We’ve spoken before about how vital the work of a pharmacy assistant is, but what if we told you that you could progress even further in the pharmacy job world by studying a bit more?
The Beginning of the Journey
For those people who are pursuing a career in pharmacy, you may start out as a pharmacy assistant. If you don’t go to university to gain a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Pharmacy, this is likely where you will begin. Pharmacy assistant jobs, while essential to the success of every pharmacy, have a relatively low barrier to entry. At the same time, the wages you earn will have a ceiling above them. For the most part, the maximum amount you will earn per hour as a pharmacy assistant is 16 dollars.
While this is better than minimum wage in all Canadian provinces and territories (the highest is in Alberta, at 15 dollars per hour), the truth of the matter is that you won’t be able to progress much in life if you earn that much forever. Working as a pharmacy assistant is a decent place to start, but if you are committed to working in pharmacy for the rest of your working years, it’s a sound investment to consider becoming an RPhT, which stands for Registered Pharmacy Technician. Depending on the location and the employer, RPhTs can earn between 21 and 27 dollars per hour, which is a dramatic increase in earnings! This is not to mention the upgrade in job duties. For example, rather than cashing out customers at the register and cleaning the pharmacy site, you will focus on procuring several maintenance drugs for patients (among other duties).
Building Your Work Experience
To get to this stage of a pharmacy career, you first need to add to your work experience. Before you enter any kind of higher education program, you should first of all determine whether working in a pharmacy is what you want to do. There is no point studying, only to find later that you don’t want to work in a pharmacy! If you do know that pharmacy is a field of employment that you are interested in, then you should find opportunities to build your knowledge of the inner workings of a pharmacy. You can contact our pharmacy staffing team and speak with any of our recruiters to find experience-building opportunities for entry level candidates.
Once you secure a series of relief pharmacy assistant positions and have started to make a positive impression with multiple employers, you can start thinking about further education, to bolster your resume and job applications.
Gaining Further Qualifications
The fact that you have previous work experience in a pharmacy will improve your chances of being accepted into a reputable pharmacy technician program. At the very minimum, you need to have high school qualifications in English, Math, Biology, and Chemistry. For instance, the admissions requirements for Centennial College’s pharmacy technician program in Toronto are as follows:
- “Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, or mature student status (19 years or older).
- English Grade 12 C or U, or equivalent (minimum grade required)
- Mathematics Grade 11 M or U, or 12 C or U, or equivalent (minimum grade required) or take the College CAAT D Math Skills Assessment for Admission
- Senior Biology Grade 11 C or U or Grade 12 C or U or equivalent (minimum grade required)
- Senior Chemistry Grade 11 C or U or Grade 12 C or U or equivalent (minimum grade required)”
Your provincial pharmacy governing body will very likely stipulate which academic programs they recognize. When you finish a pharmacy technician program at a post-secondary institution, you will then need to undergo a few more steps. In Ontario, this includes Structured Practical Training, a Jurisprudence Exam, the PEBC Qualifying Exam, and a licensing application.
Balancing Work and Your Studies
These qualifications are demanding to acquire, admittedly. However, if it is at all possible to continue taking relief pharmacy assistant shifts, we highly recommend that you do so. The more pharmacy-specific work experience you have, the better your chances are of gaining employment as an RPhT. Employers (our Clients that is) want to hire Candidates who are very focused on their pharmacy career path. If you’re following through on the above listed steps, chances are you are focused!
If you contact our pharmacy job placement team, we will work with you to find positions that will fit around your schedule of studying and attending classes. Our number one priority is that you study hard and gain your qualifications. Therefore, we will do everything we can to give you enough time to study, while adding to your work experience at the same time.
The Enormous Impact on Your Career
By watching the trends of the pharmacy world, we’ve noticed an increased demand in the number of RPhTs and pharmacy assistants. In 2019, any increase in employment opportunities should catch your attention. Job applications are more competitive than ever, so if you can increase the probability at all in gaining pharmacy employment, then you ought to make the most of that increased probability. RPI Consulting Group Inc. is Canada’s leading source for full-time, part-time, and locum pharmacy jobs—contact us so that we can source a job for you!