- In Class
Tuition & Fees
International: CAD $30,462
Estimated Book Costs: CAD $1,100
Prescription for Success. At Bow Valley College’s downtown Calgary campus, students study full-time and complete practicums in hospital†and community pharmacies to obtain a Pharmacy Technician Diploma.
The program has Full Accreditation Status†† with the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP), preparing graduates for the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada's national certification exam. Pharmacy technicians are regulated under the Health Professions Act and register with the Alberta College of Pharmacy.
Registered Pharmacy Technicians have an expanded scope of practice that includes responsibilities such as performing final checks on prescriptions and receiving verbal orders from prescribers. Other tasks include compounding mixtures, dispensing medications, or preparing sterile products such as eye drop compounds or intravenous mixtures. Demand is increasing and pharmacy technicians can earn up to $37/hour.
With over 350 lab hours in a state-of-the-art facility, this program integrates cutting-edge technology and emphasizes hands-on training to produce competitive dispensary-ready graduates. Students learn to prepare sterile products in authentic certified sterile production hoods and operate a PACMED® high-speed automated medication packager.
†Students will be required to travel to various locations in order to complete their practicum placements. Every effort is made to accommodate students in placements within the timeframe of the program, however in rare instances there may be a delay in program completion until a placement can be arranged.
††The Pharmacy Technician Program of Bow Valley College has been awarded Accreditation Status by the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs from January 1st, 2023 - June 30th, 2028.
Program faculty and staff
Diane Valiquette, B.Sc.Pharm, Registered Pharmacist (Associate Dean, Allied Health)
Crystal Lane, B.Sc.Pharm, Registered Pharmacist (Program Chair, Allied Health)
Cheryl Callicutt, Registered Pharmacy Technician (Educational Assistant)
Loren Voice, Registered Pharmacy Technician (Instructor)
Hadeel Abed, B.Sc.Pharm, Registered Pharmacist, Master of Science (Instructor)
Karen Pozniak (Administrative Assistant)
The Pharmacy Technician Diploma program has a designated lab. The world-class lab simulates both community and hospital pharmacy practice with individual work areas equipped with computers, phones and dispensing supplies, compounding equipment, certified sterile production hoods, and a high-speed automated medication packager (PACMED®).
- High School Diploma or equivalent
- Minimum 60% in English 30-1 or 70% in English 30-2 or equivalent
- Minimum 60% in:
- Math 30-1 or Math 30-2 or equivalent
- Biology 30 or equivalent
- Chemistry 30 or equivalent
- A minimum keyboarding speed of 30 wpm is strongly recommended.
- Applicants are expected to have a working knowledge of personal computers including general business applications and navigating the internet.
- Applicants are expected to have 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.
- Proficient manual dexterity is essential.
- Applicants should be detail-oriented with the ability to problem-solve and multi-task.
- Current Police Information Check (PIC) with a Vulnerable Sector Search (VSS) must be submitted prior to the practicum placements. The existence of a criminal record may postpone or prevent clinical, practicum, or field work placements, and subsequently, successful completion of the program.
- To facilitate your Work Integrated Learning placement with our external partners Rubella vaccination is mandatory and proof of full COVID-19 vaccination is required for many of the sites. Failure to provide evidence of full COVID-19 vaccination will delay program completion. All other immunizations are highly recommended. Up-to-date immunizations are valid for the duration of the program.
English language proficiency requirements
See English language proficiency requirements for details.
Training Related Employment Rate
Based on 2019-2020 domestic and international students who self-reported finding employment or training-related employment within 6-12 months after graduating.
Full course outlines are available here.
Curriculum subject to change.
This first-year composition course introduces learners to academic writing and critical thinking. They read and analyze sociopolitical, cultural, and gender issues in texts with an emphasis on experiences of people whose voices were historically silenced, particularly those of Indigenous communities in Canada. Learners develop strategies to communicate their own ideas and integrate them with those of others by quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing source material. Learners present their written assignments professionally according to APA formatting guidelines.
Learners will be introduced to fundamental pharmacy theory including pharmaceutical dosage forms, routes of administration, drug stability and storage, the dispensing process, interpretation of prescription information, auxiliary label selection, and interpersonal communication. Pharmacy practice simulations will facilitate development of communication skills.
Learners will examine federal and provincial legislation, drug schedules and practice standards related to the practice of pharmacy in Alberta. Learners will study the code of ethics and apply principles to pharmacy-specific situations.
Learners will be introduced to basic concepts of physiology, pathology, pharmacology and medical terminology, and specifically examine conditions and treatment related to the eye, ear, upper respiratory tract and immune system.
Learners will examine physiology, pathology, pharmacology and medical terminology related to the lower respiratory tract, urinary and cardiovascular systems.
Prerequisites: C in PHRM1201
Learners will perform calculations for both community and hospital pharmacy practice, including measurement conversions, prescription interpretation, prescription pricing and compounding calculations. Facilitated practice time is designed to enhance calculation skills with emphasis placed on accuracy.
