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Pharmacy Technician

Diploma
Pharmacy Technician

Program Overview

Demand for pharmacy technicians is growing. You will be part of a pharmacy team, filling prescriptions, assisting patients, maintaining records and more. Your focus will be the accurate preparation and delivery of medications to your patient. It’s a career that demands careful attention to detail, a high degree of integrity and lifelong learning. There is zero tolerance for math errors, so you will need to be good at basic math. You will also need to be comfortable following strict procedures and a good communicator who is comfortable talking with patients and other health professionals. Pharmacy technicians have strong organizational skills, are multi-taskers, and utilize precise written and oral communication within their workplaces.

You will find a lot of career doors open to you. Most Saskatchewan Polytechnic grads work in hospitals, but there are also jobs in community pharmacies, drug manufacturing facilities and other businesses involved in medication distribution and support.

Pharmacy Technician is an intensive two-year diploma program at Saskatchewan Polytechnic Saskatoon campus . The program focuses on building your knowledge and skills in:

  • dispensing
  • quality assurance
  • hospital and community pharmacy practice
  • pharmaceutical calculations
  • pharmacy legislation
  • pharmaceutical products
  • sterile product preparation

You will have lectures that provide foundational knowledge, and will also apply your learning in Saskatchewan Polytechnic's well-equipped labs. Experienced instructors provide group and individual instruction, giving you hands-on training and real-world skills.

Work Experience

Two month-long work experiences, one in a hospital and one in a community pharmacy, give you a chance to build your practical skills. It’s also an opportunity to experience, first-hand, the professional expectations placed on pharmacy technicians.

Career and Salary Information

Your Career

Pharmacy technicians work in rural and urban areas, in hospital and community settings. Look for job openings in regional health authorities, hospital pharmacies, community pharmacies and businesses involved in medication distribution or support.

Community pharmacies include pharmacies in grocery stores, department stores and brand name chains. You can also explore job opportunities in veterinary hospitals, home health care, pharmaceutical sales and distribution, quality assurance and companies that administer health plans. The pathway to becoming a licensed pharmacy technician in Saskatchewan is available through the Saskatchewan College of Pharmacy Professionals.

Note

International applicants are not currently considered for admission to this program.

Potential Careers

Sample Job TitleNOC Classification1Earning Potential2
Pharmacy AssistantOther Assisting Occupations in Support of Health Services (3414)$29,200 - $56,200
Pharmacy TechnicianOther Assisting Occupations in Support of Health Services (3414)$29,200 - $56,200

Length and Start Date

Start Date(s): September

 

Sue Mack-Klinger, BSP, BSc
Pharmacy Technician Program Head / Instructor
306-659-4091
Sue.Mack-Klinger@saskpolytech.ca

Corri Lewis, BSP
Pharmacy Technician Program Instructor
306-659-4132
Corri.Lewis@saskpolytech.ca


Length: 72 weeks
Year 1 - 32 weeks; Year 2 - 40 weeks

Locations

  • Saskatoon

Admissions

Admission Requirements

  • Grade 12 with a minimum of 70% in each of the following subjects: Foundations of Math 30 or Workplace and Apprenticeship Math 30 or Pre-Calculus 30*, Biology 30 and Chemistry 30
  • Minimum overall average of 65%
  • Minimum keyboarding speed of 35 words per minute with 95% accuracy in a 5-minute test period. (Testing is available through Saskatchewan Polytechnic Testing Services).
  • Evidence of English language proficiency will be based on submission of one of the following for evidence:
    • Language proficiency test results determined by the National Association for Pharmacy Regulatory Authority (NAPRA) language proficiency requirements for licensure as a pharmacy technician in Canada
    • Graduation from a high school in Canada or a Collège d-enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP) in Quebec with three consecutive, first language English or French** courses/credits
    • An undergraduate degree from a university in Canada, where instruction is in English or French**

*Previous Saskatchewan mathematics requirement also accepted: Minimum of 70% in Math A30

**The Pharmacy Technician program at Saskatchewan Polytechnic conducts classroom, lab and clinical/practicum lectures and experiences in English only

Note

  • Accepted applicants will be required to provide evidence of a Criminal Record Check including a Vulnerable Sector Search prior to entering the practicum component of the program. At the discretion of the practicum agency, you may be declined access to a clinical or work placement based on the contents of the Criminal Record Check. The cost of the Criminal Record Check is your responsibility.
  • It is strongly recommended that you obtain Standard First Aid and CPR Heartsaver "A" AED or equivalent as health care practitioners.

