PHARMACY ASSISTANT DIPLOMA
START A NEW PHARMACEUTICAL CAREER IN ONLY 16 WEEKS
BECOMING A PHARMACY ASSISTANT
Embark on a rewarding career as a pharmacy assistant by enrolling in Heritage College’s Pharmacy Assistant diploma program, Alberta’s only 16-week express program. This comprehensive course covers all the essential knowledge and skills required for a successful pharmacy assistant. Throughout the program, you will gain expertise in various areas, including:
- Compounding, packaging, and labelling pharmaceutical products
- Maintaining accurate prescription records
- Conducting inventories of medications and pharmaceutical products
By completing this course, you will develop the fundamental skills necessary to support pharmacists or pharmacy technicians in the day-to-day operations of both retail and institutional pharmacies. To ensure you are well-prepared for the modern workforce, our program offers hands-on training with the Telus Health Kroll Pharmacy Management System. This training equips you with the technical and medical knowledge needed to excel in pharmacy settings.
As a part of the Express Pharmacy Assistant program, you will have the valuable opportunity to undertake a 3-week workplace practicum in a pharmacy located in your hometown. This practicum provides real-world work experience that is highly sought after by pharmacies today. Additionally, as a graduate of our program, you will benefit from ongoing support from Heritage College’s Career Services department, which includes assistance with job searches, resume and LinkedIn profile reviews, and interview preparation.
Graduates of Heritage College’s Express Pharmacy Assistant program acquire the essential technical and medical knowledge required to effectively contribute to the day-to-day operations of a pharmacy. Throughout this intensive 4-month program, students will:
- Gain practical hands-on experience through laboratory exercises and practicums, including non-sterile compounding and dispensing. This hands-on training ensures students develop the necessary skills to handle medications accurately and safely.
- Study medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology to acquire a solid understanding of the major drug classes used to treat various illnesses and conditions. This knowledge allows pharmacy assistants to effectively assist pharmacists and interact with patients.
- Learn essential mathematical formulas and calculations utilized by pharmacy assistants in their daily responsibilities. Accurate calculations are crucial in areas such as medication dosages and inventory management.
- Explore both institutional and retail pharmacies to familiarize themselves with the unique aspects of each setting. This exposure prepares students for diverse career opportunities in any type of pharmacy.
- Gain a comprehensive understanding of the regulations and laws governing the operation of pharmacies in Alberta. This knowledge ensures graduates can adhere to legal requirements and maintain high standards of pharmacy practice.
Heritage College’s Express Pharmacy Assistant diploma program has two delivery methods:
- In-Class: Either two days a week (weekend option) or four days a week (evening option) at Heritage College’s Northeast Calgary campus.
- Online: Lectures and theory delivered online, with online assessment.
This program combines lectures, visual aides, hands-on learning via practical exercises, projects, exams and group discussions into an accessible learning experience. Validation of knowledge is done through thorough exams, practical tests, projects, and practicum evaluation.
Pharmacy assistants play a vital role in the day-to-day operations of various healthcare settings. Graduates of Heritage College’s Express Pharmacy Assistant program have excellent employment prospects in a range of pharmacy-related environments. They can secure positions at:
- Community Pharmacies: These include independent pharmacies as well as those within retail chains such as Safeway, Loblaws, Shoppers Drug Mart, and Walmart. Pharmacy assistants in community pharmacies assist pharmacists with prescription dispensing, customer service, inventory management, and administrative tasks.
- Healthcare Facilities: Graduates can find employment in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, long-term care centers, and clinics. In these settings, pharmacy assistants support the pharmacy team by assisting with medication preparation, inventory control, and recordkeeping.
- Pharmaceutical Wholesalers: Pharmacy assistants can contribute to pharmaceutical wholesalers by managing inventory, processing orders, and assisting with distribution activities.
- Laboratories: Graduates may also find opportunities in pharmaceutical laboratories, where they can assist with quality control, compounding, and preparation of medications.
Our graduates have found employment at numerous pharmacies, working for Alberta Health Services, community pharmacies, clinics, and businesses such as Safeway, Loblaws, Shoppers Drug Mart and Walmart.
The diverse employment options available to pharmacy assistants highlight the demand for their skills and the integral role they play in the healthcare system. Heritage College’s Express Pharmacy Assistant program equips graduates with the necessary knowledge and practical skills to excel in these positions.
For more information on the career path of a pharmacy assistant, please visit the pharmacy assistant career information page on the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website.
Upcoming Start Dates
June 27, 2023 - Online Mornings
July 8, 2023 - Online Weekends
July 25, 2023 - Online Evenings
August 16, 2023 - Online Mornings
September 12, 2023 - Online Evenings
September 23, 2023 - In-Class Weekends
340 Total Hours
220 Theory | 120 Practicum
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Your education is one of the most important decisions you make in your life. It’s an investment in your future, and it can pay you back in dividends.
At Heritage College, we work with you to ensure you can afford the education you need to transform your life. We have helped many students get financial aid, and our team is ready to help you make the right decisions for your future as well.
Our admissions team will work with you to determine the options that best fit your own personal financial needs and situation. This program is eligible for Canada Student Loans, other forms of government funding, and scholarships. We can advise you on Alberta Student Aid, personal lines of credit, RESPs, and our own in-house student financing. We work with you to ensure you are securely funded before you start your program, so you start your program confident you will be able to see it through to the end.
You can visit our Tuition and Financial Aid page for more information on how we can help you afford your education. Please also visit our Scholarships and Grants Page for information about current financial aid opportunities exclusive to Heritage College students.
