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Pharmacy Technician

Program Duration: 43 weeks

If you’re looking to make a difference and improve the overall health of your community, the Pharmacy Technician diploma program at CDI College is the right place to start.

This program teaches students the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in the ever-changing pharmacy industry. Pharmacy technician students learn about dispensing prescriptions, compounding medications and sterile products, performing pharmaceutical calculations, medical device training and communication skills.

Additionally, students practice their customer service skills and learn about different pharmaceutical environments in community and hospital pharmacies.

Students will also learn about body and drug interactions, how to use pharmacy software, how different drug distribution systems work and the different laws that govern the practice of pharmacy.

On-the-job Pharmacy Training

As part of your pharmacy technician training, you will partake in an eight-week, 320-hour practicum placement, split between a community pharmacy and a hospital pharmacy. 

Your practicum is divided into two four-week components – one in a community pharmacy and the other in a hospital pharmacy - so you can test your new skills in two different environments and get real-world experience before graduation.

Pharmacy Technician is a regulated health profession under the auspices of the Alberta College of Pharmacy (ACP). Graduates of this program will attain competencies specified in the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) Professional Competencies for Canadian Pharmacy Technicians at Entry to Practice and the Canadian Pharmacy Technician Educators Association (CPTEA) Educational Outcomes for Pharmacy Technician Programs in Canada.

Graduates will also be eligible to apply to write the certification examination offered by the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) and to register with the ACP.
Admissions Prerequisites
  • Grade 12 diploma or equivalent (transcript required) with successful completion of
    • Biology 30 AND
    • successful completion of Chemistry 30 AND
    • successful completion of Math 30-1 or 30-2 AND
    • successful completion of English Language Arts ELA 30-1 or 30-2
  • Passing score on the CDI College entrance examination
  • Provide a criminal record check with vulnerable sector check
  • Provide completed immunization report showing current immunization and free of communicable diseases
  • A minimum keyboard speed of 30 words per minute
  • Interview with program coordinator, or designate

Graduation Requirements
In order to graduate and receive a diploma, a student must obtain an overall average of at least 70% in this program, minimum grade of 70% in each of the final exams (theory and practical), and meet the zero tolerance criteria in the Pharmaceutical Calculations module as required by the regulatory body.
Practicum Requirements - Community and Hospital
Students must successfully complete two 4-week practicum rotations split between both community and hospital pharmacy. 
International Student and English Language Proficiency Requirements

Applicants who have graduated from high school or post-secondary programs outside of Canada must demonstrate English language proficiency for program admission (including English-speaking countries such as the United States, United Kingdom and Australia).

This standard is based on NAPRA recommended tests and scores. In addition, all international transcripts and credentials will be assessed through the International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS) prior to enrolling.
Admission to the CDI College Pharmacy Technician diploma program is dependent on producing one of the following test scores prior to signing enrolment contracts and documentation.
Test Details Minimum Score
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Internet-based test Speaking 23
  Writing 25
  Reading 22
  Listening 21
  Total 91
Michigan Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) Speaking 3+
Writing 80
Reading 83
Listening 80
Total 81
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic format Speaking 6
  Writing 6
  Reading 6
  Listening 6
  Overall Band 6.5
The Canadian Test for English Scholars and Trainees (CanTEST) Speaking 4.5
Writing 4.0
Reading 4.5
Listening 4.5

CDI College, Edmonton City Centre – Pharmacy Technician Faculty
Terra Young, RPhT – Pharmacy Technician Program Coordinator – 780-424-6650
Kim Sanford, RPhT – Instructor
Tamiza Manji-Dhanani, RPhT – Instructor
Nicole Schultz, BSc, RPh - Instructor
Jamil Ramji, BSc Pharm-D, BSP, ACPR, CTE – Instructor
Samantha Roberts, RPhT – Laboratory Assistant
Misty Hui, RPhT – Laboratory Assistant
Carol Hall, RPhT – Laboratory Assistant

The Pharmacy Technician Program of the CDI College – Edmonton City Centre campus has been awarded Accreditation status by the Canadian Council of Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP) for a three-year term ending June 30, 2021.

Program Courses

SSSE - Student Success Strategies (25 hours)

This course will introduce students to skills and concepts that will help them achieve personal, academic, and career success: Personality styles, goal setting, time management, stress management, study skills, and communication skills/conflict management.

