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Pharmacy Technician/Assistant Job Requirements for Alberta,Canada

Updated on June 17, 2013
Me as a Pharm Assistant
Me as a Pharm Assistant

What Do I Need To Work In Alberta As A Pharmacy Technician/Pharmacy Assistant?

To be able to work as a Pharmacy Assistant in Alberta, 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 ACP (for Registered Pharmacy Technicians only)
  • A Pharmacy Technician/Assistant Diploma/Certificate from a post-secondary institution.
  • 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 Alberta.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 Alberta, often accept University and College students who are taking medicine-related programs, i.e., Nursing, Physiology, Pharmacology, Life Sciences, due to the small populations--and less trained people available to work--of many of Alberta's small town and county communities.

* 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.

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.
  • Sex: 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.Likewise, many pharmacy owners want to hire males because, as one pharmacist put it, "you can't get pregnant, thus I won't be worried about you taking a year off."
  • Personality: 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 problem areas that serve certain drugs or daily dispense narcotic/controlled/anti-psychosis drugs may need techs and assistants with a more tougher, stronger personality to keep rowdy, unmedicated 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.

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