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Pharmacy Assistant Program and Career Courses 

In-class Diploma Program

  • 34 weeks total time to complete including a 6 week full time practical placement
  • Classes scheduled Monday to Friday, 4 hours per day

Online Distance Education Diploma Program

  • 34 weeks total time to complete based on 20 hours per week of dedicated learning plus homework
  • Includes a 6 week full time practical placement
  • Majority of the course content is completed online within pre-scheduled milestones
  • Instructor time is scheduled each week via video lectures
  • Practical labs are prescheduled and delivered in the Pharmacy Labs at the Ottawa location

Are you organized with strong customer service skills and interested in the health care industry? Then the Pharmacy Assistant program could be the right option for you! Pharmacy Assistants perform many tasks including filling prescriptions, compounding medications, inventory control, stocking shelves, keeping accurate records, point of sale transactions, answering phones and customer service. Pharmacy Assistants are a key part of the community pharmacy practice.


Approved as a vocational program under the Ontario Career Colleges Act, 2005.

Pharmacy Assistant or Pharmacy Technician?  

The Pharmacy Assistant program is focused on the essential knowledge and skills you need to begin a career in a community pharmacy. The Pharmacy Assistant program is 34 weeks so you can graduate and be working in the professional environment of a community pharmacy in about 8 months.


The scope of practice for a Pharmacy Assistant is not as broad as that of a Registered Pharmacy Technician. However, if you feel the health care field is right for you but you cannot commit to the longer study period, the more costly program, and the rigours and cost of writing professional licensing exams (such as with the Pharmacy Technician program), then the Pharmacy Assistant diploma program is the path for you.

Pharmacy Assistant Program Objective   

The Pharmacy Assistant diploma program is designed to prepare you for an entry-level position in a Community/Retail Pharmacy, Manufacturing Facility or Long-Term Care pharmacy. Throughout your Pharmacy Assistant courses, you will learn the history of pharmacy, legislation and health care systems; roles of the pharmacist, technician and assistant; the various pharmacy organizations in the province, and ethical standards. Understanding dispensary, medical and pharmaceutical terminology, prescription interpretation and the abbreviations, introduction to various dosage forms, and the various therapeutic classifications of drugs is part of the program. Other Pharmacy Assistant courses are Pharmacy Calculations, Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology, Pharmacology, and Pharmacy Compounding. You will have a specific course related to the Community Practice.

You will receive hands on training on operation and maintenance of the pharmacy software “Kroll”, entering prescriptions and printing labels, maintaining patient’s profile, drug search, doctor search, special instructions, third party billing and inventory management.  A well-equipped pharmacy lab provides students with hands on experience dispensing medications and compounding pharmaceuticals. Customer Service Fundamentals include verbal and written communication skills, customer service, dealing with professionals, peers and dispensary staff, problem solving techniques, handling complaints, and confidentiality.

This diploma program with the combination in-class learning, in-lab, hands on practical experience and co-op placement ensures you graduate with confidence in yourself and in your theoretical and practical skills.  

Take the "Algonquin Academy Pharmacy Assistant Career Training Readiness Quiz"

This fun, online quiz takes 3-minutes to complete and you’ll get a personalized report. Identify your strengths and social style plus the training and positions you are best suited for. Get your Pharmacy Assistant Career Training Readiness score now!

Pharmacy Assistant Practical Placements 

Algonquin Careers Academy has an excellent working relationship with various members of the medical industry. During the last four weeks of the program the Pharmacy Assistant program students will supplement their in-class training with an “on the job” placement arranged by Algonquin Careers Academy. The placement provides an opportunity to apply the lessons learned in the classroom, gain confidence, and open doors to future employment. Successful completion of the 225 hours of supervised placement is required for graduation.

Pharmacy Assistant Program Career Opportunities

The demand for workers in the Pharmacy Assistant field is expected to rise in order to meet the health care needs of a growing and aging population in Ontario. Career opportunities for Pharmacy Assistants exist in community/retail pharmacies, long-term care facilities, and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Pharmacy Assistant Wage Information

$/hr rate:

Median High
$22.00  $33.00

Source: Pharmacy Assistant (NOC 33103) Ontario, April 2024

Pharmacy Assistant Program Admission Requirements

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma or the equivalent, or if 18 years of age or over, you may apply as a mature student and write an entrance exam
  • Canadian Citizen, Landed Immigrant or Immigration approval
  • Assessment interview to determine suitability for the Pharmacy Assistant program 
  • A medical report including current immunizations is required for placement
  • Criminal background check is required for placement

Pharmacy Assistant Program Fee Information 

Tuition: $8,000   Textbooks and other fees: $966    International Student Fee: $2,000


Course Outline

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