Skip to the main content
This website uses cookies to give you a better online experience. By using this website or closing this message, you are agreeing to our cookie policy. More information
Alberta Supports Contact Centre

Toll Free 1-877-644-9992

Updated

Pharmacist

Pharmacists are health-care professionals who provide services designed to promote health and well-being for individuals and communities. They treat disease and other disorders through drug therapy, wellness promotion, and disease state management. They help patients manage their medications.

Also Known As

Clinical Pharmacist, Druggist, Pharmaceutical Chemist, Registered Pharmacist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.

Here is how this occupation has been classified over time.

2006 NOC

  • 3131.1: Community Pharmacists and Hospital Pharmacists

2006 NOC-S

  • D031: Pharmacists

2011 NOC

  • 3131: Pharmacists

2016 NOC

  • 3131: Pharmacists

2021 NOC

  • 31120: Pharmacists

2023 OaSIS

  • 31120.01: Community pharmacists and hospital pharmacists
Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Pharmacists help individuals treat or prevent disease or maintain their health. They work to establish relationships with the patients to whom they provide services. They act in the best interests of the patient. Pharmacists assess individuals’ health and drug therapy needs by considering different factors including their:

  • Health history
  • Current health status
  • Current drug therapy
  • Diagnostic and laboratory test results
  • Allergies
  • Lifestyle habits

They also apply their knowledge in:

  • Health research
  • Industrial settings
  • Post-secondary schools
  • Health regulatory, advocacy, and other professional organizations
  • Pharmacy administration
  • Health policy development

Pharmacists in community and hospital settings:

  • Work with individuals to develop their health plan, which may include drug and non-drug alternatives
  • Adjust a health plan as needed to help individuals reach their health goals
  • Educate and support individuals to use their medication and treatments properly
  • Determine, monitor, and manage drug therapy independently and in collaboration with other health-care professionals
  • Consult with and advise other health-care professionals to ensure that an individual’s care is integrated and coordinated
  • Prepare, dispense, prescribe, and administer drugs, vaccines, or other alternatives, including by injection
  • Work with individuals to monitor their health
  • Offer screening programs to identify personal health risks
  • Offer immunization services to protect individuals from disease
  • Coach individuals about healthy living topics such as nutrition, exercise, smoking cessation, substance misuse and abuse, and sexual health
  • Direct pharmacy teams to ensure the drugs and services are safe, of high quality, and delivered in a professional and ethical way
  • Supervise and manage drug distribution systems to maintain public safety and drug system security
  • Conduct or collaborate in drug-related research

Smaller pharmacy teams may not have a pharmacy technician. In these situations, the pharmacist will also perform the duties of the pharmacy technician.  

Pharmacists in community settings also:

  • Sell non-prescription drugs, surgical supplies, home health-care aides, herbal products, vitamins and nutraceuticals, and other related products
  • May perform accounting, marketing, or human resource functions
  • Give presentations to colleagues, health-care professionals, and community groups

Pharmacists in hospital settings work on interdisciplinary teams to provide patient care. They can also build a practice in fields such as:

  • Oncology
  • Cardiology
  • Psychiatry
  • Infectious disease
  • Critical care
  • Intensive care
  • Internal medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Geriatrics

Pharmacists in industrial and educational settings may:

  • Conduct pharmacy practice research
  • Develop drug products
  • Work in the production, marketing, quality control, or sales departments of pharmaceutical companies
  • Educate other health-care providers about appropriate drug use
  • Take part in advocacy, policy development, association management, or government relations
  • Practice in a primary care network
  • Fulfill policy and administrative roles such as with Alberta Blue Cross or Alberta Health

 

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg

Pharmacists may work alone or team up with others in the field. These can include:

In community and hospital settings, pharmacists often work rotating shifts that include evenings, nights, and holidays.

In most situations, pharmacists are on their feet for long periods.