Learners will apply dispensing policies and procedures while learning the basics of a pharmacy software system. Learners will enter and modify patient, physician, and drug information, interpret prescription information, apply basic third party billing principles, select appropriate products from the system database, and generate appropriate documentation.
Learners will examine physiology, pathology, pharmacology and medical terminology related to the gastrointestinal system and accessory organs.
Prerequisite: C in PHRM1202
Learners will examine physiology, pathology, pharmacology and medical terminology related to the integumentary, musculoskeletal and nervous systems.
Prerequisite: C in PHRM1203
Learners will perform calculations for both community and hospital pharmacy practice, including dosing, compounding and parenteral drug therapy calculations. Facilitated practice time is designed to enhance calculation skills with emphasis placed on accuracy.
Prerequisite: A- in PHRM1301
Learners will apply third party billing procedures and provide device and home health care product education. Extensive use of role-plays will enhance development of effective communication skills.
Learners will examine institutional pharmacy practice, including the role of hospital pharmacy within the health care system, organization of the dispensary, drug distribution systems, medication safety and current technology. Learners will be introduced to principles of aseptic technique for sterile production and quality assurance.
Learners will apply dispensing policies and procedures while integrating skills and knowledge, including prescription interpretation, pharmacy law and ethics, pharmacy calculations, reimbursement considerations, documentation, and independent double checks. Extensive use of role plays will enhance development of effective communication skills.
Learners will examine management of hospital and community pharmacy practice, including business principles and calculations, inventory management, customer service, and human resources.
Learners will apply problem-solving and critical thinking skills to assisted living and community pharmacy practice in this comprehensive lab. Operation of a high-speed automated drug packager (PACMED®) will be integrated into the dispensing process and extensive use of role-plays will further develop communication skills.
Prerequisites: C in PHRM1204, A- in PHRM1302, C in PHRM1402 and A- in PHRM2401
Learners will apply compounding policies and procedures while integrating knowledge and skills including pharmacy calculations, documentation, and independent double checks to prepare a variety of extemporaneous compounds using established formulations and appropriate techniques.
Learners will apply institutional dispensing policies and procedures while integrating skills and knowledge, including order interpretation, drug distribution systems, pharmacy calculations, documentation, and independent double checks. Operation of a high-speed automated drug packager (PACMED®) will be integrated into the dispensing process and extensive use of role-plays will further develop communication skills.
Learners will prepare intravenous admixtures, pre-filled syringes, ophthalmic preparations, chemotherapy and total parenteral nutrition in certified laminar airflow workbenches. Knowledge and skills including pharmacy calculations, documentation, and independent double checks will be integrated to prepare a variety of products using appropriate aseptic techniques.
Prerequisites: C in PHRM1204, A- in PHRM1302 and C in PHRM1501
Learners will examine physiology, pathology, pharmacology and medical terminology in specialized areas, including: oncology, HIV/AIDS, travel medicine, nutrition and the reproductive systems.
Prerequisite: C in PHRM1201
Learners will prepare to obtain employment and entry into professional practice. Comprehensive written and practical exams will evaluate knowledge, skills, and abilities in the role of the pharmacy technician. Learners will develop a professional portfolio to assess learning needs, and design and implement a learning plan to evaluate opportunities for professional development and life-long learning. Learners will be introduced to the principals of interprofessional collaboration within a diverse healthcare team. Extensive use of case studies will enhance development of effective collaboration and communication skills.
Prerequisites: C in PHRM1103, C in PHRM1204, A- in PHRM2402, A- in PHRM2403, A- in PHRM2501 and A- in PHRM2502
Learners will apply knowledge and skills during four consecutive weeks in a community pharmacy while gaining experience in all aspects of the pharmacy technician's role. Learners will be evaluated based on their ability to demonstrate professional national competencies required at entry to practice.
Learners will apply knowledge and skills during five consecutive weeks in an institutional pharmacy while gaining experience in all aspects of the pharmacy technician's role. Learners will be evaluated based on their ability to demonstrate professional national competencies required at entry to practice.
The program is 60 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 the final 8 months of the program.
The overall program is 90 per cent in class and 10 per cent online. The hours range from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The Pharmacy Technician Diploma program is in class with an emphasis on hands-on lab training with some online courses.
Learners can expect to commit approximately 30 hours per week in class, plus 10 to 20 hours per week of studying and homework.
You may submit a request but we cannot guarantee placement at any particular site.
The practicum schedule is predetermined; learners are expected to be flexible and treat the placement like a job.
Pharmacy technicians working in hospitals start at approximately $28 per hour, and with experience, can earn up to $37 per hour. Community pharmacy technicians usually earn approximately $20 to $30 per hour.
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.
Employers have stated that Bow Valley College graduates are well prepared for the job and therefore actively seek out our graduates.
The program places emphasis on hands-on training and experience in a simulated environment using technology, supplies, and equipment, as used in the workplace.