Pharmacists are an important medical team in our community to dispense medication and give explanations on how to safely use them. It is a rewarding career in Canada because the community and individuals are always in need of them. And here, we have the steps on how to become a pharmacist in Canada- keep following!.
In this article, we will explore what pharmacists are, the skills they need for this job, the positions to fill, and how to become a pharmacist in Canada. Don’t miss a step.
What is a pharmacist?
Pharmacists are experts in dispensing medications to patients. They understand how prescriptions work and what is safe to prescribe for the right patient. Basically, pharmacist ensures that their patient understands how to take their medicine.
Mind you, a pharmacist will not work on their own, they will receive a prescription form signed by a doctor or specialist to know the necessary medication to offer patients. Also, as a pharmacist, you will review the medication prescribed to patients to confirm if it is effective and safe for the patient’s medical needs. In cases whereby a patient is offered an over-the-counter medication, that means the pharmacist is the first medical personnel a patient is meeting.
What does a pharmacist do?
There are many functions of pharmacists in hospitals, retail pharmacies, and health care facilities. Not only does a pharmacist provide advice to patients and dispense medicines, but they also carry out the following responsibilities.
- Oversee pharmacy assistants and technicians.
- Administer vaccines.
- Test patient’s cholesterol and blood sugar level.
- Submit paperwork and fill out insurance forms.
- Run screening tests for conditions like asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure.
- Carry out administrative duties like restocking shelves, updating health records, and filing documents.
Skills needed to be a pharmacist in Canada
Like any other occupation or job, there are specific skills needed to become a pharmacist in
Canada. Without a doubt, pharmacists must be vast in clinical pharmaceutical knowledge and have some soft skills to perform their responsibilities and duties. We have the analysis of the skills needed to be a pharmacist below.
#1. Problem-solving and analytical skills
Basically, you will be helping patients with assessing their medical needs and giving them the right medication. So, you need to be able to analyze and cross-check the effect of multiple medications to ensure that patients are safe.
#2. Teamwork skills
In most cases, you will be working in large clinical settings where you will work alongside physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals. Having teamwork skills will enable you to listen attentively and share your ideas with other professionals.
#3. Interpersonal and communication skills
Communication is key in any organization. To become a successful pharmacist in Canada you must have an absolute understanding of communicating effectively with patients, as well as interacting with physicians.
#4. Attention to detail
Without a doubt, you must provide customers with safe medication by strictly following prescriptions. Therefore, you must be organized and attentive to every detail listed on a prescription note.
#5. Computer literacy
Oftentimes, computer systems will be used to update prescriptions on patients’ records and confirm insurance details and information. Hence, you must know how to use the software system to enter data.
#6. Leadership skills
As a pharmacist, you must be able to guide pharmacy clerks, pharmacy technicians, and other professionals to achieve the desired goal. Also, you must be able to lead and motivate people including co-workers and patients.
Positions to fill as a pharmacist in Canada
Basically, in any establishment and organization pharmacists can take up different roles. And here, we have the list of job positions you can apply for as a pharmacist in Canada.
#1. Clinical pharmacist
A clinical pharmacist is a pharmacist that will work with nurses, physicians, and other professionals to monitor patients and dispense medications. Basically, they determine if a medication is good for a patient and advises medical professionals about changing the medication plans of specific patients. Their salary is about $110,000 a year.
#2. Staff pharmacist
A staff pharmacist is one of the ideal pharmacists you can become in Canada. Where you will dispense medication and manage pharmacy operations. You will also implement safety controls, analyze reports, and educate patients on how to take their medications. Mind you, part of your duties include ensuring compliance with legal regulations and review of quality assurance.
#3. Pharmacist in charge
A pharmacist in charge will oversee and implement the daily operations of the pharmacy. In this job role, you are to respond to questions from patients and also recruit pharmacy staff. If a particular drug is outdated you will be in charge of disposing of expired drugs and ordering new ones. The salary of a pharmacist in charge is about $139,000 a year.
#4. Pharmacy manager
Here’s another job role you can assume as a pharmacist in Canada. You will oversee the daily operation of the pharmacy while providing customer service and maintaining the medication database. Also, you will have to prescribe medication and consult a medical professional if need be. The salary of a pharmacy manager is about $105,000 a year.
#5. Director of pharmacy
This is the head of a pharmacy. A director of a pharmacy will oversee the management and operation of a pharmacy. While ensuring that patients receive the best care and also managing the activities of staff members.
Basically, you will have to buy and store medications as well as implement plans and introduce operation programs to improve customer service. The salary of a director of pharmacy is about $107,000 a year.
Become a Pharmacist In Canada in 5 Steps
Being a successful pharmacist in Canada requires that you give your best to improve yourself academically, experience, and other skills. You have to be intentional about your career, so we will be giving you the five steps to becoming a pharmacist in Canada.
Step one: Enroll in a university and earn a degree
Basically, to become a pharmacist in Canada, the first step to consider is to earn a degree in pharmacy. Earning a bachelor’s degree can take four years to complete, while a doctor of pharmacy degree (PharmD) usually takes about two years. Note that you can proceed to earn a postgraduate degree to increase your chances of employment.
Step two: Sit for the national board examination through the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC)
The next step to becoming a pharmacist in Canada after earning a university degree or pharmacy program is to take the national board exam. The examination will test you in the areas of practice setting; patient care; health promotion; communication and education; intra and interprofessional collaboration; quality and safety; ethical, legal, and professional responsibilities; as well as knowledge and research application.
Basically, there are two parts to this examination. the first part is a multiple-choice question, while, the other part is an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).
Step three: gain practical work experience
So the next step to becoming a pharmacist is to complete a practical training session program. This program is often carried out under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist.
This experience can be gotten through an apprenticeship, corp, or an internship program, where you will practicalize what you’ve learned in school.
Step four: Join a professional organization and get a license
The Canadian Pharmacist Association is one of the professional organizations you can join as a pharmacist in Canada. There are also regulatory bodies in your territory or province, where you can get a license. For instance, in British Columbia, the College of pharmacists of British Columbia is a regulatory body for pharmacists over there.
Step five: Be fluent in either French or English
It is no longer news that the official language in Canada is French and English. Therefore, to become a successful pharmacist in Canada, you must learn and be vast in any of the official languages of Canada. This will enable you to carry out your duties and responsibilities effortlessly.How to Become a Lecturer in Canada
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the fastest way to become a pharmacist in Canada?
Getting a bachelor’s degree in related courses to a pharmacy is important to set you up for further pharmacy education. However, a pre-pharmacy program is often fast.
Is pharmacy hard to study?
Basically, pharmacy is one of the toughest courses to study because it will cover some courses in all parts of science.
Are pharmacists happy with their job?
According to data, pharmacists are moderately contented and happy with their job roles.
What are the work benefits that pharmacists get?
The different packages for pharmacists in Canada include coverage for dental, vision, life, medical insurance, retirement plans, and sick leave.
How many hours does a pharmacist work in Canada?
Averagely, a pharmacist can work up to 44 hours a week.
Without a doubt, the duties and functions of pharmacists in our community cannot be overemphasized. They ensure that the right dose of medicine is given to patients while explaining how to use them. So, we have provided the steps and other necessary information needed to become a successful pharmacist in Canada.