If you are looking for a new career that involves working in a team, helping and caring for others, and working in a clean, professional working environment, then you may want to look at a career as a Pharmacy Assistant. And, as you might have guessed, a Pharmacy Assistant Diploma is your way in.
What Is a Pharmacy Assistant?
We’ve all met a Pharmacy Assistant. They’re the people who help you look for a particular over-the-counter medicine, cold remedy, or upset stomach product. They are usually very helpful and try to understand exactly what it is you need, eager to assist you to make sure you find and choose the right medication - and do so with a smile on their face.
What Do Pharmacy Assistants Do?
Pharmacy Assistants play a critical role in supporting the smooth operation of pharmacies, working in a team with other staff, and taking the pressure off the Pharmacists by helping customers find what they need.
Whether it’s out in the aisles with customers, behind the tills collecting payment, or working behind the scenes with the Pharmacists, the Pharmacy Assistant fulfills a key role at your local community pharmacy.
In addition to patient care and customer service, Pharmacy Assistants also assist in the preparation of medications, manage inventory and carry out administrative duties, such as preparing invoices, coordinating call-backs and updating patient and doctor information. For more on these duties, have a look at ‘The Duties & Responsibilities of Pharmacy Assistants.’
Why You Should Get a Pharmacy Assistant Diploma
Canada has approximately 42,500 licensed pharmacists working in more than 10,000 pharmacies. Of those, about 70% work in community pharmacies. All of these Pharmacists need multiple Assistants to support them. Pharmacy Assistants are in-demand, and that demand keeps growing. But how do you stay competitive on your job application? If you want to join this group, you’ll need to stand out.
Pharmacy employers favour those who have completed a formal and standardized training program. And Colleges are the foremost providers of Pharmacy Assistant training in Canada.
What Pharmacy Assistant Courses to Look for in a Program
College Pharmacy Assistant Diploma programs should include key courses, such as:
- Anatomy & Physiology
- Pharmacy Calculations
- Community & Institutional Procedures
- Health & Ethics
In addition, you will want your program to include basic technology skills, such as Microsoft software, as well as programs specific to the pharmacy industry, such as KROLL, to record patient data and manage prescriptions. Moreover, a Diploma also includes courses that train students on soft skills, which include a lot of people skills.
Look for a Program with a Practicum
Practicums complete your Diploma education. When researching Colleges, focus on the ones that offer a practical work practicum experience.
Work experience in a pharmacy provides students with a real-life understanding of the duties and responsibilities of a Pharmacy Assistant, as well as actual work experience to add to their resume before they graduate!
Is Pharmacy Assistant Difficult?
So, after now learning more about a Pharmacy Assistant career and thinking it may be a good fit for you - what do you need to get into a program?
The entrance requirements for getting into a College Pharmacy Assistant program are not overly onerous. For many College programs, the biggest requirement is to write and pass the College entrance assessment.
Regardless of whether you were an “A” student in high school or instead had difficulty in completing high school for various reasons, your ability to get on the path to becoming a Pharmacy Assistant is at hand.
Inquire at several Colleges to find out the details of their programs, whether there is a practicum - and make sure their program is eligible to secure student loan funding. If they check all of your boxes, take the entrance assessment and decide where to go from there.
How Many Years Does It Take to Complete Your Pharmacy Assistant Courses?
At some Colleges, Pharmacy Assistant Diplomas can stretch to 2 years’ worth of courses as they include courses not related to becoming a Pharmacy Assistant. Other Colleges offer expedited programs that provide courses solely on what is needed and provide students with the skills and knowledge they need in less than a year.
Sundance College’s Pharmacy Assistant Diploma program is completed in forty-three weeks and includes a workplace practicum in a pharmacy. Our Career Services team prepares students for the work world with mock interviews, resume preparation, job search skills and more.
If you’re on the fence about doing a diploma, have a look at our Google Reviews to see what our Pharmacy Assistant students and Graduates had to say about their experience at Sundance College.
By the way, that’s another key research tool for you to take advantage of when you’re considering which College to attend. For more information, have a look at The Importance of Google Reviews When Choosing a College.