Program and Course Search

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Health Care Assistant - Diploma

Get the qualifications and confidence you need to contribute positively to health care and community support services.
Program at a Glance
Length
2 years
Accreditation
Diploma
Delivery Mode
On Campus
Campus
Trail
Intake Dates
Fall
Contacts
    Overview

    This two-year diploma program for international students is a comprehensive program designed to equip individuals with the essential skills and knowledge required to excel in the field of health care and community support.

    Tailored to meet the unique needs of international students, this program combines theoretical learning with practical, hands-on experiences to foster a holistic understanding of health care practices and community engagement. Participants will gain expertise in providing assistance to individuals in various health care settings, including long-term care facilities and community organizations.

    The curriculum emphasizes cultural competence and an understanding of diverse health care systems, preparing students to thrive in multicultural environments. Graduates of this program emerge with the necessary qualifications and confidence to contribute positively to health care and community support services.

    English Language Requirements

    Applicants for whom English is a second language are required to demonstrate proficiency in English as outlined by the BC Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry, including standardized proficiency assessments and required scores in all four language skills areas: speaking, listening, reading and writing.

    Minimum Program Entry Requirements

    Special Costs and Travel

    Students are required to have uniforms and footwear that comply with WorkSafeBC standards. This can be purchased after arrival in Canada. In addition, students must be prepared to travel to clinical practice agencies. Access to a reliable vehicle is necessary. Students are required to possess a valid BC driver’s license by the start of HCA 107.

    Clinical and practicum placements are arranged on the basis of student learning needs and available learning experiences. It is not possible to comply with the personal and travel requirements of individual students.

    Program Outcomes

    Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

    1. Provide person‐centred care and assistance that recognizes and respects the uniqueness of each individual client

    2. Use an informed problem‐solving approach to provide care and assistance that promotes the physical, psychological, cognitive, social, and spiritual health and well‐being of clients and families

    3. Provide person‐centred care and assistance for clients experiencing complex health challenges

    4. Provide person‐centred care and assistance for clients experiencing cognitive and/or mental health challenges

    5. Interact with other members of the health care team in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals

    6. Communicate clearly, accurately, and sensitively with clients and families in a variety of community and facility contexts

    7. Provide personal care and assistance in a safe, competent, and organized manner

    8. Recognize and respond to own self‐development, learning, and health enhancement needs

    9. Perform the care provider role in a reflective, responsible, accountable, and professional manner

    In addition to meeting the general admission requirements to Selkirk College, the applicant must meet the following Health Care Assistant Program requirements to be considered qualified for conditional acceptance and receive a seat offer:In addition to meeting the general admission requirements to Selkirk College, the applicant must meet the following Health Care Assistant Program requirements to be considered qualified for conditional acceptance and receive a seat offer:

    a) Proof of Grade 10 completion (or equivalent) OR mature student status

    b) Proof of meeting HCA Program Entry English Language Competency Requirements

    (i) For applicants with three years of full-time instruction in English*: English 10 completion or equivalent

    (ii) For applicants with less than three years of full-time instruction in English*: Standardized English language proficiency test score

    *Defined as three (3) years of full-time secondary and/or post-secondary education at a recognized institution3 on the list of Approved English-Speaking Countries. Secondary education will be considered starting from grade 8. English as a Second Language (ESL) courses will not be considered.

    Additional Requirements

    All applicants must submit:

    • Completed HCA program application form.
    • Completed computer knowledge self-assessment form. To be successful in coursework and support job readiness, students need to possess basic computer skills including navigation of the internet, file management, accessing online information, email, and word processing.
    • Three completed personal references from counsellors, employers, instructors, or supervisors.
    • Official transcripts of all secondary and post-secondary education; an interim transcript statement is acceptable if the applicant is currently taking a prerequisite.
    • Domestic students must submit a Criminal Record Check (CRC) clearance letter by the Criminal Record Check from the Criminal Records Review Program, including clearance to work with vulnerable adults.
    • International students must submit a clear police certificate from the country of origin prior to acceptance given that HCA students provide care to vulnerable clients within the practice education portion of the program. To avoid potential hardship for students arriving from another country, the police certificate is an admission requirement. For further information, see information provided at: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/application/medical-police/police-certificates/how.html
    Graduation and Promotion

    Promotion to Semester 2 requires satisfactory completion of all courses in Semester 1. Semester 3 requires satisfactory completion of all courses in Semester 2, Semester 4 requires satisfactory completion of all courses in Semester 3.

