Retail Pharmacy Assistant

QQI Level 5 Certificate


Pharmacy Retail Assistant, QQI Level 5, 5M2105

Course Outline

The purpose of this award is to enable the learner to develop the relevant knowledge, skill and competence to work independently and under supervision in a range of retail settings and to progress to further or higher education and training.  33 week full time course with 30% on-the-job learning


Course Duration

This is a one year, full time course running from September to May.



Successful completion of this course will result in a QQI Level 5 Certificate in Retail Practice, 5M2105.


Entry Requirements

A Leaving Certificate or equivalent is required, although exceptions are given to mature students who are over 23 years of age. Acceptance to the course is also based on an interview, which takes place a few weeks after applications have been submitted.


Course Content

  • Customer Service 5N0972
  • Database Methods 5N0783
  • Digital Marketing 5N1364
  • Marketing Practice 5N1400
  • Retail Administration 5N1860
  • Retail Display 5N1861
  • Retail Security 5N1777
  • Retail Selling 5N1619
  • Communications 5N0690
  • Work Practice 5N1433

This course also includes an Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) Medicines Counter Assistant Certificate


Careers and Further Progression

On successful completion of this course, graduates will be able to:

  • Assist with the provision of a pharmacy service to meet individuals’ need
  • Ensure they act responsibly to reduce risks to health and safety
  • Contribute to the effectiveness of teams
  • Assemble prescribed items
  • Assist in the preparation of documentation, materials and other items for manufacture and assembly of medicinal products
  • Maintain pharmaceutical stock
  • Assist with the design and creation of an effective shop and window display
  • Contribute to online marketing campaigns
  • Maintain the privacy and security of customer accounts


Once you have applied online you will be called for an interview within a few weeks.  QQI examination fees cost €50, although Medical Card holders are exempt from paying this fee on production of a valid medical card.  Books and essential class materials may also be required.  A €200 Government levy will apply on acceptance of a place on PLC course, but medical card holders and those in receipt of a maintenance grant will be exempt.  There is also a €100 Student Services fee required on acceptance of the course.



Customer Services 5N0972

This module allows Learners to:

  • Examine the principles of customer service within a range of environments
  • Identify the key features of good customer service, to include distinguishing between different kinds of customers, making a good first impression, meeting customer needs, catering for diversity and disability, understanding and responding to customer perceptions
  • Explain the standards or rating system by which customer service is developed and measured in an industry-specific area
  • Identify, for a vocationally-specific area, key elements of consumer legislation and the functions of associated regulatory organisations providing customer protection, representation and redress
  • Explain how customer service enhances organisational effectiveness and success, to include practical examples of organisations with good customer care
  • Describe how customer perceptions can be influenced, to include elements such as the physical environment, printed materials, the personal presentation and conduct of a customer contact person
  • Apply the personal skills, qualities and attitudes required to perform effectively when dealing with customers, to include active listening skills, positive body language and observation of customer behaviour
  • Use appropriate communication technologies to include, telephone, audio visual, conferencing, email and other interactive media  in a range of customer service situations
  • Use written and verbal skills to include appropriate style, language and tone
  • Handle a range of correspondence and records providing a service to the customer, to include orders, invoices, payments, and correspondence made both in writing and electronically
  • Respond to customer complaints and compliments in accordance with organisational policy
  • Handle a range of challenging situations, to include late and unexpected arrivals, customer errors, difficult customers, changing environments
  • Demonstrate team or group work in providing customer care, to include allocation of roles and responsibilities, good communication and feedback, awareness of personal strengths and weaknesses when dealing with customers


Database Methods 5N0783

Learners will be able to:

