What types of people are interested in this program?
People who are starting a career or needing a career change. Ideally, a person with an interest in health care.
Graduates from high school will also find this a good starting career without a large investment in education, especially those looking for an orientation to the pharmacy field before deciding on further education in obtaining a pharmacy degree.
This type of career will suit a person who:
- Is a detail oriented organized problem-solver.
- Has self-motivated interest in lifelong learning.
- Has compassion and an interest in helping people.
- Can use superior communication skills in a teamwork setting.
What is the appeal/benefit of this program? (What do graduates say makes it great?)
The online theory component of the program allows flexibility of lifestyle and time management. Students can stay at home to work on courses at a convenient time. It saves childcare, driving and fuel expenses.
Small class sizes give students individual attention as well as a sense of community and sharing with fellow students.
How is this program similar to or different from offerings at other institutions?
This program requires students to be mature and disciplined. The program is intense and focused on learning the skills needed to work in a community and/or hospital pharmacy as a licensed health professional. Theory takes place online, with hands-on learning in labs, and practicum experience in both community and hospital pharmacy.
How do I learn practical skills?
Once the online theory courses are complete, students come to the Castlegar Campus, Duncan Campus or Prince George Campus to complete eight weeks of training to develop hands-on skills in pharmacy computer systems, sterile product preparation, prescription dispensing and compounding.
What are practicums?
A practicum is 180 hours of work experience in each a community and hospital pharmacy.
A practicum is part of the educational program, and students may not receive payment for this work experience.
Are there other special benefits/attributes of this program that should be noted?
Instructors make every effort to assist students with acclimatizing to the online learning format. The first week of the program is spent in orientation using online tools to practice online learning concepts. Activities include the use of discussions for course communication and presentation as well as practice in retrieval and submission of assignments and exams.
As an added benefit to learning online students find they improve their typing, computer and research skills. Students also develop “team skills,” which transfer well into their workplace.
Quote from a former student:
Completing the pharmacy technician program online is extremely rewarding. It has taken self-dedication, perseverance and enthusiasm to complete the requirements each week. The program is fast paced, but once you find which learning style works best for you, the course work is manageable. I also want to reassure you that the instructors in this program are friendly, approachable and supportive with any questions or concerns that you might have. Do not hesitate to contact them.
How long has the program been offered?
The Pharmacy Technician Program at Selkirk College began in September 2003.
The program obtained Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs accredited status in July of 2010. The program continues to maintain this accredited status.
Which campus(es) deliver this program?
The home base for the online component of the program is the Castlegar Campus. The lab component is delivered by Selkirk College on the Castlegar Campus, Vancouver Island University on the Cowichan Campus and by College of New Caledonia on the Prince George Campus.
Is it offered via distance learning?
The blended program (online and face to face) offers the theory courses in an online learning platform.
An online delivery method allows students a convenient educational plan for their busy schedules.
Anonymous quotes from general feedback of the program:
I think being a successful online learner teaches more discipline than a traditional setting. Even though all learning teaches discipline, online learning requires the learner to keep on his/her toes and take control of their lives. Online learning is not impersonal at all. In fact, I believe that it is much more intimate than most university lecture theaters.
I chose the online classroom primarily because of the flexibility I needed when it came to my new family situation. It is nice to know that as the world becomes more competitive, convenient ways to stay competitive are available.
Is a certificate or diploma offered upon completion?
What methods of program delivery are used?
The program is delivered primarily in an online learning environment. During the lab component, practical hands-on experience is emphasized.
What careers does this program lead to?
The program prepares students to move forward to become registered pharmacy technicians with provincial pharmacy regulator authorities across Canada.
What further education options are there following this program?
Students will also wish to explore specialty avenues available for training in the homecare field, as well as advanced compounding techniques that may be required by compounding community pharmacies.
Some students will find this an opportunity to explore the pharmacy field before going on to further university education to obtain a pharmacy degree.
Does the Pharmacy Technician Program allow me to become a pharmacist?
No. To become a pharmacist, you need to complete a PharmD or a BSc in Pharmacy degree. Selkirk College does offer an Entry to Pharmacy Program that provides two years of university transferable credits that qualify you to apply for a PharmD degree at UBC or University of Alberta. Courses in the Pharmacy Technician Program do NOT qualify for university transfer.
What is the difference between a pharmacy technician and a pharmacist?
Both are regulated pharmacy professionals that require registered licenses and professional liability insurance. Both can work in a variety of settings including community pharmacies, hospital pharmacies, long term care, drug manufacturing and insurance.
Pharmacy technicians are responsible for the technical aspects of prescription dispensing, including order entry, inventory management, billing to drug plans, product preparation, compounding and sterile product preparation, verification of the technical aspects of a prescription and medical device teaching.
Pharmacists are responsible for the therapeutic and clinical aspects of prescription dispensing, including assessing the therapeutic appropriateness and safety of a prescription for a patient, making recommendations about prescription and over the counter medications, medication and health counselling, vaccinations and prescribing medications under certain circumstances.
What employment opportunities are available, where and how plentiful?
Registered pharmacy technician opportunities are numerous in many locations across the country. This newly regulated profession is in demand to help support the growing demand on the health care system in Canada.