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Medical-Pharmacy Assistant

Program Duration: 51 weeks

The Medical-Pharmacy Assistant program is designed to meet the needs of students interested in working in a health care setting – both pharmaceutical and medical offices and/or practices – where a substantial component of skills required common to a variety of medical, pharmaceutical, and specialist professions.  

The Medical Office Assistant specialized areas and common medical and office portions of this program provide the skills and knowledge to be a well-qualified, practicing medical office assistant (MOA) through training in medical terminology, communications, office and clinical procedures, billing and electronic health records, transcription, and keyboarding.

In addition, the program fosters the development of interpersonal skills, organizational effectiveness, and the communication skills necessary to function professionally in a medical environment. Medical office (administrative) assistants perform a variety of secretarial and administrative duties in doctors’ offices, hospitals, medical clinics, and other medical settings.

The pharmacy portion prepares a student for an exciting and challenging career as a pharmacy assistant.  Students are provided with the technical, clerical, and medical skills to offer the essential support required by pharmacists with a clear understanding of the roles of pharmacists and others in the pharmacy profession and the pharmaceutical industry.

Admission Requirements

  • Criminal record check (in accordance with the Criminal Records Review Act)
  • High school graduation or equivalent*


  • Mature student status**


*From an English-language teaching institution.
**19 years of age upon starting classes and Pass the college's admissions test.

This program has been approved by the registrar of the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) of the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.


Program Courses

CES4 - Career & Employment Strategies

This course looks at the planning, preparation, execution, and follow-up stages of an interview: how people find jobs; employer expectations; presenting an enthusiastic attitude; focusing on the right job; transferable skills; the job interview; effective resume preparation; cover and thank you letters; effective telemarketing; tapping the hidden job market; handling objections; job search management; self-confidence and self-esteem building; mock interviews (video-taped); and individual counselling and coaching.

MAA160 - Clinical Procedures

Students will learn techniques and procedures used to prepare and administer basic procedures and tests utilized in medical offices. Topics include: quality assurance and infection control; use of personal protective equipment, materials, and maintaining medical & surgical asepsis; taking vital signs, respiration rate, blood pressure, height, weight, and vision examinations; assisting with medical examinations; sterilization procedures; urine tests and specimens; blood glucose testing procedures; various smears and cultures, viruses, pap smears, and other specimen testing; variety of diagnostic tests; safe environments, injury prevention; causes and prevention of cumulative stress disorders; and administration of medical supplies.

MAA150 - Electronic Health Records
Implementing electronic health records (EHRs) in Canada is a pan-Canadian initiative involving many stakeholders involved in the delivery of health care. Electronic health records (EHRs) are secure and private lifetime records that describe a person’s health history and care. They are made up of information from a variety of sources, including hospitals, clinics, doctors, pharmacies, and laboratories. This information is critical for treatment and is accessible to health care professionals. BC is participating in a ten year plan led by the Federal Government's Canada Health Infoway to create a safer and more efficient healthcare system by creating electronic health records (EHRs). In the course, students are introduced to work with simulated health records and learn the ins and outs of the system as they apply in a medical office. It provides a thorough understanding of EHR tasks and functional benefits that is continuously reinforced by actual EHR experiences. Students are updated with the latest EHR rules, regulations and innovations, electronic orders and results, workflow examples, and billing codes.
MAA140 - Medical Transcription

Transcription is integral to the efficiency of the medical doctor’s practice, providing the documentary records on patient cases that the physician is required by law to maintain. Students will become familiar with the various letters and reports routinely dictated by medical professionals by being introduced to the process of medical transcription using actual dictated medical data, in different accents. With an emphasis on speed and accuracy, students utilize transcription equipment and a variety of reference materials to learn the proper formatting, sentence and paragraph structure, punctuation, spelling, and grammar used in reports such as: admission and discharge summaries; chart notes; consultation letters; emergency room reports; history and physical examination reports; laboratory, radiology, and pathology reports; operative/procedure reports. In addition, the course is designed to enhance the student’s listening comprehension, editing and proofreading, again, with an emphasis on the speed and accuracy of their typing. The importance of confidentiality is also reinforced.

