Medicines Counter Assistant Course

Type of Study
Pharmacy Support Staff
Study Time
12 months
Online Course Cost
£55 (Exc VAT)
Entry Criteria
This course is for those working on the medicines counter in a pharmacy. The learner will require a pharmacist to act as supervising pharmacist during the course.
What's New

Our latest versions of our courses are now fully integrated into the b-Hive online learning platform. Some of the new features include:

  • Online learning on any device allowing learners to study at home, work or on the go
  • Interactive quizzes and content throughout the course
  • Accessibility mode enabling those with additional needs to work through the course online
  • Print friendly - our online courses are optimised for printing, even allowing completion of interactive content using QR codes on a smartphone
  • New online end of module tests with instant feedback
  • New Final Test in our online Test Zone
  • Real-time course tracking in b-Hive Analytics for the supervising pharmacist
Course Overview

The Medicines Counter Assistant (MCA) Course covers communication skills, the classification of medicines, the use of 2WHAM questions, handling prescriptions, abuse and misuse of medicines, referral to the pharmacist and product knowledge covering a wide range of symptoms and complaints encountered in pharmacies. This course is accredited by the GPhC to meet the minimum training requirements for medicines counter assistants.

How will this course benefit me?

This course develops confidence at the medicines counter and provides in-depth product knowledge and advanced communication skills, which will provide a strong foundation for a knowledgeable and professional medicines counter assistant.

How is the course delivered?

All our courses are delivered by blended learning, via the b-Hive learning system. The course comprises 11 modules, end-of-module quizzes to assess knowledge, Virtual Pharmacy tasks to assess competence, activity books to be signed off by the supervising pharmacist and a Final Test administered under exam conditions.


As well as online access to results and our FAQ section, learners can talk to dedicated tutors year-round, including at evenings and weekends, via our out of hours helpline. In addition, learners are supported throughout their course by a supervising pharmacist who is nominated on enrolment to review and invigilate work based activities and assessments, ensuring the learner is competent in the workplace. To aid them in this role the supervising pharmacist will have access to the b-Hive Learner Analytics dashboard through which they can easily filter and view the progress and expected progress of their learner(s). This dashboard will display real-time data to provide a snapshot of whether a learner is on target or requires further support on a particular area of the course.

The Course Content
Module 1
Your Role as a Medicine Counter Assistant

This module focuses on medicines classification and protocols for questioning customers at the counter, along with how to work safely in the pharmacy and protect the public.

Module 2
Handling Prescriptions

An extremely important part of the medicines counter assistant’s role is to facilitate the supply of prescription medicines in the correct way. This module provides all the detail on how to do this and what a prescription is all about.

Module 3
The Wider Role of Pharmacy

This module covers the different ways the NHS has chosen to utilise pharmacies for roles other than just the traditional dispensing of medicines.

Module 4
Pain and Analgesia

This module is about pain, outlining the common minor ailments causing it, along with drug treatments available to treat it.

Module 5
Coughs and Colds

This module covers coughs and colds, their symptoms, treatments, the questions to ask and advice you should be giving, as well as reasons to refer.

Module 6
Gastrointestinal Problems

This module covers gastrointestinal problems, their symptoms, treatments, the questions to ask and advice that should be given, as well as reasons to refer.

Module 7
Travel and Summer Health

Covers the medicines required by travellers, both to treat and prevent disease.

Module 8
Ears, Eyes and Mouth

This module is about problems of ears, the eyes and mouth, their symptoms, treatments, the questions to ask and advice that should be given, as well as reasons to refer.

Module 9
Skin, Hair and Feet

This module is about problems associated with skin, hair and feet, their symptoms, treatments, the questions to ask and advice that should be given, as well as reasons to refer.

Module 10
Women’s Health and Men’s Health

This module covers some minor ailments suffered by specific genders, how to treat them effectively and when to refer.

Module 11
Healthy Lifestyles

The MCA has an important role to play in promoting wellbeing and healthy lifestyles to the public. This module covers some of the healthy messages and advice that should be given to patients.