As our population grows and ages, there is a vital need for trained professionals to provide pharmacy-related assistance. This program trains students to become knowledgeable and skilled pharmacy assistants. Theory is taught in class and practiced in the laboratory. A 160-hour retail fieldwork practicum completes the training. The pharmacy assistant is responsible for receiving prescriptions, preparing drugs, undertaking clerical and computer duties, managing inventory and providing customer service.
Pharmacy assistants must always work directly under the supervision and guidance of the pharmacist and/or pharmacy technician. They allow the pharmacist to spend more time with the client in his or her care.
In this five-month certificate program, students spend approximately 16 hours per week on campus in theory-based courses and laboratory practice. Course content in the first semester includes pharmacy concepts, pharmaceutical calculations, body systems and pharmaceutical implications and order processing, as well as professional standards and workplace communications. In the second semester, students complete their practicum in a community retail pharmacy to gain competency integrating theoretical knowledge with dispensing practice and customer service.
Students must have a personal computer and access to the Internet. Most classes are taught at SAIT, but some require online access. All courses require additional self-study.
Graduates may work in community-based retail pharmacies. Opportunities also exist in hospital pharmacies and long-term care facilities as pharmacy assistants.
Students with higher secondary or post-secondary marks usually experience greater success in SAIT’s programs.
Students who experience success in this program have effective communication skills in English.
Pharmacy assistants are detail oriented in the care they provide and enjoy working in a team environment.
As keyboarding and basic computer skills are not taught in this program, students are expected to be proficient in these areas prior to admission. We strongly recommend that the student have a typing speed of 35 wpm or better.
Credentials and Accreditation
After successfully completing this program, graduates will receive a SAIT Pharmacy Assistant certificate.
There are no formal accreditation arrangements at this time. Please contact the department for more information.
Students must attain a PGPA and/or a CGPA of 2.0 or better in each semester and pass the necessary prerequisite courses to progress through the program. To qualify for graduation, students must pass all courses, attain a CGPA of 2.0 or better and complete course requirements within the prescribed timelines.
Completion of the following courses or equivalents with an overall average of at least 60%:
- Math 30-1 or Math 30-2 or Pure Math 30 or Applied Math 30, AND,
- English Language Arts 30-1 or English Language Arts 30-2.
- All applicants must demonstrate English Language Proficiency prior to admission, including students educated in Canada.
This is a 19 week certificate offered over the Fall/Winter semesters or Winter/Spring semesters.