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    Pharmacy Technician - Diploma

    Prepare for employment as a pharmacy technician in a variety of settings, including community, hospital and residential pharmacies.
    Program at a Glance
    Length
    15 months
    Accreditation
    Diploma
    Delivery Mode
    On Campus
    Online
    Campus
    Online
    Intake Dates
    Fall
    Contacts
    Melissa Bleier
    Program Coordinator, Instructor
    Phone
    1 (250) 365-7292
    21285
    Direct
    1 (250) 509-0136
      Overview

      Pharmacy technicians work collaboratively with pharmacists and members of the health care team in the promotion of wellness, disease prevention and the management of chronic diseases. Pharmacy technicians are responsible and accountable for ensuring accuracy in product preparation and release. Graduates have the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to meet the entry-level competencies defined by the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA).

      The program has been awarded the status of full accreditation by the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs.

      Graduates of the program are eligible for direct admission into the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada certification process and the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia registration process.

      Highlights

      • Career ready in 15 months—condensed diploma
      • Flexible learning with theory courses completed online (asynchronous)
      • 8-week in-person lab in Castlegar, Duncan or Prince George
      • Small class sizes, instructor led and supported
      • Fully accredited with Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP)
      • In demand! Nearly flawless employability rate for our grads!

      The program is delivered using a blend of online theory courses, in-person lab classes and practicum hours in both hospital and community. The program is 15 months in length and consist of three theory semesters, one lab semester and ten weeks of practicum. Students complete eight weeks of in-person labs with Selkirk College on the Castlegar Campus, or as a transfer credit with Vancouver Island University on the Cowichan campus or the College of New Caledonia on the Prince George campus, where they apply theory learned in the online courses and prepare for practicum.  

      Please note, seats for the Vancouver Island cohort, with labs in Duncan, are full for the August 2024 intake. Qualified applicants may be placed on a waitlist or hold their application for the August 2025 intake.

      Consider this program if you:

      • Are detailed-oriented and well organized
      • Enjoy working in a fast-paced team environment
      • Are self-motivated and committed to lifelong learning
      • Have strong interpersonal communication skills
      • Are a critical thinker
      • Enjoy computer technology
      • Are caring and empathetic
      Halley Whittleton, Pharmacy Technician
      The best part about studying at Selkirk College was the flexibility with the course format, as well as being able to stay in our beautiful Kootenay region. When I decided to go back to school, the administration was very helpful in guiding me to a program that would work best with my lifestyle and long-term goals.
      Halley Whittleton, Pharmacy Technician
      Study Online and Practice Close to Home!
      New option of eight-week in-person labs in partnership with Vancouver Island University, Cowichan Campus, or in partnership with the College of New Caledonia, Prince George Campus!
      Program Outcomes

      Graduates of the Pharmacy Technician Program will meet the competencies and educational outcomes as set out by the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) and the Canadian Pharmacy Technician Educators Association (CPTEA):

      1. Practice within legal requirements, demonstrate professionalism and uphold professional standards of practice, codes of ethics and policies
      2. Participate in meeting the patient’s health goals and drug-related needs by establishing caring and professional relationships
      3. Contribute to a safe, effective and efficient product distribution and release in the practice setting
      4. Support health promotion activities for patients, communities and populations in collaboration with the pharmacist and other health professionals
      5. Make theory-based and evidence-informed decisions in practice, ensuring safe and effective product distribution
      6. Collaborate with members of the intra- and inter-professional health teams to support the delivery of comprehensive services and ensure continuity of care
      7. Communicate effectively with patients, the pharmacy team, other health professionals and the public, including the provision of patient education
      8. Contribute to quality control and support a culture of safety in practice