MAA130 - Medical Billing
All businesses need to invoice for services rendered and collect their revenues as quickly and efficiently as possible. Doctors’ revenue comes primarily from the provincial medical insurance scheme. Students will be introduced to the medical billing procedures in accordance with the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) requirements and create medical billing data using the BC Medical Association Guide to Fees and ICD-9 Diagnostic Codes. WorkSafe BC, the Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC), and medical legal billing requirements are also discussed. Students also learn to perform medical billing data entry and preparation of billing statements using the Regent Smart series application, as well as understanding the transmission and receipt of data from the BC MSP office in Victoria. In the second section of this course, students will create patient databases and complete medical office billing procedures using the current software. Students will become familiar with all aspects of billing, including MSP, ICBC, WorkSafe BC, personal, and medical legal billing. They will also learn to schedule appointments, generate day sheets, and transmit claims. Course time is also dedicated to tutorials to learn the MSP system.
MAA103 - Medical Language III: Special Topics
The third and final course on medical language focuses on special topics including: cancer medicine (oncology); radiology and nuclear medicine; pharmacology; and psychiatry.
MAA120 - Medical Office Procedures
This course presents complete and accurate coverage of the basic skills needed to perform effectively as a health office administrative assistant (MOA) in today’s fast-changing work environment. Study includes the use of real-life examples and scenarios to make key concepts come alive. Students learn about ethics, the transition of offices towards electronic environments, as well as discussions of future trends towards the role of technology in the field of medical office administration. From the knowledge and skills learned in this course, students also begin one of their term projects – a medical office procedure manual – the general section completed in this course, and an advanced practice, comprehensive manual that is constructed throughout the entire program and completed after the final practicum-work experience.
PHA107 - Sterile Products Aseptic Techniques
This course addresses the theoretical knowledge and practical skills essential for safe and accurate preparation of sterile and non-sterile pharmaceutical products. Students will focus on compounding practices for various internal and external preparations and specialty dosage forms, equipment and tools, professional guidelines, standards and legislation, pharmaceutical calculations, and documentation requirements.
PHA106 - Pharmacy Software Applications
This course reviews working with the Windows operating system to manage files and folders and customize the desktop, creating documents, and using the Internet for communication and research. Students are then introduced to the use of pharmacy software in dispensing medications and will become familiar with the various software screen shots. Students will be able to enter the required information for patient profiles and look up particular patient profiles. Students will also be able to create or update new drug files and doctor information, as well as the third party billing information. Adjudicating a prescription on-line will also be covered.
PHA105O - Compounding
This course introduces students to pharmaceutical preparation and documentation. Students will learn how to perform a variety of commercial compounding and mixing techniques. The student will become proficient at accurate ingredient measuring and weighing as well as equipment cleansing and maintenance.
PHA104O - Community Pharmacy
This course introduces students to computerized and manual dispensing procedures, community pharmacy business practices: dispensary and storefront inventory maintenance, insurance plan processing, patient profiles and filing, billing and claim reconciliation, and the roll of the pharmacy assistant with respect to the pharmacy technician and pharmacist. Pharmacy equipment and dispensing techniques will be demonstrated, explained, and practiced in the lab.
PHA103 - Pharmaceutical Calculations
This course is designed to provide students with the mathematical skills needed in the preparation of parenteral products as well as community and hospital compounding. This course will allow the students to become familiar with the multiple ways of expressing strengths, systems of weights, and measurements currently used in pharmacy practice.
PHA102 - Fundamentals of Pharmacology
In this course, students learn various mechanisms of drug action and will gain an understanding of pharmacokinetic processes that affect drug/body interaction, the procedure for administration of pharmacologic agents, and will be able to identify major drugs by drug class. Students will learn about drug indications, therapeutic uses, side effects, administration routes, and common dosages. Students will be exposed to the work and language of the Pharmacy Assistant and the context in which the Assistant’s work is performed. Current pharmaceutical care delivery systems and drug distribution systems are introduced.
PHA101 - Introduction to Pharmacy
Introduction to Pharmacy is designed to provide the student with an understanding of the pharmacy profession. This subject will introduce the student to the important role that they will play as a Pharmacy Assistant. The student will review pharmacy history to see how pharmacies in general and their role as an assistant have changed throughout the centuries. The profession of pharmacy as it is today will be examined from the context of the role of the pharmacy personnel, the structure of the various types of pharmacies that are in our society, and the laws, regulations and record keeping requirements governing the practice of pharmacy in the province.
MAA102 - Medical Language II: Body Systems
This second course of three parts on medical language focuses on the various body systems. Subjects include: the digestive system; additional suffixes and digestive system terminology; urinary system; male and female reproductive systems; nervous system; cardiovascular system; respiratory system; blood system; lymphatic and immune systems; musculoskeletal system; skin; sense organs; and endocrine system.
PD-SFA-CPRC - Standard First Aid with CPR ‘C’
This two-day course suited for the general public and workplace and meets first aid requirements for Canada Labour Code Standard First Aid, and Licenced Child and Adult Care Facilities. This course is suited for police, first responders, lifeguards, ski patrollers, caring citizens and families with children.
Canadian law requires that any person exposed to hazardous materials in the workplace must be trained in the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS). This course has been developed to meet and exceed the Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. WHMIS 2015 training includes the new Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling for chemicals (GHS), as well as WHMIS legislation introduced in 1988.
MPA199 - Medical-Pharmacy Practicum
This practicum will place students in actual workplaces related to their field of study where they are expected to act as a regular employee for the set time periods in order to gain the valuable “real world” experience, often sought by employers who are hiring. Students are encouraged to find their own work experience for the area they wish to specialize; however, once placed, continuation in the placement is a mandatory diploma requirement. This practicum is an unpaid work experience. Students and practicum hosts are provided with a practicum “package” that outlines the expectations of both the student and the host that need to be met to have a successful outcome.
MEP4 - Medical Emergency Processes