PT100 - Anatomy and Physiology (50 hours)
This course is designed to provide students with an opportunity to discover explore and understand basic human anatomy and physiology. A holistic model will be used to demonstrate how body systems work together, how they are impacted by disease, and how pharmaceuticals are used to improve health.
PT110 - First Aid/CPR/Medical Emergencies (25 hours)
This comprehensive course includes everything covered in Emergency First Aid and CPR as well as a wide range of other first aid topics that will provide participants with advanced knowledge and skills required to prevent further injury.
PT120 - Introduction to Pharmacy (50 hours)
This course is designed to provide the student with an understanding of the pharmacy profession, the role of the Canadian pharmacy organizations, standards of practice, legislation, and ethical best practices. A brief history of the role of pharmacies in society and the pharmacy technician will be covered. Students will be introduced to the nature of drug benefit plans, both public and private, along with accepted billing practices. Finally students will become familiar with the prescription filling life cycle.
PT130 - Fundamentals of Pharmacology (100 hours)
This course is designed to introduce the student to the fundamental concepts of pharmacology, dosage formulations, routes of drug administration, and OTC medications. It will enable the student to understand the role of drugs in individualized patient care and will introduce the student to the recognition and association of generic and trade names of common and/or important medications in community and hospital pharmacy practice. Students will learn various mechanisms of drug action and understand pharmacokinetic processes that affect drug/body interaction. They will learn the procedure for administration of pharmacologic agents as well as learning to identify major drugs by drug class. Students will know drug indications, therapeutic uses, side effects, administration routes, and common dosages.
PT140 - Pharmacy Software Applications (100 hours)
This course explores how to use the Windows operating system to create and manage files and folders. Students will be introduced to the Internet and the world wide web and will learn how to use these two information resources to conduct healthcare related research. With this foundation in place students will then learn to use pharmacy software for dispensing medications, accessing patient profiles (creating new or updating), and managing third party billing information.
PT150 - Pharmaceutical Calculations (100 hours)

This course is designed to provide students with the mathematical skills needed in the preparation of prescription products in a pharmacy setting. The course will allow the student to become familiar with different systems of weights and measures, methods of expressing strengths, dosage calculations, compounding calculations, accurate fluid measurement, and basic principles of pharmacy business math.

PT200 - Community Pharmacy (75 hours)
Students are introduced to dispensing techniques and procedures with emphasis on the role of the pharmacy technician in the community pharmacy in relation to the role and responsibilities of the pharmacist. The student will be introduced to the components of a typical prescription using both computerized and manual system of preparation. The student will learn how to completely fill a prescription in a laboratory setting. Pharmacy equipment, inventory management, dispensing techniques will be demonstrated, explained, and practiced in the lab. Occupational health and safety issues will be discussed.
PT210 - Compounding (75 hours)
Students will become efficient at preparing pharmaceutical preparations and accurately completing the necessary documentation to meet and maintain standards. The student will practice various mixing techniques and standards of commercial compounding, become proficient at accurately calculating, measuring, and weighing ingredients to compound. Proper and timely cleaning and maintenance of compounding equipment will be stressed. In addition to the theory and technical skills covered in this course, students will be expected to continue to apply the appropriate standards of practice and apply the principles of professionalism expected of a pharmacy technician. Assessment of professionalism will be conducted through observation of the student in the lab environment.
PT220 - Aseptic Technique and Sterile Products (100 hours)

This course is designed to provide students with a chance to learn the basic principles of microbiology and the reasons why reducing microbial contamination in a pharmacy are necessary. Students will learn how to control microbial contamination by using both chemical and physical means. Students will learn basic principles of infection control. Students will also learn aseptic techniques in preparation of pharmaceutical products. Students will be introduced to basic microbes such as bacteria (pathogenic and non-pathogenic), viruses and fungi and the diseases they cause.

Students will learn how to control microbial contamination in the pharmacy environment and apply these techniques and standards to the preparation of intravenous admixtures and parenteral hospital compounding. Students will become familiar with the equipment used in parenteral compounding such as vials, ampoules and needles. Students will learn how to manipulate these products and using the proper technique.

PT230 - Institutional Pharmacy (75 hours)

Students will learn the various types of drug distribution systems in hospitals and institutional settings. Students will become familiar with the process of receiving drugs and record keeping, as well as the drug delivery systems that may be used in long-term care facilities. Students will be introduced to provincial formularies and central supply lists. Students will also be exposed to current literature analysis and presentation of modern concepts in drug distribution; drug information systems; application of data processing to decentralized pharmacy services; and administrative principles peculiar to an institutional pharmacy.

PT240 - Inter and Intra Professional Skills (25 hours)
Students will have the opportunity to interact with students and faculty from other health profession programs throughout the program. This course will help students facilitate their development of team work; improve their critical thinking skills and broaden their knowledge of patient care communications.
PT250 - Jurisprudence (25 hours)
This course will guide the student through industry related legislation and standards that govern the pharmacy profession, including provincial and federal laws, regulations and standards, and scope of practice.
PTEX - Final Review and Comprehensive Exam (25 hours)
Students will write a final exam in the last week of the Pharmacy Technician program. The examination will include a practical component and a comprehensive theory exam. The practical exam includes all skills taught throughout the program.
PT901 & PT951 - Community and Institutional Practicum (320 hours)
Practicum (on-the-job) experience is an essential component of the Pharmacy Technician training experience. It provides real-world practical training in a pharmaceutical setting, allowing the student to gain a better understanding of employer and customer needs and expectations. The practicum is divided into two components: four weeks of practicum in a community pharmacy setting and four weeks in an institutional (hospital) pharmacy setting. Successful completion of both components is a mandatory criterion for graduation.
CESE - Career and Employment Strategies (25 hours)

This course builds on the skills learned in the Student Success Strategies course or its equivalent.  It provides information on how to use the communication skills learned in order to make a successful presentation to a prospective employer.  Students also learn how to uncover the hidden job market and identify employment opportunities.  Self-assessment during this course allows students to identify their personal skills that are transferable to the work place and to describe these skills to a prospective employer.  Students may be videotaped during a mock interview and will participate in the analysis of their performance in the “interview”.

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