 

 

Special Admission

Applicants who do not possess the academic qualifications for a program may be admitted if evidence of probable success can be established through a special admission assessment. Interested individuals should still apply. Applicants are automatically considered for special admission. However, some specific admission requirements may still need to be met. Refer to the ACCUPLACER© cut scores for this program below, and review additional details concerning Special Admission.

ACCUPLACER©

  • 90 Arithmetic
  • 70 Elementary Algebra
  • 85 Reading
  • 85 Sentence
  • 4 WritePlacer

Admission Method

First Qualified/First Admitted

The First Qualified/First Admitted (FQFA) process is used for the majority of Saskatchewan Polytechnic programs. When we determine that you meet the program's admission requirements, you will be offered admission based on the date you fully qualify for the program. The earlier you provide the appropriate documents and information that qualify you for admission to the next intake, the earlier you might begin your studies. Your application, once qualified, is always considered for the next intake. 

Applicants to programs with multiple intakes in an academic year remain in the application pool until the last intake for that academic year has begun. Programs using the FQFA process receive applications year round and maintain an application pool for each academic year. Qualified applicants who are not offered a seat must reapply for the next academic year. 

Sponsored programs or programs targeted to specific groups do not accept applications year round or maintain an application pool.

See Admission Processes for more information about this method of admission.

Tuition and Fees

Estimates are based on current rates and are subject to change. Amounts for a program may vary by campus. Totals shown here include all mandatory fees as well as books and supplies. For a complete breakdown of tuition and fees for this program, click here to access the Saskatchewan Polytechnic campus Tuition and Fee Schedules.

 

Year 1 - $5,600

Courses

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Year 1 - Semester 1

Code
Name/Description
Credits
 
APHY 160
Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology
3
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You will develop a basic understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the human body. You will discuss the concept of homeostasis and acquire knowledge of cells, tissues, organs and all the organ systems of the human body.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Equivalent Course(s): APHY 189
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory, Online, Print Distance Group
COMM 291
Interpersonal Communications
2
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You will develop employability skills through the study of interpersonal communications theory and applications in the workplace. Learning outcomes include the importance of self-awareness and self-esteem, perception problems, verbal and nonverbal messages, and listening skills, creating positive communication climates and resolving interpersonal conflict.
Credit Units: 2
Course Hours: 30.0
Equivalent Course(s): BCOM 103, COMM 112, COMM 135, COMM 155, COMM 160, COMM 291CE, COMM 381, HUMR 182, HUMR 186, JOBS 190, NEPS 114, NURS 114, NURS 163
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory, Online, Print Distance Group, Print Distance Individual, Prior Learning, Televised/SCN, Work Based Delivery
MATH 168
Introductory Math for Health Sciences
1
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You will review basic mathematical concepts that are needed in a clinical setting to solve drug dosage problems. You will use dimensional analysis as a method of converting units and of calculating dosages. You will learn when to use proportion versus dimensional analysis in clinical problems.
Credit Units: 1
Course Hours: 15.0
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory
MTER 100
Medical Terminology
1
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You will learn to use the prefixes, suffixes and combining forms from which medical terms are derived. You will also learn to use medical abbreviations.
Credit Units: 1
Course Hours: 15.0
Equivalent Course(s): MTER 180
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory
PHAR 179
Pharmacology for the Pharmacy Technician
2
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You will study drugs within the scope of pharmacy technician practice. You will study how drugs are absorbed, distributed, metabolized and excreted. You will study the different formulations of drugs and its effect on pharmacokinetics, bioavailability, administration routes, dosage forms, stability and shelf life.
Credit Units: 2
Course Hours: 30.0
Prerequisites(s): MTER 100(concurrent), APHY 160(concurrent)
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory
PHAR 182
General Pharmacy Practice
3
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You will become familiar with the role of the pharmacy, pharmacist and pharmacy technician in the health care delivery system. You will learn about the expectations and responsibilities of pharmacy team members. You will study the collection and use of patient information in pharmacy.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory, Online
PHAR 184
Pharmacy Agreements
2
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You will be introduced to pharmacy agreements which guide pricing of medication services. You will manage the financial elements associated with the processing of prescriptions. You will study the applicable federal and provincial agreements. You will examine third-party plan coverage and payment requirements for prescription and non-prescription products (including formularies, benefit lists, interchangeable products, co-payment and deductible limits, prescription quantity limits and billing/adjudication issues). You will study enhanced pharmacy services and the guidelines for reimbursement for these services.
Credit Units: 2
Course Hours: 30.0
Prerequisites(s): MATH 168(concurrent), PHAR 185(concurrent)
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory
PHAR 185
Introduction to Pharmaceutical Calculations
3
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You will perform accurate calculations essential to safe pharmaceutical practice. You will practice pharmacy calculations with the pharmacy requirement of “zero tolerance for calculation errors”. You will determine and calculate medication beyond use and expiration dates. You will interpret problems requiring conversions between systems of measures in pharmacy.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Prerequisites(s): MATH 168(concurrent)
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory
PHAR 187
Pharmacy Computer Skills
3
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You will use community pharmacy specific software to perform dispensary functions and understand the role of the computer in pharmacy practice. You will use software to document and manage the data required in pharmacy dispensing. You will generate reports to retrieve information required in pharmacy practice.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Prerequisites(s): MATH 168(concurrent), PHAR 179(concurrent), PHAR 185(concurrent)
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab

Year 1 - Semester 2

Code
Name/Description
Credits
 
MICR 110
Microbiology for Pharmacy Practice
3
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You will study the field of microbiology as it applies to pharmacy practice. You will learn about cell biology and microorganisms. You will study how microorganisms affect pharmacy practice and the premise for sterile practice. You will examine how epidemiology affects the public health care system.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory
PHAR 183
Introduction to Pharmacy Dispensing
4
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You will be introduced to prescription dispensing. You will receive, process, and prepare prescriptions in a manner that ensures patient safety through accuracy and quality of the product. You will perform calculations, pricing and record keeping functions used in community pharmacies. You will apply laboratory and classroom learning from other courses to manage common aspects of dispensing.
Credit Units: 4
Course Hours: 60.0
Prerequisites(s): PHAR 182, PHAR 184, PHAR 185, PHAR 187, PHAR 179, SFTY 179(concurrent), MICR 110(concurrent)
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab
PHAR 186
Pharmaceutical Products 1
3
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You will be introduced to pharmacy products prescribed in Canada. Your studies will focus on major classes of prescription medications used in the field of pharmacy (anti-infective, nervous system, respiratory, gastrointestinal and genitourinary). You will become familiar with their classifications, names and use. You will study pertinent pharmacology which apply to the pharmacy technician’s scope of practice.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Prerequisites(s): APHY 160, MTER 100, PHAR 179
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory
PHAR 188
Non-Prescription Products
3
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You will study non-prescription products available in Canada. You will recognize the names, classifications, regulation and uses of commonly used non-prescription drugs. You will explain the scope of practice for pharmacy technicians in using information regarding non-prescription products.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Prerequisites(s): APHY 160, MTER 100, PHAR 179
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory
PHAR 192
Pharmacy Management
3
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You will examine the business of retail pharmacy. You will learn about the management, security and operation of community pharmacies. You will study the basics of merchandising and marketing. You will learn how pharmacy location, layout, merchandising, purchasing, inventory management, pricing, and advertising/promotion contribute to pharmacy operations. You will perform calculations for retail pricing and basic accounting. You will study how pharmacy management requires a goal to optimize patient care and the importance of collaboration with the patient and their circle of care.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Prerequisites(s): PHAR 182, PHAR 184, PHAR 185, PHAR 194(concurrent)
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory
PHAR 194
Pharmacy Legislation
3
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You will be introduced to how pharmacy technicians act within established legislation, regulations, bylaws, policies and standards in pharmacy practice. You will study federal and provincial privacy legislation and its application to pharmacy. You will understand the requirement for pharmacy technicians to have basic entry to practice competencies and model standards of practice. You will be able to recognize and learn how to manage unusual patterns of drug distribution.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory
SFTY 179
Safety in Pharmacy Practice
3
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You will be introduced to workplace and safety legislation that affects the pharmacy technician. The course content includes an introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System), hand hygiene, needle safety, OH&S (Occupational Health and Safety) requirements and labour standards. You will study the importance of quality assurance in the workplace to ensure safe outcomes for your patients. You will receive WHMIS certification in this course.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory

Year 2 - Semester 3

Code
Name/Description
Credits
 
PHAR 204
Advanced Pharmacy Practice
3
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You will study the advanced pharmacy practice and prescribing authority of pharmacists in Saskatchewan. You will understand the supportive role of the pharmacy technician to assist patients in accessing appropriate health care. You will discuss care plan activities and gather patient information required for you to properly assist or refer a patient. You will study your role as a pharmacy technician in collaborating with other health care professionals to meet the goal of patient care. You will study the importance of practicing to the full scope of a pharmacy technician to aid patient access to health care.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Prerequisites(s): PHAR 182, PHAR 184, PHAR 187
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory
PHAR 205
Advanced Pharmacy Dispensing
4
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You will build on the skills and knowledge you developed in your prerequisite courses. You will learn how to use the computer for filling advanced prescriptions and recording patient monitoring parameters. You will dispense a variety of pharmaceuticals with the focus on practice to the full scope of a pharmacy technician. You will employ the supportive role of a pharmacy technician for advanced pharmacy practice and prescribing authority in Saskatchewan through various practical activities. You will participate in an intraprofessional activity with pharmacy students at the University of Saskatchewan.
Credit Units: 4
Course Hours: 60.0
Prerequisites(s): COMM 291, MICR 110, PHAR 183, PHAR 179, PHAR 194, SFTY 179, PHAR 204(concurrent)
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab
PHAR 206
Hospital Pharmacy
3
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You will explore the practice of pharmacy as it specifically applies to the hospital setting. You will develop an awareness of the guidelines under which hospital pharmacies operate. You will be introduced to good manufacturing practices (GMP) employed in pharmacy practice.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Prerequisites(s): PHAR 182, PHAR 185, PHAR 194, SFTY 179
Equivalent Course(s): PHAR 190
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory
PHAR 207
Institutional Pharmacy Practice
4
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You will practice institutionally specific tasks employed in the field of pharmacy. You will apply the knowledge gained from pharmacy practice and hospital practice lectures. You will build on your general dispensing techniques.
Credit Units: 4
Course Hours: 60.0
Prerequisites(s): PHAR 183, PHAR 206(concurrent)
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab
PHAR 208
Pharmaceutical Products 2
3
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This course continues your study of major classes of prescription medications used in the field of pharmacy (endocrine, cardiovascular, skeletal-muscular, integumentary, eye/ear and chemotherapy). You will become familiar with their classifications, names and use. You will study pertinent pharmacology such as allergy class, drug – drug interactions and available dosage forms which apply to the pharmacy technician’s scope of practice.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Prerequisites(s): PHAR 186
Equivalent Course(s): PHAR 193
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory
SOCI 171
Culture and Diversity in Canadian Society
3
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You will explore culture and diversity in Canada and the challenges they present. You will discuss the impacts of oppression, multiculturalism, immigration, social inequalities, and social justice at both personal and professional levels. You will discuss the historical and contemporary challenges of Aboriginal peoples. You will also examine tools to foster social change and diversity competencies.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory, Prior Learning

Year 2 - Semester 4

Code
Name/Description
Credits
 
COM 104
Teamwork and Collaboration
3
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You will develop collaborative and teamwork skills and apply them to pharmacy technician practice, including effective research skills, professional documentation and a collaborative approach to decision-making in a health team.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory, Online
PHAR 209
Non-Sterile Compounding
3
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You will study the regulation of non-sterile compounding. You will review common terminology, references used and documentation requirements. You will examine the use of excipients in compounds and determine the effect of adapting compound formulation records. You will research information required for compounds made in the Non-Sterile Compounding Lab.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Prerequisites(s): PHAR 204, PHAR 205
Corequisites(s): PHAR 210
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory
PHAR 210
Non-Sterile Compounding Lab
4
Show course details
You will build on the skills and knowledge from your prerequisite courses. You will apply information from the lectures in Non-Sterile Compounding. You will be introduced to the principles of compounding and will prepare a variety of pharmaceuticals. You will prepare formulation records using appropriate references. You will use compound records to document your work and transfer them to the pharmacy computer database. You will employ proper tools and techniques to produce quality and elegant pharmaceutical compounds.
Credit Units: 4
Course Hours: 60.0
Prerequisites(s): PHAR 204, PHAR 205, PHAR 213(concurrent)
Corequisites(s): PHAR 209
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory
PHAR 211
Sterile Compounding
3
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You will learn how using aseptic technique in sterile product preparation is a critical component of safe pharmaceutical care. You will learn the principles involved in preparing pharmaceuticals under aseptic conditions. You will learn the theory behind the procedures of sterile compounding.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Prerequisites(s): MICR 110, PHAR 183, PHAR 185, PHAR 205, PHAR 204(concurrent), PHAR 206(concurrent), PHAR 213(concurrent), SFTY 179(concurrent)
Corequisites(s): PHAR 212
Potential Learning Method(s): Lab/Practical
PHAR 212
Sterile Compounding Lab
3
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You will receive group and individualized instruction in the preparation of sterile products under aseptic conditions. You will apply the knowledge from your sterile compounding lectures to aseptic practice in a lab. You will practice special techniques involved in preparing hazardous sterile preparations. You will prepare and assess sterile products for technique, accuracy and quality of the final product.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Prerequisites(s): PHAR 205, PHAR 207, PHAR 213(concurrent)
Corequisites(s): PHAR 211
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab
PHAR 213
Advanced Pharmaceutical Calculations
3
Show course details
You will accurately perform advanced pharmacy calculations essential to safe pharmaceutical practice. You will solve pharmaceutical problems related to dilutions, compounding and parenteral mixtures. You will practice pharmacy calculations with the pharmacy requirement of “zero tolerance for calculation errors”. You will apply accurate calculations to advanced prescriptions and check the calculation work of others.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Prerequisites(s): PHAR 183, PHAR 185, PHAR 207, PHAR 205(concurrent)
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory
PHAR 214
Pharmacy Practicum and Career Preparation
2
Show course details
You will identify the steps to becoming a licensed pharmacy technician in Canada. You will prepare a professional resume, be prepared for job interviews and practicums. You will evaluate your employability skills.
Credit Units: 2
Course Hours: 30.0
Prerequisites(s): COMM 291, PHAR 204
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory

Year 2 - Semester 5

Code
Name/Description
Credits
 
PRAC 484
Community Practicum
9
Show course details
You will practice as a pharmacy technician intern under the guidance and supervision of preceptor(s) in a community pharmacy. You will apply your knowledge of community pharmacy dispensing to actual practice. You will practice with the computer software systems and resources found in the community pharmacy to deliver professional pharmacy service. You will perform dispensary and front store functions required for pharmacy service. You will maintain patient confidentiality. You will practice to your full scope of practice. Placements will be assigned in locations across the province.
Credit Units: 9
Course Hours: 140.0
Prerequisites(s): COMM 291, COM 104, PHAR 184, PHAR 188, PHAR 192, PHAR 209, PHAR 210, PHAR 211, PHAR 212, PHAR 213, PHAR 214
Potential Learning Method(s): Clinical/Practicum
PRAC 485
Hospital Practicum
9
Show course details
You will practice as a pharmacy technician intern under the guidance and supervision of preceptor(s) in a hospital. You will demonstrate aseptic technique to prepare sterile drug products. You will perform drug distribution, inventory, and checking functions required of a pharmacy technician in a hospital setting. You will maintain patient confidentiality and demonstrate professional behaviour. You will practice to your full scope of practice. Placements will be assigned in locations across the province.
Credit Units: 9
Course Hours: 140.0
Prerequisites(s): COMM 291, COM 104, PHAR 184, PHAR 188, PHAR 192, PHAR 209, PHAR 210, PHAR 211, PHAR 212, PHAR 213, PHAR 214
Potential Learning Method(s): Clinical/Practicum

PLAR & Transfer Credit

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition

Saskatchewan Polytechnic recognizes that adults learn in many different ways and through many different means. This includes acquiring knowledge and skills through life and work experience or non-formal training.


Transfer Credit

Many Sask Polytech students benefit from transferring course credit. You may be eligible to transfer credit from or to another college or university. Learn more about Transfer Credit.

Student Awards

Thanks to the generosity of donors and alumni, Saskatchewan Polytechnic gives away more than $2 million in student awards during the academic year.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic offers student awards for every certificate and diploma program at every campus. You don't have to be a brainiac to receive a student award. Not all student awards are based on marks - some are based on financial need or things like community or volunteer involvement.

More about scholarships

Accreditation

Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP)

Saskatchewan Polytechnic's Pharmacy Technician program is fully accredited by the Canadian Council of Accreditation of Pharmacy program. This qualifies you to write the national Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) qualifying exam.  With a PEBC Pharmacy Technician Certificate of Qualification, you can seek licensure in provinces that regulate pharmacy technicians. You’ll earn a higher wage and be able to apply for more jobs as a licensed pharmacy technician. 

Our Vision

Be the leading educator of pharmacy technicians in Saskatchewan and integral in achieving optimal drug therapy outcomes for all.

Our Mission

Prepare our students to competently practise pharmacy and meet the needs of our stakeholders (patients and their families, regulatory authorities, industry and government).

Additional Information

Related Programs

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Part-Time Delivery

Some courses in this program might also be offered through part-time programming.

View the program page for a complete list of courses and additional information.

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