 

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Community Pharmacists and Hospital Pharmacists

2006 NOC: 3131.1

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
METHODICAL

Interest in precision working to dispense prescribed pharmaceuticals to customers and other health care professionals, and to ensure proper preparation, packaging, distribution and storage of vaccines, serums, biological and other drugs and pharmaceuticals; and in ordering and maintaining stock of pharmaceutical supplies

INNOVATIVE

Interest in synthesizing pharmaceutical products; and in advising customers and health care professionals on indications, contra-indications, adverse effects, drugs interactions and dosage

DIRECTIVE

Interest in instructing and advising customers on the selection and use of non-prescription medications; may supervise and co-ordinate the activities of other pharmacists, pharmacy assistants, pharmacy technicians and other staff

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Pharmacists need:

  • Discretion and tact
  • Good judgment
  • Communication and problem-solving skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Teamwork skills
  • Attention to detail
  • The ability to work under pressure
  • Integrity
  • Strong values

They should enjoy:

  • Carrying out precision tasks
  • Directing and instructing staff
  • Synthesizing information

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Pharmacists

2016 NOC: 3131

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 52 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 19, 2021 and May 04, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Tasks: Compound prescribed pharmaceutical products by calculating, measuring and mixing the quantities of drugs and other ingredients required and filling appropriate containers with correct quantity
Health benefits: Health care plan
Tasks: Maintain medication profiles of customers including registry of poisons and narcotic and controlled drugs
Tasks: Check prescriptions for proper dosage
Tasks: Dispense prescribed pharmaceuticals to customers or to other health care professionals and advise them on indications, contra-indications, adverse effects, drug interactions and dosage
Tasks: Ensure proper preparation, packaging, distribution and storage of vaccines, serums, biologicals and other drugs and pharmaceuticals
Certificates, Licences, Memberships, and Courses : Licensure by provincial or territorial authorities
Health benefits: Dental plan
Construction Specialization: Team player
Construction Specialization: Excellent oral communication
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary

The minimum academic requirement is a doctor of pharmacy degree (PharmD).

Pharmacists in hospital settings need to complete a residency.

Further training or experience is required to gain authorization from the Alberta College of Pharmacy to perform certain restricted activities. These include administering drugs by injection and additional prescribing authority.

Pharmacists also need to stay up to date on current best practices in drug therapy and the latest advances in pharmaceutical sciences.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.

The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.

Pharmacist

Pharmacists are health-care professionals who provide services designed to promote health and well-being for individuals and communities. They treat disease and other disorders through drug therapy, wellness promotion, and disease state management. They help patients manage their medications.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Health Professions Act [pdf], Health Professions Restricted Activity Regulation [pdf], and the Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians Profession Regulation [pdf], registration with the Alberta College of Pharmacy (ACP) is mandatory. Only regulated members may provide restricted activities specified in the Regulations. This includes those who:

  • Meet identified competency requirements and provide professional services directly to the public
  • Teach the practice of the profession to members or students of the profession
  • Supervise registered members who provide services to the public
  • Use the titles: pharmacist, clinical pharmacist, pharmaceutical chemist, druggist, or apothecary, or registered pharmacist
  • Use the initials: PharmD, PhC, or R.Ph.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Pharmacist.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Pharmacists work in:

  • Pharmacies
  • Retail stores with pharmacy departments
  • Hospitals and health-care facilities
  • Primary care networks, family care clinics, and private clinics
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Government, including regulatory departments, public heath units, food and drug inspection services, law enforcement laboratories, and the Armed Forces
  • Professional, advocacy, and regulatory bodies
  • Post-secondary schools
  • Specialty pharmacies providing virtual patient care

Pharmacists in community and hospital settings usually start as salaried employees. Those in retail stores may start as hourly employees. With experience, they can take on managerial roles, enter a partnership, or open their own pharmacy. Teaching and research positions generally require further education.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 3131: Pharmacists occupational group, 75.8% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 3131: Pharmacists occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.8% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 102 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years. In addition, the number of pharmacies opening in Alberta is increasing at a higher rate per capita than the number of new pharmacists. This has resulted in a shortage of pharmacists (Source: ACP, 2022-23 Annual Report).

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2024

For information about current collective agreements in the public and not-for-profit sectors, see the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Pharmacists

2016 NOC: 3131
Average Wage
$53.18
Per Hour
Average Salary
$86,047.00
Per Year
Average Hours
31.3
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 3131 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $43.27 $52.44 $49.29 $50.00
Overall $45.30 $58.65 $53.18 $55.25
Top $47.00 $61.28 $55.77 $60.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

ALL INDUSTRIES
Retail Trade
Health Care & Social Assistance
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
51%
51%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
54%
54%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
10%
10%
Vacancy Rate
4%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Alberta College of Pharmacy (ACP) website: abpharmacy.ca

ACP’s Understanding Professionalism website: understandingprofessionalism.com

Alberta Pharmacists’ Association (RxA) website: rxa.ca

Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP) website: ccapp.ca

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website: hsaa.ca

Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) website: pebc.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2024. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

Was this page useful?