Mar 02, 2024  
PUBLISHED 2023-2024 Credit Catalog 
PUBLISHED 2023-2024 Credit Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Pharmacy Assistant

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Program Description

Learn to prepare prescriptions, manage inventory and be the first point of contact in assisting customers at pharmacies. As our communities grow and the population ages, there is a vital need for trained assistants to support pharmacies.

In this program, you’ll train to support pharmacy operations and staff in addressing the health needs of diverse populations. Through theory-based and hands-on laboratory learning, you’ll gain professional skills to prepare you to work under the supervision of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

In your first semester, you will practice pharmaceutical calculations, pharmacotherapy, order processing and clerical functions. You’ll also learn about compounding and inventory management. In your second semester, you’ll gain real-world experience. You’ll have the opportunity to apply your professional communication skills and practice your theoretical knowledge during a community pharmacy practicum.

Program Overview

Fast Facts

  • Students are responsible for any additional expenses related to their practicum, including pre-practicum requirements as outlined by the program, and relocation costs to practicum sites outside of Calgary
  • Students require a personal computer with Internet access in order to complete the required courses
  • The Pharmacy Assistant software used in this program is not compatible with Apple products

All courses must be completed within the program completion timeframe. Please be advised that for the purpose of student loans, full-time student status requires that learners are enrolled in a minimum of 60% of a full course load per semester.

Your Career

Graduates of this program may find employment as Pharmacy Assistants in public, private, and community-based organizations and businesses. These may include but are not limited to community-based pharmacies, hospital pharmacies, and long-term care facilities.

Student Success

Job expectations for success in this profession include:

  • Fine motor skills
  • Effeective communication (speaking, reading, writing, and listening)
  • Able to work independently
  • Able to work with others
  • Adaptable
  • Able to work well under stress
  • Able to use technology
  • Attention to detail
  • Able to maintain professional behaviour; emotional self-regulation
  • Able to work extended hours, including nights and/or weekends, and shift work
  • Able to assist in transporting, lifting, and positioning of patients and/or equipment
  • Able to meet the physical demands of the job
    • Spend most hours working on your feet, walking, repetitive bending, repetitive tasks
    • Able to use hand, wrist, and arm for prolonged periods of time
  • Able to type at 35 wpm in the English language, with high accuracy

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to refer to the ALIS website for career, learning, and employment information for Pharmacy Assistants for more information on this profession.


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.

Admission Requirements

Completion of the following courses or equivalents with an overall average of at least 60%:

  • Math 30-1 or Math 30-2, 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.

Program Outline

Total Credits 24

Program Overview - Spring Intake

The Spring semester intake of this program is targeted towards students outside of Calgary and the surrounding area. In this intake, students will attend their lectures online, laboratories on-campus, and subsequently complete a practicum placement. In order to accommodate students with significant distance to travel, on-campus lab days will be scheduled in groups of four to five consecutive days, and occur approximately once per month.

Practicums will be arranged outside of the Calgary area, in collaboration with SAIT’s partner pharmacies. Though location is not guaranteed, students are encouraged to consider an ideal practicum location, and should consider that there is a high demand for pharmacy assistants in Edmonton and the surrounding area.

Program Outcomes

  1. Safety: Maintain patient safety at all times.
  2. Professional and Personal Development: Demonstrate professional conduct in all interactions as a pharmacy assistant.
  3. Professional Communication: Demonstrate professional written, verbal, and nonverbal communication.
  4. Collaboration: Use effective and respectful interpersonal skills in all settings.
  5. Critical Thinking: Use critical thinking, problem solving and decision-making skills appropriate to the role
  6. Regulations and Ethics: Apply the legal and ethical requirements of a pharmacy assistant.
  7. Technical Skills: Demonstrate best-practice technical skills for a pharmacy assistant.
  8. Professional Development: Commit to lifelong learning.

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