Pharmacy Technician Diploma Frequently Asked Questions
NOTE: If you are already working as a Pharmacy Technician in Alberta,
please see the Pharmacy Technician Bridging Program
Q: How long is the Pharmacy Technician Diploma program? The program is 64 weeks in length, including two 4-week practicum placements (one month in community pharmacy and one month in hospital pharmacy). The initial eight months of study will be followed by a four-month break, where students have the option of obtaining employment in the field of pharmacy to gain experience and prepare financially for final 8 months of the program.
Q: What is the schedule like? This is a full-time in-class program (usually between 8:00 am and 3:30 pm, Monday through Friday).
Q: Are there online or distance education options available? No, the Pharmacy Technician Diploma program emphasizes hands-on lab training.
Q: What time commitment is involved? Students can expect to commit approximately 30 hours per week in-class, plus 10 - 20 hours per week of studying and homework.
Q: Can I choose where I complete my practicum? You may submit a request but we cannot guarantee placement at a particular site.
Q: Is there flexibility in the practicum schedule? The practicum schedule is predetermined; students are expected to be flexible and treat the placement like a job.
Cost / Benefits / Job Market
Q: How much do graduates make? Pharmacy Technicians working in hospitals start at approximately $28 per hour and, with experience, can earn up to $35 per hour. Community Pharmacy Technicians usually earn approximately $20 to $30 per hour.
Q: What is the difference between Pharmacy Technicians and Pharmacy Assistants? On July 1, 2011, Pharmacy Technicians became regulated under the Health Professions Act and now register with the Alberta College of Pharmacists, carrying their own malpractice insurance. Under the new expanded scope of practice, Registered Pharmacy Technicians perform the final check on prescriptions, receive verbal orders from prescribers, prepare compound mixtures, and assist with prescription transfers.
Our Pharmacy Technician Diploma program prepares graduates for the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada's national certification exam. Only graduates of programs accredited by the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs are eligible to proceed through the registration process to become Pharmacy Technicians. Graduates of non-accredited programs become Pharmacy Assistants. Pharmacy Assistants do not carry a license or their own insurance and do not have the same responsibilities or income potential.
Q: Is the program recognized by employers? Employers have stated that BVC graduates are well-prepared to walk into a job and therefore actively seek our graduates.
Q: What is unique about the Bow Valley College Pharmacy Technician diploma program? The program places emphasis on hands-on training and experience in a simulated workplace using authentic technology, supplies, and equipment.
Q: What types of questions are on the Math Skills Assessment? The Pharmacy Technician Diploma Math Skills Assessment is designed to assess basic math skills including, but not limited to: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and conversion of fractions, percentages, decimals, ratios, problem solving, linear equations and other related calculations.
Other Application and Admissions Questions
For information on general application and admissions processes, visit the General FAQ page or contact the Student Advising Centre (formerly the Prospective Student Centre).