This program is eligible for Canada-Alberta Job Grant funding.
As our population grows and ages, there is a vital need for trained professionals to provide pharmacy-related assistance. This program trains students to become knowledgeable and skilled pharmacy assistants. Theory is taught in class and practiced in the laboratory. A 160-hour retail fieldwork practicum completes the training. The pharmacy assistant is responsible for receiving prescriptions, preparing drugs, undertaking clerical and computer duties, managing inventory and providing customer service.
Pharmacy assistants must always work directly under the supervision and guidance of the pharmacist and/or pharmacy technician. They allow the pharmacist to spend more time with the client in his or her care.
In this five-month certificate program, students spend approximately 16 hours per week on campus in theory-based courses and laboratory practice. Course content in the first semester includes pharmacy concepts, pharmaceutical calculations, body systems and pharmaceutical implications and order processing, as well as professional standards and workplace communications. In the second semester, students complete their practicum in a community retail pharmacy to gain competency integrating theoretical knowledge with dispensing practice and customer service.
Students must have a personal computer and access to the Internet. Most classes are taught at SAIT, but some require online access. All courses require additional self-study.
Graduates may work in community-based retail pharmacies. Opportunities also exist in hospital pharmacies and long-term care facilities as pharmacy assistants.
Students with higher secondary or post-secondary marks usually experience greater success in SAIT's programs.
Students who experience success in this program have effective communication skills in English.
Pharmacy assistants are detail oriented in the care they provide and enjoy working in a team environment.
As keyboarding and basic computer skills are not taught in this program, students are expected to be proficient in these areas prior to admission. We strongly recommend that the student have a typing speed of 35 wpm or better.
Credentials and accreditation
After successfully completing this program, graduates will receive a SAIT Pharmacy Assistant certificate.
There are no formal accreditation arrangements at this time. Please contact the department for more information.
Once completed, this SAIT credential may be eligible for transfer credit at another post-secondary institution. Visit transfer Options to learn more about the transfer agreements currently available to SAIT graduates and incoming students.
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Admission and selection
- Fall 2019 start: applications open Oct. 3, 3019.
- Winter 2020 start: applications open May 1, 2019.
Completion of the following courses or equivalents with an overall average of at least 60%:
- Math 30-1 or Math 30-2 or Pure Math 30 or Applied Math 30
- English Language Arts 30-1 or English Language Arts 30-2.
- All applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency prior to admission, including students educated in Canada.
SAIT evaluates international documents for admissions. After you've applied, consider our international document assessment service if your education is from outside of Canada.
Competitive entry: six-step process
Step 1: Read the program information to see the qualities needed for student success.
Step 2: Ensure that you meet all of the admission requirements listed above.
Step 3: Review the selection information to understand the process and deadlines
- Applications and proof of the admission requirements (transcripts and/or anticipated final grades) along with all supporting documents must be submitted to be included in selection.
- Applications will be reviewed on a continuous basis, and there will be 32 seats offered each intake.
- In the selection process, qualified applicants will be academically ranked based on admission requirements. Seats will be offered accordingly.
Step 5: Log in to mySAIT.ca to check your admission status. If eligible, your status will indicate that you're "In Selection."
Failure to meet anticipated final grades will result in offers being rescinded.
Communication during selection
Email is the primary source of communication during the selection process. Ensure your personal email account is managed appropriately to receive our emails, files and communications. We recommend you add firstname.lastname@example.org and the sait.ca domain to your safe senders' list or you risk missing critical email messages.
The School of Health and Public Safety has many practica partners located within Alberta and across Canada. Practicum placements in Calgary are limited and students may be required to relocate outside of Calgary for practicum.
Successful candidates will be informed of the allocation of their practicum placement by the program. There is no guarantee that students will be placed at their desired practicum location. Special considerations of personal circumstances will not be given in regards to assigning practicum placements. Students will be responsible for fees associated with practica such as relocation and travel costs.
In compliance with the practica agreements with our clinical partners, successful candidates will be requested to provide proof of the following requirements:
Security clearance: According to the Protection for Persons in Care Act, our practica sites require that students obtain a Police Information Check including Vulnerable Sector Check, prior to going on practicum. Any criminal code offence for which a pardon has not been received may be a deterrent to a student's entry into practicum, and therefore will result in an uncompleted program or non-graduating status. Successful candidates will be asked to provide a clear Police Information Check including Vulnerable Sector Check record to the School of Health and Public Safety main office by orientation day. Please review the security clearance process document for specific details. Be aware that record must be dated no earlier than 90 days prior to your program orientation day (typically orientation day is held the week prior to the first day of class).
Health and wellness status: Due to the demanding nature of the work in the health care field and Occupational Health and Safety requirements, the health care field has a strong focus on health and wellness. Students with a medical condition or disability that may impact them in a practicum setting are strongly advised to discuss concerns with the program academic chair and/or SAIT Accessibility Services as soon as possible upon acceptance into the program. Please review the attached document for guidance on entering an allied health program with a medical condition or disability.
More details on the practica requirements per program are outlined on a pre-orientation website for successful candidates.
- This is a 19-week certificate offered over the fall/winter semesters or winter/spring semesters.
- This program is being reviewed and could undergo changes.
- View additional Pharmacy Assistant program information including course-specific descriptions and requisites.
|Course code||Course name||Credit|
|PHAR-212||Order Processing 1||1.5|
|PHAR-214||Body Systems and Pharmaceutical Implications 1||1.5|
|PHAR-223||Order Processing 2||1.5|
|PHAR-227||Body Systems and Pharmaceutical Implications 2||1.5|
|PHAR-232||Professional Standards and Ethics||1.5|
|PHAR-234||Order Processing 3||1.5|
|PHAR-236||Body Systems and Pharmaceutical Implications 3||1.5|
|PHAR-247||Compounding and Inventory Management||1.5|
|PHAR-248||Body Systems and Pharmaceutical Implications 4||1.5|
|Semester 1 total||19.5|
|Course code||Course name||Credit|
|Semester 2 total||3.0|
Students must attain a PGPA and/or a CGPA of 2.0 or better in each semester and pass the necessary prerequisite courses to progress through the program. To qualify for graduation, students must pass all courses, attain a CGPA of 2.0 or better and complete course requirements within the prescribed timelines.
Domestic tuition and fees*
|Year||Tuition fees||SAIT fees||SAITSA fees||2018/19 total|
International tuition and fees*
|Year||Tuition fees||SAIT fees||SAITSA fees||2018/19 total|
Campus athletic and recreation fee: N/A
Universal Transit Pass (UPass): You may be eligible to purchase a UPass.
SAIT Students' Association fees
Health Plan: N/A
Dental Plan: N/A
SAIT Students' Association (SAITSA): N/A
Books and supplies*
- Students are responsible for any additional expenses related to their practicum including relocation costs to practicum sites outside of Calgary.
- There is a fee associated with obtaining a Police Information Check including Vulnerable Sector Check and is payable to the Police or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
- Books and supplies are approximately $500.
- Students must have a personal computer and access to the Internet. Most classes are taught at SAIT, but some require online access. All courses require additional self‐study.
Find out about tuition and financial aid.
* Tuition, fees, books and supply costs are subject to change.
School of Health and Public Safety
The hands-on learning that is an essential part of the program was what Lyndsay valued, saying it’s the best way to be trained for work in this industry.
“I feel prepared and ready to go.”