The Express Pharmacy Assistant diploma program at Heritage College is an approved Vocational Program licensed by Alberta Advanced Education.
No high school diploma? No problem!
Heritage College does not require a high school diploma for our mature admissions pathway. There is no English proficiency test required for this program beyond our Wonderlic Skills Test and our admissions interview.
Standard admission is for students who have graduated from high school or another educational institute within the past one (1) year.
Applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Applicants must be 18 years of age (for residents of Alberta and Saskatchewan) or 19 years of age (for residents of British Columbia and Manitoba) when they submit their application.
- Applicants must demonstrate minimum academic achievements by submitting one of the following:
- an Alberta high school diploma, verified by transcript
- a non-Alberta high school transcript from another province in Canada
- a General Equivalency Diploma (G.E.D.)
- Applicants must have a current (completed within the previous three months) Police Information Check (PIC). This check must be submitted before admittance to the program. The existence of a criminal record may postpone or prevent fieldwork placements, therefore subsequently affecting a potential student’s successful completion of the program.
- Applicants must successfully complete an interview with the Program Lead, which will determine a potential student’s personal suitability to the program goals and outcomes.
- Applicants must demonstrate a minimum level of computer knowledge and skills.
- Applicants must successfully demonstrate minimum physical wellness and strength requirements (ability to lift and carry 10 kg).
You can find additional information about our admission requirements on our Admissions Page.
Express Pharmacy Assistant diploma program students complete their education with 120 hours of practicum experience at a pharmacy in your hometown. To participate in the practicum, students must satisfy the following prerequisites.
To successfully graduate from the Express Pharmacy Assistant diplomacy program, students must:
What our grads say...
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EXPRESS PHARMACY ASSISTANTCOURSE DESCRIPTIONS
This is only an outline of our Express Pharmacy Assistant Diploma program. For more information about our curriculum, please contact our admissions advisers.
This course introduces students to basic pharmacy theory including drug development, pharmaceutical dosage forms, routes of administration, storage considerations, interpretation of prescription information, and dispensing procedures. Students will also examine the role of the pharmacy technician in the health care setting.
Pharmacy Jurisprudence & Job Ethics
This course teaches students about the federal acts that govern the practice of pharmacy in Canada, including provincial and federal pharmacy legislation and the proper standards of practice a pharmacy team operates under. The purpose of this is for the student to recognize various regulated substances, including Schedule N, Schedule G and Controlled and Targeted substances. Students will also develop an understanding of the legal requirements that must be met with when filling these types of prescriptions. Students will also learn to recognize medications contained in the 4 NAPRA schedule (I, II, II and U-unscheduled) and understand the legal requirements surrounding the sales of each.
In this course, students will be provided with a framework of knowledge, enabling them to recognize drug names and drug classes. Students will also learn to understand drug actions and the rationale for treatment. Focus will also be given to drug side effects, allergic reactions and various health issues relating to pharmacology and drugs.
Pharmacy Computer Applications & Billing
This course will familiarize students with the Kroll pharmacy management software program. The course also covers the topics of prescription filling, drug interaction, third party medical plans and the Alberta Netcare system.
Health Care Communication & Interpersonal Skills
The focus of this course is on developing basic communication skills, especially relating to the medical field. Effective communication assists pharmacy assistants in dealing with the patients they encounter as part of their career. Understanding cultural differences and encouraging diversity can add a new dimension to patient interaction and result in safer healthcare delivery in the pharmacy.
Students will practice different tasks they will be required to perform in this practical work in the pharmacy. In this course, they will be able to submit orders through wholesalers’ portals, receive orders and do other daily on-dispensing tasks.
This course will teach students the different groups of over-the-counter medications and medical supplies, and how they interact within the community pharmacy.
In this course, students will be introduced to dispensing techniques and procedures. The emphasis is on the role of the Pharmacy Assistant in relation to the role and responsibilities of the pharmacist in a retail pharmacy. Students become familiar with the the technical duties of managing a pharmacy so their pharmacist is available primarily for patient care.
Medical Terminology covers the broad base for medical terminology, abbreviations and the systems of the body. Students will learn to build medical words using the key components, which also include the correct pronunciation and spelling of each term. Students also gain an understanding of proper utilization of terms to describe medical conditions and disease states.
This course reviews all aspects of compounding prescriptions. The student will prepare various mixtures, creams and ointments, solutions and suspensions. An emphasis on accuracy and preparation of a pharmaceutically elegant product is included.
Introduction to Hospital Pharmacy
In this course, students will be introduced to hospital pharmacy and the differences compared to community practice. In addition, students will familiarize themselves with different hospital organizations and the roles and relationships of different health care professionals caring for the patient. The legislation governing hospitals will be discussed. The course will also look at drug distribution, including ward stock, unit dose, etc.
This course provides students with an understanding of the pharmaceutical expressions of strengths and dosages calculations for dispensing. Both the apothecaries’ and metric systems of measurement are reviewed as part of this training.
Pharmaceutical Professional Services
This course provides students with an understanding of the structure of pharmacy services in Canada, the laws that govern pharmacy practice and the area of pharmacy ethics. Students will also explore the role of the pharmacy assistant in Canada.
Career & Professional Development
This course focuses on the effective writing of resumes and letter, interview skills and cold calling strategies. Additionally, students will be taught the skills for effective networking and marketing of their skills to potential employers. Students learn valuable interview skills through live role-playing exercises. Upon completion of the course, students will learn how to effectively cold call employers, use the hidden job market, use professional social networking sites, and create a cover letter, thank you letter and reference list, all of which they can then use as part of their career search.