How do I get Pharmacy Training?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 17 January 2019
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There are four steps required to get pharmacy training: determine what type of role you want to have, identify the post-secondary education required, qualify for admissions, and complete the coursework. Pharmacy training can provide opportunities to work in a wide range of roles in the pharmaceutical and pharmacy industries. The pharmaceutical industry is focused on the creation of new prescription drugs and medications. The pharmacy industry is primarily responsible for the dispensing of these medications to clients with a prescription from a doctor.

There are two main roles in a pharmacy: pharmacists and pharmacy assistant or technician. The pharmacist is usually the owner of the pharmacy and is responsible for the overall management, operation of the pharmacy, and dispensing medication. The pharmacy assistant or technician reports directly to the pharmacist. They are responsible for the maintenance of inventory records, filling orders and assisting the pharmacist. The level of eduction required for these two positions is quite different, as are the salary and career advancement opportunities.

The first place to obtain pharmacy training is to register for a post-secondary education program. To become a pharmacist, you will need to gain admission to the School of Pharmacy in a university. The admission requirements for this program include high school credits in calculus, English, chemistry, biology, and technology. This is a highly competitive field of study and many schools require high marks, in addition to a personal interview or letters of reference.


To become a pharmacy assistant or technician, admission to community or career college is required. Pharmacy technician training programs are typically eight to 12 months in length and require high school credits in biology, chemistry, math, and English. Although these programs are competitive, they are much easier to gain admission to than a pharmacy degree.

Upon graduation, a pharmacist qualifies for positions in a pharmacy, hospital, or in the pharmaceutical industry. The starting salary range for a pharmacist is between $65,000 and $70,000 US Dollars (USD) per year. This type of pharmacy training is intense, grueling, and quite demanding.

A pharmacy technician qualifies for positions in a pharmacy, hospital or long-term care facility. The starting salary range for a pharmacy technician is between $21,000 and $28,000 USD per year. This type of pharmacy training is shorter and designed to have a shorter transition into the world of work.

The course work for a degree in pharmacy is quite detailed, with a significant amount of time spent on organic and synthetic chemistry, human biology, and laboratory procedures. This program is at least four years in length and the pass mark for most courses is between 65 percent and 70 percent. The course work for a diploma in pharmacy technology is very practical, providing instructions on mixing chemicals, safe storage and handling procedures, and possible drug interactions.



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