How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Canada: 7 Essential Steps

Pharmacy Technician in Canada

Are you passionate about healthcare and interested in pursuing a career in the pharmaceutical field? Becoming a pharmacy technician in Canada can be a rewarding and fulfilling career choice. Pharmacy technicians play a crucial role in assisting pharmacists with the dispensing of medications, managing inventory, and providing valuable customer service to patients. If you’re eager to join this profession and want to know how to become a pharmacy technician in Canada, this comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need.

Ready to start your journey? Discover How to become a Pharmacy Technician and pave your way to a rewarding career!

Role of a Pharmacy Technician in Canda

A pharmacy technician in Canada is a healthcare professional who works under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. They are responsible for various tasks, including:

  • Assisting pharmacists in preparing and dispensing medications
  • Managing inventory and ordering supplies
  • Compounding medications
  • Providing customer service and answering inquiries
  • Maintaining patient records
  • Collaborating with other healthcare professionals

Education and Training Requirements

To become a pharmacy technician in Canada, it is essential to complete a recognized pharmacy technician program. These programs provide the necessary theoretical knowledge and practical skills required for the profession. The education and training requirements may vary slightly across provinces, but the general guidelines remain consistent.

Accredited Pharmacy Technician Programs

Several educational institutions across Canada offer accredited pharmacy technician programs. These programs are designed to meet the standards set by regulatory bodies and ensure graduates are well-prepared for their roles. It is crucial to choose a program that is accredited by the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP).

Prerequisites for Enrollment

To enroll in a pharmacy technician program, you typically need to meet certain prerequisites. These may include:

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Minimum age requirement (usually 18 years or older)
  • Proficiency in English (verbal and written)
  • Basic computer skills
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Knowledge of mathematics and sciences

Duration of Pharmacy Technician Programs

Pharmacy technician programs in Canada typically have a duration of 1 to 2 years, depending on the institution and the program format. Some programs offer accelerated options or part-time study for individuals who prefer a flexible learning schedule.

Pharmacy Technician Certification Pathway

To fulfill the certification process of the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC), it is necessary to demonstrate the completion of the educational requirements and successfully pass both Parts of the PEBC Pharmacy Technician Qualifying Examination. The educational requirements can be satisfied through various pathways.

Individuals who have graduated from a pharmacy technician or pharmacist program accredited by the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP) are considered “Direct-entry Candidates.” These candidates are eligible to proceed directly to the Pharmacy Technician Qualifying Examination. This category also includes candidates who have achieved successful results in specific exams as outlined below.

For international candidates who have received their education as pharmacy technicians or pharmacists outside of Canada, there is an ongoing development of a new evaluation process. This process must be completed before becoming eligible to undertake the Pharmacy Technician Qualifying Examination.

Course Curriculum

The course curriculum of a pharmacy technician in Canada program covers a wide range of subjects related to pharmaceutical sciences, healthcare, and professional practice. The curriculum may include:

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacy calculations
  • Pharmaceutical compounding
  • Drug dosage forms
  • Prescription processing
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Pharmacy law and ethics
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Medication safety
  • Communication skills

Clinical Placements and Experiential Learning

Pharmacy technician in Canada programs often include clinical placements and experiential learning opportunities. These hands-on experiences allow students to apply their knowledge and skills in real-world pharmacy settings. It provides

them with practical experience in dispensing medications, interacting with patients, and working as part of a healthcare team.

“The National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) is a not-for-profit organization
established in 1995 and represents all provincial and territorial pharmacy licensing authorities whose mandate is the protection of the public. NAPRA’s membership also extends beyond traditional geographic borders to include the Canadian Forces Pharmacy Services. One of the fundamental goals of the organization is to enable members to take a national approach in addressing common issues.”

— NAPRA Handbook

Licensing and Certification

After completing a pharmacy technician program, graduates must obtain a license or certification to practice as a pharmacy technician in Canada. The requirements for licensing may vary by province or territory.

Provincial Regulatory Bodies

Each province or territory in Canada has its own regulatory body responsible for licensing and regulating pharmacy technicians. Examples include the Ontario College of Pharmacists, College of Pharmacists of British Columbia, and Alberta College of Pharmacy.

Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC)

The Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) is an organization that assesses the qualifications of pharmacy technicians and pharmacists. It administers the national certification examinations required for licensure.

Pharmacy Technician Evaluating Exam (EE)

The Pharmacy Technician Evaluating Exam (EE) is a comprehensive examination conducted by the PEBC. It assesses the candidate’s knowledge and competency in pharmacy practice, pharmaceutical calculations, pharmacology, and pharmacy law.

