Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians specialize in medication preparation and distribution. They work in the most regulated area of patient-centred healthcare. They manufacture small batch medications, practice sterile compounding and prepare prescriptions.

Pharmacy technicians have specialty knowledge of ingredients in compounding medications for their mixing compatibility, storage, transport, stability and toxicity. Their technical work and training are patient-centred and patient-facing. This profession is also socially skilled and continuously evolving to transfer their skills to fill gaps in healthcare services. They educate patients on how to use devices, provide COVID and flu vaccinations, collaborating with pharmacists and other healthcare professionals to navigate medication access and funding in their community or practice. Prescribers and patients require this profession to have strong communication skills, work efficiently and accurately provide what was ordered.

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.

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.

The Pharmacy Technician program is provided through hybrid delivery, optimizing your time and providing the perfect balance of at-home and in-person education. Lectures are delivered online synchronously, where instructors are face-to-face, accessible and can easily engage you with an experience true to practice. Imagine accessing and experiencing what is being taught at the same time as your instructor describes it. Learning is easier when you can “do” as you listen, practice on pharmacy software before coming into labs, and meet individually with your instructor when needed. Hands-on training is required and you will come to our labs to practice what you have learned, apply your skills to simulated practice. The hybrid experience provides flexibility for you. In-person labs and activities ensures you still have the social experience of being with your classmates and instructors.

First year: 32 weeks online followed by four weeks in-person.

Second year: Hybrid delivery (both online and in-person), requires that you reside in Saskatoon.
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.
Leverage your diploma into the Bachelor of Applied Management degree at Saskatchewan Polytechnic with only two years of additional study. Remote classes and part-time options are available.

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 title NOC classification
Pharmacy technician Pharmacy technicians (32124)
Pharmacy assistant Pharmacy technical assistants & pharmacy assistants (33103)

Admissions

Admission requirements

  • Grade 12 with a minimum of 70% in each of the following subjects: Pre-calculus 30 or Calculus 30, Biology 30 and Chemistry 30
  • Minimum 70% in English Language Arts A30 and English Language Arts B30. 
  • Minimum overall average of 65%.
  • Minimum 25 net words per minute keyboarding speed with 90% accuracy (5-minute testing report to be submitted with transcripts) 
    • Gross words per minute minus errors per minute indicates net words per minute.
    • Testing is available through Saskatchewan Polytechnic Testing Services. A completed Keyboarding Test Results Form must be submitted to Enrolment Services.

Note

  • Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate evidence of English language              proficiency which 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.**

**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.
  • Accepted applicants will be required to provide, at their own expense:
    • An up-to-date immunization record prior to participating in hospital practicum courses. Students may be denied access to hospital sites if immunizations are not current.
  • It is strongly recommended that you obtain Standard First Aid and CPR Heartsaver "A" AED or equivalent as health care practitioners.
  • Accepted applicants are required to provide evidence of current N95 respirator mask testing within one year of the hospital practicum. The cost of N95 respirator mask testing is your responsibility.
  • Accepted applicants are required to provide evidence of 2015 WHMIS Globally Harmonized System (GHS) certification upon admission into the program. Recertification will be required every three years to remain current. The cost of WHMIS certification is your responsibility.

Alternative admission

Applicants who do not possess the academic qualifications for a program may be admitted if evidence of probable success can be established through an alternative admission assessment. Applicants are automatically considered for alternative admission. However, some specific admission requirements may still need to be met.

ACCUPLACER©

Refer to the ACCUPLACER© cut scores for this program below, and review additional details concerning Alternative Admission using Accuplacer.

  • 250 Arithmetic
  • 252 Quantitative Reasoning, Algebra, and Statistics
  • 256 Reading
  • 250 Writing
  • 4 Writeplacer

Post-secondary

Some programs allow applicants to meet the admission grade level requirement using 15 approved post-secondary credits. Review additional information.

If the program applied to has specific course requirements, they may be met through alternative post-secondary courses. Review already approved courses that may be used for admission purposes for your programs.

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 approximate cost for books and supplies. Visit the Tuition and Fees web page for a complete breakdown of tuition and fees for this program.

2023-24 academic year

Year 1 - $7,890
Year 2 - $8,180

Courses

Get credit for what you know

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition

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

See link(s) below to get more information about PLAR.

Transfer credit

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

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. 

The Pharmacy Technician Program of Saskatchewan Polytechnic has been awarded Accreditation Status by the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2027.

Our vision

Be a leading educator of pharmacy technicians in Canada 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).

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Additional information

Sue Mack-Klinger, BSP, BSc
Program head and instructor