Students prepare prescriptions.

Pharmacy Assistant (Part-Time Blended)

Open for Spring 2020

Length: 5 Months
Credential: Certificate
Available: Part Time Blended

Program Highlights

Train to assist pharmacists by preparing drugs, managing inventory and helping with customers through this program that combines theory and hands-on instruction. Pharmacy assistants can find work in hospitals, long-term care facilities and retail pharmacies. This blended steam offers lectures online, labs on campus and a practicum outside of Calgary.

Next information session

All information sessions

Tuition and fees per year*

Year 1: $6,652
Year 1 (International): $14,390

*Tuition, fees, books and supply costs are subject to change


This is a direct entry program. Applicants who meet the admission requirements are offered spots based on first qualified, first acceptance if space is available.

When can you apply?

  • Applications for spring 2020 are accepted until the program start date.
Term Program start
Spring 2020 May. 4, 2020

Check us out

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 four‐week 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.

Program Details

Canada-Alberta Job Grant This program is eligible for Canada-Alberta Job Grant funding.

Program description

As our population grows and ages, there is a vital need for trained professionals to provide pharmacy-related assistance. Pharmacy Assistants are integral to healthcare delivery. Under the supervision and guidance of a Pharmacist, Pharmacy Assistants navigate a fast-paced environment as they work directly with patients, and facilitate the Pharmacist’s ability to spend the appropriate time on ensuring optimal levels of patient care. Specifically, Pharmacy Assistants are responsible for providing holistic patient service that includes receiving and preparing prescriptions, performing clerical and administrative functions, and managing inventory.

SAIT’s Pharmacy Assistant certificate program trains students to become knowledgeable and skilled Pharmacy Assistants capable of meeting patient needs. The program includes training in pharmaceutical concepts and calculations, body systems and pharmaceutical implications, order processing, workplace communications, and professional standards. Through a combination of theoretical learning, simulated laboratory experience, and hands-on practicum work, students will become fully prepared for employment as Pharmacy Assistants in a variety of settings.

The blended stream offers lecture online and labs on campus, followed by a 160 hour retail fieldwork practicum placement. Practicums will be arranged outside of the Calgary area, in collaboration with SAIT’s partner pharmacies. Though location is not guaranteed, students are encouraged to consider an ideal practicum location. There is a high demand for pharmacy assistants in Edmonton and surrounding area.

In order to accommodate students with significant distance to travel, on campus lab days will be scheduled in groups of four to five consecutive days, and occur approximately once per month.

Your career

Graduates may work in community-based retail pharmacies. Opportunities also exist in hospital pharmacies and long-term care facilities as pharmacy assistants.

Student success

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.

Students require a personal computer and access to the Internet. Please note that the pharmacy software used in this program is not compatible with Apple products

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.

Transfer options

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.

Have questions? Write to us at

Admission Requirements

Admission and selection

  • Spring 2020 start: applications are open and are accepted until the program start date. 

Admission requirements

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 accepts high school course equivalents for admission. If you don't meet the requirements, consider Academic Upgrading.

SAIT evaluates international documents for admissions. After you've applied, consider our international document assessment service if your education is from outside of Canada. 

Direct Entry: four-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: Apply to Pharmacy Assistant (Part-Time Blended) and submit your transcripts and/or anticipated final grades.

  • Admission will be extended on a first-qualified, first-offered basis until the program is full.
  • A minimum of 18 seats will be offered for the spring intake.

Step 4: Find out how to monitor your application status after you apply.

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 and the domain to your safe senders' list or you risk missing critical email messages. 

Practicum requirements

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.


Program outline

  • This is a 19-week certificate offered over the spring/fall semester.
  • This program is being reviewed and could undergo changes. 
  • View additional Pharmacy Assistant program information including course-specific descriptions and requisites.

Fall intake

Semester 1

Course code Course name Credit
PHAR-203 Pharmacy Concepts 1.5
PHAR-204 Pharmaceutical Calculations 1.5
PHAR-211 Assistive Devices 1.5
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
PROF-240* Healthcare Professionalism 1.5
Semester 1 total 19.5

Semester 2

Course code Course name Credit
PRAC-213 Practicum 3.0
Semester 2 total 3.0
Program total 22.5


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 Health & Dental Plan 2019/20 total
1 $5,667 $462 $288 $235 $6,652

International Tuition and Fees*

Year Tuition fees SAIT fees SAITSA fees Health & Dental Plan 2019/20 total
1 $13,180 $462 $288 $460 $14,390


Campus Athletic and Recreation Fee: $160
Universal Transit Pass (UPass): $302 - Check eligibility here 

Health and Dental Fees

Domestic Students 

  • Health Plan: $110
  • Dental Plan: $125
  • For students with existing health and/or dental plans, please refer to the SAITSA website for information on opting out.

International Students 

  • Health and Dental Plan: $460
  • For more information on Health and Dental Benefits for International students please contact the International Centre.

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

Inspiring Stories

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.

Lyndsay Stange
Pharmacy Assistant | 2016

“I feel prepared and ready to go.”

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