What It Takes to Be a Pharmacist in a Canadian Pharmacy

What It Takes to Be a Pharmacist in a Canadian Pharmacy

Its 100 percent true that you can get a better deal buying your prescription drugs from a Canadian Pharmacy. Canada’s health care system drastically cuts the high cost of pharmaceuticals, making them much more affordable and attainable to those who really need them. Luckily, if you live in the United States, you can take advantage of the amazing prices available through Canadian pharmacies, and you can even get the medications you need delivered right to your door if you order online, saving you a daily errand.

Many Americans are skeptical about the quality of the drugs available through online Canadian pharmacies. How can they cut prices up to 95 percent and still be a reliable and legitimate source of prescription drugs? If you’re unsure about how Canadian pharmacists stack up to those in the United States, here’s some information about how Canadian pharmacists are trained to dispense your important medications.

Education & Background Details

Canadian pharmacists must have virtually the same education as pharmacists in the United States. Though the specifics of the Canadian health care system vary from province to province — just as certain details of the Affordable Care Act are determined by individual U.S. states — there are federal standards alongside province licensure requirements.

There are a total of 10 accredited pharmacy schools in Canada, eight English-speaking and two French-speaking in Quebec. Every single Canadian pharmaceutical program is associated with a medical program within a research-centered university environment. These schools are accredited by the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs, a federal program that makes sure the schools are upholding certain standards.

Though each individual school has its own standards for admission — like any U.S. graduate degree program — all schools require at least five years of post secondary education before receiving the Bachelor of Science in pharmacy (BScPhm) degree, which is the only entry-level degree for the profession.

Licensure Requirements

Licensing Canadian Pharmacists

You may be familiar with the U.S. law that requires health care students to take national boards in order to be licensed and certified to practice in the country. Canada has similar requirements. After completing their education and receiving their BScPhm, potential Canadian pharmacists must pass the national board examination as well as a series of provincial licensing exams in order to become full-fledged pharmacists. The national exams are created and reviewed by the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC), while each province has its own individual licensing board. The exam created by the PEBC has, since 2001, come in two parts:

    1. A multiple choice test of clinical and therapeutic knowledge requiring two days to complete
    2. A 16-station objective clinical examination test

Potential candidates must successfully complete both portions of the test before being eligible for full-fledged licensure in their province.

Apprenticeship or Internship

Before pharmacists can be considered fully trained, they must work for a year or more under an established pharmacist to learn to the details of the industry. As any degreed worker knows, university doesn’t usually prepare its graduates for everything they should expect in their intended job; pharmacy programs, though rigorous, are no different.

During their apprenticeship (or internship; the nomenclature depends on the program itself) pharmacists will gain hands-on experience with medications, patients and diseases. The Canadian internship system is especially similar to U.S. programs. Young pharmacists will practice working with stringent pharmacy laws and ethics to keep their patients safe and healthy. Where new pharmacists complete their internship is wholly dependent on where they were licensed and where they hope to work in the future. Most programs will ask their apprentice pharmacists to come aboard as fully trained pharmacists once their training is complete to ensure that the time and money they put into training these professionals goes right back to those qualified pharmacies.

The Future of Pharmacist Requirements in Canada

As more and more people are attaining postsecondary educations and receiving degrees, many Canadian provinces are starting to consider more stringent requirements for their pharmacists. Doctoral degrees in pharmacy (Pharm.D.s) are not, as yet, required by any of the provinces, though Quebec is moving to enhance their pharmacists with Pharm.D.s. As the country looks to improve the standards for their health care professionals, Canadian pharmacies will only improve in quality.

Now that you know a little more about how Canadian pharmacists are trained, you can put more trust into the medications you receive from online Canadian pharmacies.