      BC high school graduation or equivalent with 60% or higher in:

      • Biology 12
      • English Studies 12
      • Chemistry 11
      • Pre-Calculus 11 or Foundations of Math 12

      English language proficiency: Applicants are required to submit documentation of one of the following as evidence of language proficiency:

      • Graduation from a high school in Canada with three consecutive first language English courses/credits
      • Language proficiency test results that meet the NAPRA Language Proficiency Requirements for licensure as a Pharmacy Technician in Canada
      • An undergraduate degree from a university in Canada whose instruction was provided in English
      Additional Requirements
      • Criminal record check (CRC) from the BC Ministry of Justice
      • College Readiness Tool (CRT) Assessment
      • Applicant information questionnaire (found in application package)
      • Current computer skills, including knowledge/skill in navigating the internet, word processing, file management and email. Applicants are encouraged to complete the Computer Skills Self-Assessment.
      • Immunizations for health care workers as established by the BC Ministry of Health prior to starting practicum
      • WHMIS, Basic First Aid and CPR (C) completed prior to starting lab courses
      • Official transcripts from high school and all post-secondary institutions attended (mailed directly from the Ministry of Education and educational institutions)
      • Official transcripts, equivalence reports and English proficiency test results for internationally educated applicants

      Qualified applicants are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Early application is recommended.

      Graduation and Promotion

      In order to progress from one semester to the next, students are required to achieve a minimum of 80% in all published prerequisite courses (e.g., PTEC 126 Pharmacology I and PTEC 216 Pharmacology II).

      Term 1

      PTEC 101 Introduction to the Pharmacy Technician Program and Online Learning for Success. This course introduces students to the Pharmacy Technician Program structure and how to navigate the online learning management system (Moodle). An overview of the curriculum, teaching learning approaches and strategies for success are discussed. Students are introduced to the steps required to become a Registered Pharmacy Technician in Canada.

      Prerequisites
      Admission to the Pharmacy Technician Program
      Credits
      1.00

      PTEC 102 Anatomy, Physiology and Medical Terminology is an introduction to medical language, and the anatomy and physiology of the human body using a body system approach. Students will learn to describe normal functioning of body systems and begin to explore the pathophysiology of common diseases and medical conditions that will be covered in Pharmacology I and Pharmacology II.

      Prerequisites
      PTEC 101
      Corequisites
      PTEC 111
      Credits
      4.00

      PTEC 103 Introduction to Professional Practice introduces students to the professional practice and scope of practice requirements for pharmacy technicians.  Foundations for federal and provincial laws, regulations and standards that govern pharmacy practice in the Canadian health care system are examined. Foundations for ethical, professional practice are introduced and leveled in subsequent courses.

      Prerequisites
      PTEC 101, PTEC 102, PTEC 111
      Corequisites
      PTEC 117
      Credits
      4.00

      PTEC 111 Interpersonal Communications in Pharmacy focuses on self-awareness and effective interpersonal communication skills required of professionals working on the health care team and as an online learner. Students learn how to actively listen and respond, account for differences that may influence understanding and engagement in conversation, and use communication strategies to support personal wellness and professional boundaries.

      Prerequisites
      PTEC 101
      Corequisites
      PTEC 102
      Credits
      3.00

      PTEC 117 Fundamentals of Product Distribution provides an introduction to pharmacy language, drug dosage forms, routes of administration, and techniques and procedures required to implement safe and efficient drug distribution. Students explore drug distribution systems and the path of a prescription / drug order for release of product. Students access resources to support evidence-informed decision-making. Factors that contribute to errors in product distribution are examined and actions to prevent occurrence are discussed.