Jurisprudence Exam

In addition to the EE, some provinces may require pharmacy technician candidates to pass a jurisprudence exam. This exam evaluates their understanding of the legal and ethical aspects of pharmacy practice in that specific province.

Language Proficiency Requirements

Proficiency in English or French is essential for pharmacy technicians in Canada. Candidates may be required to demonstrate their language proficiency through standardized tests such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP).

Criminal Record Check

As pharmacy technicians have access to sensitive patient information and controlled substances, a criminal record check is usually required as part of the registration process. This ensures the safety and security of patients and the healthcare system.

Applying for Registration

To become a registered pharmacy technician in Canada, candidates must submit an application to their respective provincial regulatory body. The application process typically includes providing documentation of education, completing application forms, and paying registration fees.

Job Prospects for Pharmacy Technicians

Pharmacy technicians are in high demand across Canada, with a positive job outlook in the coming years. The expanding role of pharmacy technicians in healthcare settings and the aging population’s increased need for medications contribute to this demand.

Career Opportunities

Qualified pharmacy technician in Canada can find employment in various healthcare settings, including:

  • Community pharmacies
  • Hospital pharmacies
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Research institutions
  • Government agencies

Salary Outlook

The salary of a pharmacy technician in Canada can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and work setting. On average, pharmacy technicians can expect to earn a competitive salary, with opportunities for growth and advancement.

On average, entry-level pharmacy technician in Canada can expect to earn a starting salary ranging from CAD 30,000 to CAD 40,000 per year. As technicians gain more experience and expertise, their salaries can increase. With a few years of experience, pharmacy technicians can earn between CAD 40,000 and CAD 50,000 annually.

In certain regions or high-demand areas, experienced pharmacy technician in Canada may earn even higher salaries, reaching up to CAD 60,000 or more per year. Additionally, working in specialized fields or settings, such as hospital pharmacies or pharmaceutical research, may offer higher salary potential.

Continuing Education and Professional Development

To maintain their registration and stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field, pharmacy technicians are encouraged to participate in continuing education and professional development activities. These may include attending workshops, seminars, conferences, or pursuing advanced certifications.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Q: How long does it take to become a pharmacy technician in Canada?
    A: The duration of pharmacy technician programs in Canada typically ranges from 1 to 2 years, depending on the program and institution.
  2. Q: Do I need a license to work as a pharmacy technician in Canada?
    A: Yes, you need to obtain a license or certification from the regulatory body in your province or territory to practice as a pharmacy technician. Here are some examples of provincial regulatory bodies for pharmacy technicians in Canada:
    • Ontario: Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP)
    • British Columbia: College of Pharmacists of British Columbia (CPBC)
    • Alberta: Alberta College of Pharmacy (ACP)
    • Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan College of Pharmacy Professionals (SCPP)
    • Manitoba: College of Pharmacists of Manitoba (CPhM)
    • Quebec: Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec (OPQ)
    • New Brunswick: New Brunswick College of Pharmacists (NBCP)
    • Nova Scotia: Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists (NSCP)
    • Prince Edward Island: Prince Edward Island College of Pharmacists (PEICP)
    • Newfoundland and Labrador: Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board (NLPB)
    • Northwest Territories: Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority (NTHSSA)
    • Yukon: Yukon Pharmacists’ Association (YPA)
    • Nunavut: Nunavut Pharmacy Board (NPB)
  3. Q: What are the prerequisites for enrolling in a pharmacy technician program?
    A: Prerequisites may include a high school diploma or equivalent, minimum age requirement, proficiency in English, basic computer skills, and strong interpersonal skills.
  4. Q: Are there job opportunities for pharmacy technicians in Canada?
    A: Yes, there are excellent job prospects for pharmacy technicians in Canada. The demand for pharmacy technicians is expected to grow, providing ample employment opportunities.
  1. Q: Can pharmacy technicians work in hospitals?
    A: Yes, pharmacy technicians can work in hospitals alongside pharmacists to support medication dispensing and management.
  2. Q: What is the average salary of a pharmacy technician in Canada?
    A: The average salary of a pharmacy technician in Canada can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and work setting. However, pharmacy technicians generally earn a competitive salary.


Becoming a pharmacy technician in Canada requires dedication, education, and licensure. By completing an accredited pharmacy technician program, passing the necessary exams, and obtaining registration with the provincial regulatory body, you can embark on a fulfilling career in the pharmaceutical field. With the demand for pharmacy technicians on the rise, this profession offers excellent job prospects and opportunities for growth. Start your journey toward becoming a pharmacy technician today and make a positive impact on patient care and the healthcare system.


The Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC)

National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA)

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