Pharmacy Technician Requirements For Ontario,Canada
Ontario is Canada's most popular province for immigrants, and rightfully so--It has Toronto, a hustling, bustling metro that is teeming with life, a vibrant city that has a wide variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds, and job opportunities for almost all industries. However,with overpopulation, the job market has decreased, and competition even for the most entry level job is fierce, Nonetheless, people still choose to live and make Ontario--specifically Toronto--their home.
To be able to work as a Pharmacy Assistant in Ontario, you will need to have at the least one of the following credentials:
- Completion and passing of the PEBC Qualifying Exam and registration with the Ontario College of Pharmacy (for Registered Pharmacy Technicians only)
- A Pharmacy Technician/Assistant Diploma/Certificate from a post-secondary institution (If you want to be a Certified Pharmacy Assistant or Regulated Pharmacy Technician) post-secondary education will most likely guarantee higher wages to start (Shopper's Drug Mart, for example) and in the long run (Safeway Pharmacy, which uses hours of experience and post-secondary education to scale and decide what to offer a starting Pharmacy Technician.)
- Many pharmacies also like to employ internationally trained pharmacists as technicians, with proof of international credentials (transcript or actual diploma.)
- Proof that you are either an international pharmacy student/or a local pharmacy student currently studying at the University of Toronto or University of Waterloo. Most pharmacy owners tend to hire Pharmacy students in their 3rd or 4th year of studies, as they tend to be more well-versed in their knowledge of medications and drug interactions.
- Many pharmacy owners, depending on where you are in Ontario, often accept University and College students who are taking medicine-related programs, i.e., Nursing, Physiology, Pharmacology, Life Sciences.
* Note that depending on the pharmacy hiring manager/pharmacy owner, these requirements may be overlooked based on how well perceived you are as an applicant. For instance, we personally know an internationally trained physician working part-time as a pharmacy technician. While the physician’s educational background does not immediately fit in the same mold as a pharmacist, the individual’s ethnic and religious ties to a former employer helped get the individual hired, as well as his friendly demeanor and the fact that his knowledge about diseases was seen as an excellent asset by the pharmacy owner.
Pharmacy owners also look at these Work-Related Experience as definite assets; some, depending on the scope of work they specialize in, and the volume of prescriptions they do, make hiring decisions solely on these:
- Customer Service Experience: Customers are the life of any business; and the same goes for pharmacies. Good customer service guarantees return clients; as such, pharmacy owners often want techs and assistants who can deliver a great customer service experience.
- Pharmacy Work Experience: Having to train a new employee in a busy pharmacy tends to put a lot of stress on the existing pharmacy staff, and costs labor money and time. Majority of pharmacy owners we have worked for would not even hire someone, regardless of their paper credentials, if they do not have any practical pharmacy work experience.
- Strict Attention To Detail: Although this is a given in the industry, this mostly applies to long-term care pharmacies that incorporate expensive machinery such as PacMed machines or specialty/hospital inpatient pharmacies which often deal with sensitive medications like blood products and compounded injectables.
Finally, some–but not all–pharmacy owners also take these External Factors into consideration when hiring:
- Ethnic/Religious Background: This can both be seen as a positive or negative, depending on the scope of the issue. For instance, an East Indian pharmacy owner may only want to hire East Indian technicians or assistants, because it makes communication in the pharmacy flow smoother and also because they wish to help their fellowmen pursue pharmacy careers. Likewise, a Caucasian pharmacy owner may want to hire a Mandarin or Cantonese-speaking employee if his pharmacy serves a Chinese-Canadian community. There are laws that prohibit and penalize against discrimination, but going through the motions may prove a moot point for the practical job seeker. And besides, there are no laws saying that an employer “must” hire certain individuals. Proceed with caution–if only to guard against rejection–when applying in a pharmacy situated in a predominantly ethnocentric community.
- Sex: Majority of pharmacy technicians and pharmacy assistants are female; sometimes, a male may find it easier to find a job simply because he can’t get pregnant. There has been some instances where the humorously called “pregnancy bug” bites, where female pharmacy techs and assistants often (not intentionally) get pregnant one right after the other; as such, hiring a male backup may prove helpful. At the same time, males may often find it harder to obtain jobs because the majority of pharmacy techs and assistants are female, as such, many pharmacy owners–both male and female–may just be accustomed to having female workers rather than male workers, not because of discrimination but sometimes simply because of habit.
- Personality: If you’ve ever spent a day in a pharmacy, you’d realize that the variety of people that come through the pharmacy counter varies–you can have days when everyone is nice and friendly, and you can have days when patients are screaming and swearing at you. Depending on where the pharmacy is located, the type of clientele that come to that pharmacy often dictate what kind of personality type would fit well in that pharmacy. For example, pharmacies in some inner city problem areas that serve methadone or daily dispense narcotic/controlled substances may need techs and assistants with a more tougher, stronger personality to keep rowdy patients in check; likewise, a pharmacy based near retirement homes may often need a tech or assistant with a sweeter, gentler personality which many senior citizens tend to like.
In any given situation, a mix of these–and more–would dictate what a Pharmacy owner/Pharmacy Manager may be looking for when hiring a Pharmacy Technician or Pharmacy Assistant. Always make sure that you highlight your strengths, based on your credentials, your work experiences, and maybe even use some of the External factors to leverage your profile and get that job.