      Prerequisites
      PTEC 101, PTEC 102, PTEC 111
      Corequisites
      PTEC 103
      Credits
      4.00
      Term 2

      PTEC 122 Pharmacy Calculations covers the mathematical skills required in the practice of pharmacy. Students examine measurement systems, decimals, fractions, and ratio and proportion concepts. The metric system, in keeping with health care standards in Canada, is a main focus of the course. The interpretation of numerals, symbols and Latin abbreviations used in the pharmacy is a focus within all course assignments and exams. Exploration of dilution and concentration, percentage strength, and compounding calculations prepare students for hands on lab classes in dispensing, compounding and sterile product preparation. Emphasis is placed on completing all calculations with 100% accuracy in preparation for application and testing in the lab classes and practicum.

      Prerequisites
      Successful completion of Semester 1 courses.
      Corequisites
      PTEC 126, PTEC 123
      Credits
      4.00

      PTEC 123 Professional Practice II is designed to expand the student's understanding of and appreciation for the expectations of professional practice. Building on concepts introduced in PTEC 103, students discuss ethical and legal principles that guide professional practice and how to respond when unethical, illegal or unprofessional actions are observed. The student will examine federal and provincial legislation details that guide pharmacy operations and drug distribution. Basic principles will be applied to support optimal patient care and health promotion.

      Prerequisites
      Successful completion of Semester 1 courses.
      Corequisites
      PTEC 122, PTEC 126
      Credits
      3.00

      PTEC 126 Pharmacology I is part one of a two-part course that covers the study of drugs and their properties, effects, and therapeutic value in the major drug categories. Upon completion, students will be able to place common drugs into correct therapeutic categories and identify indications, side effects, trade and generic names, major drug interactions and storage considerations. Students will learn the essentials of pharmacology and how it relates to dispensing and patient safety. Students will explore and practice assessing when a patient should be referred to a pharmacist, identify drug related problems and discuss appropriate monitoring parameters. Knowledge gained in this course will support the pharmacy technician within their scope of practice in a collaborative interprofessional health care team.

      Prerequisites
      Successful completion of Semester 1 courses in PTEC Program
      Credits
      4.00

      PTEC 127 Community Practice Theory examines the role of the pharmacy technician in prescription processing, documentation and product distribution in community pharmacies. Students examine all technical aspects of receiving, verifying, and processing prescriptions to ensure accuracy, safety and compliance with legislation, regulatory requirements and best practices. The principles and processes of record keeping, inventory management, adjudication and billing are studied. Students are introduced to the principles of non-sterile compounding and examine the use of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, natural health products and complementary treatments. The pharmacy technician's collaborative role in health promotion and information sharing activities with patients is examined.

      Prerequisites
      PTEC 122, PTEC 117
      Corequisites
      PTEC 128
      Credits
      3.00

      PTEC 128 Interpersonal Communications in Pharmacy II explores more advanced communication skills required for obtaining comprehensive personal health information, conducting medication histories, and engaging in health teaching. The pharmacy technician's role in health promotion activities and public health initiatives are examined. Students discuss the competencies of intra and inter-professional collaborative practice in greater detail.

      Prerequisites
      PTEC 111, PTEC 122, PTEC 123
      Corequisites
      PTEC 127
      Credits
      3.00
      Term 3

      PTEC 213 Transition to Professional Practice is designed to support students in preparing for preceptorship, licensure exams upon graduation, and entry to practice. Students build on their knowledge of regulatory requirements, jurisprudence, and ethical and professional practice.

      Prerequisites
      Successful completion of Semester 1 and 2 courses in PTEC Program
      Corequisites
      PTEC 217
      Credits
      2.00

      PTEC 216 Pharmacology II is part two of a two-part course that covers the study of drugs and their properties, effects, and therapeutic value in the major drug categories. Upon completion, students will be able to place common drugs into correct therapeutic categories and identify indications, side effects, trade and generic names, major drug interactions and storage considerations. Students will learn the essentials of pharmacology and how it relates to dispensing and patient safety. Students will explore and practice assessing when a patient should be referred to a pharmacist, identify drug related problems and discuss appropriate monitoring parameters. Knowledge gained in this course will support the pharmacy technician within their scope of practice in a collaborative interprofessional health care team.

