medicines counter please see the relevant policy below:

GPhC policy on minimum training requirements for dispensing assistants and medicines counter assistants (unregistered staff) 

Entry requirements

To train as a medicines counter assistant you first need to be employed, either full-time or part-time, in a pharmacy. The reason for this is that the training is vocational. You will be required to demonstrate that you can put the knowledge you acquire into practise.

The course is delivered through distance learning, with course providers offering online or paper-based learning options.

You will not normally need to meet any minimum qualification requirements to undertake the programme, however, entry requirements are determined by the individual course provider, so please check this with your chosen provider.

Accredited medicines counter assistant training programmes

You can find details of the accredited training providers of medicines counter assisant programmes together with the latest accreditation reports.

For further information on the accreditation of these programmes please see Approval process for education and training providers.