  • Outline a range of typical uses for databases
  • Describe essential database concepts including database files, tables, records, fields, queries and reports
  • Explain the purpose of query views such as design, datasheet, structured query language (SQL), pivot table, and pivot chart
  • Open an existing database and perform routine operations including accessing records, entering and editing data, adding new records, searching, sorting, and managing fields
  • Retrieve selected data from the table(s) in a database by designing and building simple queries which can be stored for re-use
  • Construct a form to facilitate data entry into a database
  • Create reports which can be used to present selected information from a database in a format suitable for e-mailing or printing
  • Import data from external data sources such as text files, spreadsheets or existing database files
  • Develop a database design including tables, keys, table relationships to meet a given design brief
  • Create a database which includes tables, queries, forms and reports based on a given design brief
  • Improve personal performance by using additional resources such as the help facility to solve familiar and unfamiliar database problems


Digital Marketing 5N1364

Learners will be able to:

  • Outline the unique characteristics of the web as a marketing medium
  • Differentiate digital marketing from traditional marketing practice
  • Identify digital marketing strategies and explain their integration with traditional marketing
  • Outline the stages of analysis, development, implementation and control of digital marketing campaigns
  • Identify e-tools to include social media marketing, blogs, rich media, email marketing, search engine optimization, online advertising and their application to digital marketing campaigns
  • Outline strengths and weaknesses across a range of e-tools
  • Develop customised digital marketing campaigns to include the use of e-tools
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of campaigns using analytical e-tools
  • Plan a digital marketing campaign from inception to completion
  • Choose appropriate e-tools to implement a digital marketing strategy
  • Monitor digital marketing campaigns and use e-tools to include web analytics, social media monitoring and social bookmarking, to measure their effectiveness
  • Demonstrate a range of client management relationship skills to establish and maintain the business-to-business process


Marketing Practice 5N1400

Learners will be able to:

  • Explore the role of marketing in a range of organisations
  • Differentiate between Business to Business and Business and Consumer markets
  • Examine the elements of the Marketing Mix, to include Product, Price, Promotion and Place
  • Explore the stages in the buying and purchasing decision making process for organisations and consumers to include the characteristics and factors affecting buying behaviour
  • Analyse the role of Market Research, differentiating between primary and secondary research and quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • Examine the life cycle of a range of products to include the role of new product development, design, packaging and branding on the marketplace
  • Analyse elements of price setting to include a range of pricing techniques and strategies, competitor pricing and organisational and market conditions in Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), durables and service sectors
  • Explore elements of the promotional mix to include, budget, appropriate mix for different products and services and the effectiveness of different promotional strategies
  • Examine the role of distribution in the marketing mix to include the types of distribution channels and the selection of appropriate distribution channels for a range of products and services
  • Carry out market research applying appropriate techniques and research methodologies
  • Analyse market research results, drawing appropriate recommendations
  • Apply the concept of product life cycle, tracing the life cycle for a range of products
  • Apply an appropriate element of the promotional mix to develop promotional plan for a product or service
  • Conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) analysis
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of marketing strategies for a range of products and or services, including the influence of branding, the pricing strategy, the elements of the promotional mix and the influence of the distribution channel on supplier and end user
  • Develop a marketing plan for a specific product and or service


Retail Administration 5N1860

Learners will be able to:

  • Analyse the key characteristics of a range of business organisation in relation to structure, type and purpose
  • Analyse the key characteristics of a range of retail outlets to include sole trader, multiples, department stores, superstores and co-operatives
  • Explore the impact of the external and internal environment on a retail organisation
  • Analyse current retail legislation and identify key legal responsibilities in relation to employers, employees, contract law and sale of goods
  • Analyse the role of a range of stakeholders associated with the retail sector to include employees, management, supervisors, representatives organisation and regulatory bodies
  • Interpret key terminology and features in relation to retail administration
  • Examine the impact of a range of strategies on an organisations profitability to include training, quality, sources of finance, credit control, stock control, liquidity
  • Evaluate a range of banking services available to a retail organisation
  • Evaluate the characteristics of a range of insurance options available to a retail origination
  • Evaluate the key features of contract law in relation to the retail sector
  • Explain the key principles and characteristics of a stock control system to include administration procedures, stock rotation policies, costing and calculation of re-order levels
  • Analyse the function of a human resources department within a retail organisation
  • Suggest health and safety initiatives aimed at improving safety in a retail administration environment
  • Process a range of business documentation to include quotations, invoices, purchase orders, credit notes, statements, bank documents, delivery notes and cash sales invoices
  • Devise a document control strategy to process a range of tasks to include customer complaints, queries and product returns


