Pharmacy Technician

A pharmacy technician works with the pharmacist for preparation of drugs, provides customer service and answers to the customer in the store or over phone, manages the inventory, updates and follow-up patient files with medicine information, and manages insurance claims and other billings.

This job requires both clerical skills, customer service, and certain pharmaceutical knowledge and technical skills. A pharmacy technician needs understand doctor’s prescription, calculate the dosages, preparation of compound drugs, communication between doctors, pharmacists, and patients often over phones, and explaining the medicinal products to the patients/customers. They basically mix and prepare ointments, creams. lotions, make pills/tablets or suspensions from powdered drug, and other medications under the supervision of pharmacists.

Difference between pharmacy technician and assistant:

Unlike assistants, pharmacy technicians have an authority of signing on new prescriptions and refills.

Pharmacy technicians need to be certified by respective provincial college of pharmacists (e.g., Alberta College of Pharmacists, Ontario College of Pharmacists, etc.) following exam. In contrast, pharmacy assistants do not need any certification, usually a certificate/diploma program is sufficient.

The length of the pharmacy assistant programs (~6 months) are shorter than pharmacy technician ones (~1 year).

Hourly Range

$15.00 – $24.00

Minimum Education

Certificate or Diploma

ACSAP
Other medical technologists and technicians (except dental health) (3219)
For both pharmacy assistant and technician: A certificate or diploma from a training program approved by the provincial college of pharmacists is required. For pharmacy technician:
  1. Successful completion of a structured practical training program for pharmacy technicians, and
  2. Successful completion of examinations approved by the council
Pharmacy technician: $17-$24 per hour Pharmacy Assistant: $15-$19 per hour In case of provincial government/hospital run pharmacies, the wages might be higher around $25-30/hour.
Low Employment outlook is good to fair in most provinces. More information are available here.
Depending on the size and nature of the organization, experienced pharmacy technicians may advance to supervisory positions.
350 hours or completion of a 2-month practicum
Programs for pharmacy technicians are available at Bow Valley College, Robertson College, or NorQuest College
Communication skills; ability to work independently; flexibility; interpersonal skills
Pharmacy Technicians find employment in hospitals, community, retail, medical clinics, and long-term care pharmacy practice settings Most positions are part-time. Full-time opportunities are limited Pharmacists are the employers/managers of pharmacy technician/assistants at large. Sometimes, a pharmacist may prefer pharmacy assistants over pharmacy technicians due to not being comfortable with pharmacy technician checking prescriptions.
To become competent for getting a job as a pharmacy technician usually following steps need to be followed:
  • Pre-register with the provincial college of pharmacists
  • Complete an approved pharmacy technician program from any college
  • Obtain a Structured Practical Training as your province suggest (e.g., Alberta, Ontario, etc.)
  • Clear the provincial Jurisprudence Exam (e.g., Alberta, Ontario, etc.)
  • Clear the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada qualifying exam (part 1 and 2) for pharmacy technicians
  • Apply for the certificate of registration as a pharmacy technician