      Prerequisites
      PTEC 126
      Credits
      4.00

      PTEC 217 Institutional Pharmacy Practice builds on the fundamentals of product distribution previously learned and examines the role of Pharmacy Technicians employed in institutional settings. Students examine hospital drug distribution systems and processes, medication safety, principles of infection control and sterile product preparation, and quality assurance / risk management practices.

      Prerequisites
      Successful completion of Semester 1 and 2 courses in PTEC Program
      Corequisites
      PTEC 213
      Credits
      3.00
      Term 4

      PTEC 220 Technology for Product Distribution introduces students to the management of database information and technology used in the pharmacy to dispense medications. Students apply concepts learned in previous theory courses to pharmacy case study scenarios using pharmacy dispensing software. Accuracy and completeness of database information and appropriate use of technology systems to support safe product distribution are emphasized. Concepts explored in this course provide a foundation for subsequent lab courses in the program.

      Prerequisites
      Completion of Semester 3 in PTEC Program
      Credits
      2.00

      PTEC 221 Prescription Dispensing is a experiential lab course in which students apply the knowledge and skills acquired from previous theory courses to process and dispense prescriptions safely, efficiently and effectively in community practice settings. Students practice the technical aspects of processing prescriptions including interpreting prescriptions, performing calculations, documentation, and verification. Principles of inventory management and best practices in pharmacy record keeping are integrated into the learning activities. Students apply and demonstrate effective interpersonal communication and health teaching skills associated with the dispensing process.

      Prerequisites
      Completion of Semester 3 in the PTEC Program
      Credits
      2.00

      PTEC 223 Institutional Dispensing and Sterile Product Preparation is a experiential lab course in which students learn the aseptic skills required to prepare a variety of parenteral products. Students apply the knowledge and skills acquired from previous theory courses to process and dispense prescriptions safely, efficiently and effectively in hospital practice settings. Students practice the technical aspects of processing prescriptions including interpreting prescriptions, performing calculations, documentation, and verification. Principles of inventory management and best practices in pharmacy record keeping are integrated into the learning activities. Safety, dosage calculations, incompatibilities, sterile procedure, and quality assurance controls are emphasized.

      Prerequisites
      Successful completion of Semester 3 in the PTEC Program
      Credits
      3.00

      PTEC 224 Non-Sterile Compounding is a experiential lab course in which students learn the skills and best practices for compounding non-sterile products including ingredient calculations, measurements, and preparation techniques for creams, ointments, solutions, and suspensions. Students use compounding formulas and drug stability and drug compatibility reference materials in the preparation of products with an emphasis on accuracy and safety. Maintenance of compounding equipment and workspace utilization are integrated into the learning activities.

      Prerequisites
      Successful completion of Semester 3 in the PTEC Program
      Credits
      2.00
      Term 5

      PTEC 230 Community Practicum provides students with the opportunity to consolidate and apply the knowledge, skills and values attained from theory and lab courses. Students gain experience in all aspects of the pharmacy technician role in the community setting and are evaluated based on their ability to demonstrate professional competencies required for entry to practice.

      Prerequisites
      Successful completion of Semesters 1 - 4 in the PTEC Program
      Credits
      4.50

      PTEC 231 Institutional Practicum provides students with the opportunity to consolidate and apply the knowledge, skills and values attained from theory and lab courses. Students gain experience in all aspects of the pharmacy technician role in the institutional practice and are evaluated based on their ability to demonstrate professional competencies required for entry to practice.

      Prerequisites
      Successful completion of Semesters 1- 4 in the PTEC Program
      Credits
      4.5

      All amounts are estimates and are subject to change. Tuition amounts are based on a full-time course load. Please note that many programs have additional costs beyond those listed here. For more information, please visit Tuition & Fees.

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