Retail Display 5N1861

Learners will be able to:

  • Intepret key terminology and features in relation to display and presentation of products for sale in the retail environment
  • Examine the key principles and theories relating to merchandising and product display design
  • Analyse the characteristics of a range of materials and retail display components available to the retail sector
  • Analyse the impact of a range of factors on the design of a retail display to include customer needs, retail ethics, location, type of goods, stock rotation and retail environment
  • Analyse key legislation in relation to retail display to include public liability, sale of goods and consumer rights
  • Evaluate the use of lighting and background colour in merchandising
  • Discuss the impact of marketing and branding on retail display
  • Analyse the health and safety implications of a retail display
  • Suggest health and safety initiatives aimed at improving safety in relation to a retail display
  • Design a retail display to include appropriate materials and construction
  • Create a thematic display relevant to a specific retail context and product
  • Employ the use of a range of graphics to communicate pricing and offers to customers of a retail outlet
  • Assess the impact of security considerations on the design of a retail display
  • Assess the suitability of various locations within a retail unit for positioning of product displays
  • Suggest suitable display types for a range of retail contexts to include self service, self selection and personal service


Retail Security 5N1777

Learners will be able to:

  • Explain best practice policy and procedures on the management of security within a retail environment to include the protection of store, stock, cash and people
  • Contrast the role and responsibilities of a Retail Security Officer employed directly by a client (inhouse) and the provision of a contract security service
  • State the role and responsibilities, and a range of personal and professional qualities, required of a Retail Security Officer
  • Distinguish between legal codes and practices relating to the role of a Retail Security Officer to include; criminal and civil law, the rights of the individual, Health and Safety legislation and regulations, and Equality legislation
  • Explain what is meant by loss and fraud prevention
  • Explain what is meant by reasonable and necessary force
  • Explain appropriate conflict resolution techniques for dealing with a range of incidents
  • Examine procedures for dealing with breaches of security to include dealing with suspects, robbery and tiger kidnapping
  • Carry out the duties and procedures required of a Retail Security Officer
  • Respond appropriately to security incidents and emergencies
  • Employ appropriate security, fire, health and safety procedures in a variety of settings
  • Select and use a variety of supporting security tools and equipment to support the work of the Retail Security Officer, in dealing with a range of incidents in a variety of security settings
  • Employ appropriate procedures for dealing with a suspect
  • Process daily security reports and reports on security incidents
  • Provide a safe security service, compliant with legislation in a variety of retail settings, and respond to a range of possible scenarios
  • Analyse and reduce potential for loss and security breaches, in a variety of retail settings
  • Use appropriate communications skills and a range of customer service techniques in a variety of situations in the workplace
  • Comply with all procedures involved in the identification of, detention of and processing of a suspected shoplifter


Retail Selling 5N1619

Learners will be able to:

  • Explain the principles and capabilities of a range of technologies currently utilised in the retail sector to include cash registers, bar code scanners, electronic payment units, security devices, and stock control systems
  • Interpret key terminology and trends in retail selling
  • Analyse the impact of a range of factors on a retail environment to include customer loyalty, merchandising, retail ethics, training and communications skills
  • Analyse current retail legislation and identify key legal responsibilities in relation to employers, employees, customers and product manufactures
  • Identify health and safety initiatives aimed at improving safety in a retail environment
  • Analyse the key characteristics of a range of payment options available to customers in a retail environment
  • Analyse the key characteristics of a range of retail environments to include self service, online selling and personal service
  • Employ a range of techniques to identify appropriate opportunities to open or close a sale, to deal with complaints or to present alternative products
  • Employ a range of communication skills in a retail environment to include use of active listening, product demonstration, and customer support techniques
  • Employ secure cash handling techniques when dealing with a range of procedures to include refunds, void sales, vouchers, electronic transactions, payment validation, cheques, floats, product exchange and credit notes.
  • Employ standard procedures to utilise a range of devices currently used in the retail sector to include cash registers, bar code scanners, electronic payment units, security devices, and stock control systems
  • Design a procedure for dealing with an unexpected incidence such as a fire or an injury in a retail environment
  • Contribute to the planning and implementation of effective customer services policies to include returns, cash and carry, delivery and after sales services
  • Take responsibility for the effective handling of customer feedback


Communications 5N0690

Learners will be able to:

  • Analyse a range of current issues in communications and information technology
  • Summarise in practical terms the elements of legislation that must be observed in a personal and/or work context, to include health, safety and welfare at work and communications-related legislation
  • Use appropriate non-verbal and visual communication in personal- and work-related settings, to include one-to-one, in a group/team, and in formal and informal interaction
  • Demonstrate verbal skills appropriate to working under general direction, to include making a case and presenting a point of view in group discussion, formal meetings, interviews
  • Demonstrate listening skills appropriate to working under general direction, to include making eye contact, receiving and interpreting information, control of personal response
  • Use reading techniques appropriate to a task, to include skimming, obtaining an overview, identifying key points, critical evaluation, in depth analysis
  • Critique information from a range of complex written material, to include technical/vocational, personal, literary, and written and visual media texts
  • Research a relevant vocational topic, to include use of primary and secondary sources, acknowledgement of sources, use of enquiry techniques and methods to establish validity and reliability
  • Use drafting, proofreading and editing skills to write a range of documents that follow the conventions of language usage (spelling, punctuation, syntax), to include creative writing, business proposals, correspondence, reports, memoranda, minutes, applications
  • Demonstrate communications styles and techniques relevant to different situations in work and leisure, to include one-to-one and group contexts in conversation, interview, oral presentation, question and answer session and for the purposes of persuading, advocacy and informing
  • Choose the appropriate communications technology to give and receive requests, instructions, suggestions, discussion and feedback in both work and leisure, to include a rationale for choosing one technology over another in different contexts and for different messages


Work Practice 5N1433

Learners will be able to:

  • Summarise the distinguishing features of the organisation, institution or workplace to include its status (public, private, voluntary, other), size, organisational structure, main aims and its overall work, staff client engagement and management practices
  • Comment on current issues, challenges and trends affecting the organisation, institution or workplace, to include as appropriate, local, national, global, economic and social and or ethical issues
  • Summarise the main legislation and regulations relevant to the place of work; to include health, safety and welfare at work, employment, equality and matters related to the specific vocational context
  • Explain the organisation’s internal and external policies and procedures pertinent to own role and role of others
  • Conclude a minimum 2 month work practice placement undertaking a range vocationally specific tasks and activities
  • Select information required for a range of workbased tasks, to include analysis of information and application of knowledge to new situations
  • Work independently carrying out a range of vocationally specific activities and tasks in the organisation, institution or workplace, seeking advice and general direction as appropriate
  • Contribute positively as a member of an organisation or team; maintaining time-keeping, personal presentation, meeting deadlines and adherence to health, safety and other relevant regulations and practice
  • Execute work practice tasks and responsibilities in a professional and safe manner
  • Reflect on personal work practices, to include feedback from supervisor(s) or mentors on personal performance, achievements and challenges
  • Review personal and professional learning to include identifying strengths and weaknesses, learning and career opportunities within the vocational field and within the organisation, institution or workplace


Westport College of Further Education reserves the right to limit the number of places available, make changes in any course or to withdraw the course. No part of this information shall be deemed to form a contract between Westport College of Further Education and the student, or a third party.