Pharmacy Assistant Program, Training and Certification

Pharmacy Assistant Program, Training and Certification

Pharmacy assistants play an important role in the medical field. They work with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to ensure patients receive the proper dosage of medication and are taken care of when they visit a pharmacy.

Read on to learn more about our pharmacy assistant program and the courses you’ll take, skills you’ll develop and the practicum and employment opportunities available to you.

But first, let’s talk a bit more about the role.


What do pharmacy assistants do?

Pharmacy assistants play an integral role in retail and institutional pharmacies. They mainly work with customers but also do some things behind the scenes. Pharmacy assistants communicate with customers and answer their questions over the phone and in person, as well as handle payment transactions and stock shelves with over-the-counter medication.

When they’re not helping customers, they’ll help pharmacists prepare prescribed medication by counting tablets or pills then packing and labeling them. Pharmacy assistants can also help patients handle third-party insurance claims.


What will you learn in the pharmacy assistant program?

You can take our 26-week pharmacy assistant program at our Edmonton or Calgary campus. One of the benefits of studying with us at Robertson is you’ll learn from experienced industry instructors in a fully-equipped pharmacy lab setting. You’ll get comfortable using the exact technology that you’ll see in a real work environment.

Our pharmacy assistant program will give you theory, lab and practicum training so you’ll be ready to hit the ground running in your new career. You’ll learn about Community and Institutional Pharmacy procedures so you’ll be equipped to work in a variety of pharmacy environments. We’ll also teach you the basic math calculations used in retail and hospital pharmacies.

And that’s not all—you’ll gain extensive knowledge in basic human anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, and medical terminology so you’ll be able to identify the major drug classes used to treat different medical conditions. The combination of theoretical and practical training will set you up for success as you enter the workforce as a pharmacy assistant.


What types of courses will you take?

In our pharmacy assistant program, you’ll take a mix of customer service, mathematical and medical courses to give you a well-rounded knowledge of pharmacy procedures.

Let’s have a look at some of the courses that fall within these categories:


1. Customer Service

Communication and Interpersonal Skills – 40 hours

This course will teach you proper ways to communicate with patients, especially when the topic is sensitive or you’re delivering confidential information. You’ll learn tips to communicate with fellow pharmacy personnel, other healthcare professionals and customers.


Career Preparation – 20 hours

This course falls under customer service because it will help you build your communication skills in a different context. Career Preparation will cover techniques for job searching including how to write a strong resume and cover letter, update your LinkedIn profile and perform well in an interview.


2. Mathematical

Introduction to Computers – 40 hours

In this course, you’ll learn about computer programs you will use in your day-to-day as a pharmacy assistant. You’ll get a refresher on Microsoft Office including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint so you can learn how to format documents and structure a strong presentation.


Pharmacy Calculations – 60 hours

As a pharmacy assistant, you’ll be doing calculations very frequently so this course is incredibly important. You’ll learn the calculations needed to prepare a prescription including short forms, symbols, metric measures and imperial measures (and their conversions).


Compounding – 20 hours

Our compounding course will teach you how to mix extemporaneous pharmaceutical solutions—or in simpler terms, liquids, suspension, creams and ointments. You’ll learn the proper calculations and techniques for weighing, measuring and maintaining accurate records.


3. Medical

Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology – 80 hours

This course will teach you the basics of human anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology. You’ll learn more about medical terminology, pharmacology, and the breakdown of drug classes used to treat common diseases. The information you’ll learn in this course will help you when you work with different prescriptions and drug types.


Institutional Pharmacy Procedures – 40 hours

In this course, you’ll learn the basic skills needed to work in an institutional pharmacy setting including drug distribution systems as well as policies and procedures for handling and dispensing medication in this environment.


Community Pharmacy Procedures – 100 hours

This course is very hands-on and teaches you how to fill prescriptions from start to finish. You’ll learn how to translate Latin abbreviations, prepare labels, calculate proper medication quantities and maintain accurate patient profiles. We’ll also teach you how to use retail software for filling prescriptions.


What is the practicum like?

When you take our pharmacy assistant program, you’ll get to partake in a 4-week practicum at the end of classroom learning. You’ll get placed in a pharmacy setting and get to work alongside industry professionals while applying the new skills you learned in class. This is an excellent opportunity to work hands-on in a real-world pharmacy environment.

A career as a pharmacy assistant is truly rewarding. You get to help people every day and there’s always something different to do. If you’re interested in medicine and like hands-on work, our pharmacy assistant program may be a great fit for you.

If you’d like more information on our program, visit the program page. If you have any questions about resume building or the interview process, our Student Admissions Advisors are here to help. Simply fill out the form with your question and they’ll reach out to you with the information you need to help you get started on your career journey.

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