This component provides students with the knowledge and skills that are required to recognize and prevent emergencies within the pharmacy, medical, or dental office. It will prepare students to assist the health care team in administering immediate care for the client in the health care office environment. Lectures, reading and assignments will provide a basic understanding of medical emergencies and the role of the office/pharmacy assistant in assisting with the administration of care used in the health care environment. This information permits the student to interpret and relay information and to communicate to the dentist, doctors and emergency workers.

MAA110 - Health Care Communication & Interpersonal Skills
This course is specially designed for the new healthcare professional. In any business or interpersonal contact, an impression of a person forms in the first 10 to 15 seconds, so it is crucial to the success of that relationship. The importance of the ‘customer’ and of customer relations, to business success is examined in this course, including through case studies and role playing. Students learn relevant techniques in human behaviour and how they may be applied to improve customer (patient) relations in the medical office. Learning basic communication skills, especially related to the medical field, will assist the student in dealing with all kinds of patients. Understanding cultural differences and appreciating diversity will add another dimension in how to deal with patients and provide safer healthcare delivery in the medical office.
MAA101 - Medical Language I: Foundations
Medicine, like other professions, has its own language. Students will learn to work with the specialized terminology of medicine, including the pronunciation and spelling of terms to describe medical circumstances and situations. Students will learn through descriptions, illustrations and exercises to identify the major anatomical features and systems of the body and the common pathologies, which can adversely affect these systems.
ITC4 - Introduction to Computers
This course is a broad-based introduction to using a personal computer. It teaches the fundamentals of an operating system and the most popular application software including word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations. You will also learn about the Internet, Web browsers, electronic mail and antivirus software. The course is based on the Windows 7 operating system, Microsoft office 2013 and a variety of popular software programs for the Internet-related and security-related applications
SSS4 - Student Success Strategies
This course will introduce students to skills and concepts that will help them achieve personal, academic, and career success.

Start Training to Become a Medical-Pharmacy Assistant!

Get the job-ready training you need to work in medical offices and pharmacies at CDI College. 

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