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Pharmacist

Pharmacists provide services and programs that are designed to promote health and well-being, and treat disease and other disorders through drug therapy, wellness promotion and disease state management.

  • Avg. Salary $96,602.00
  • Avg. Wage $51.99
  • Minimum Education 5 years post-secondary
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 7,300
  • In Demand High
Also Known As

Druggist

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

54%
54%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Pharmacist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Community Pharmacists and Hospital Pharmacists
NOC code: 3131.1
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

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 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 More

Duties
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Pharmacists may work in:

  • community pharmacies
  • hospitals and related health institutions
  • health research
  • industrial settings
  • post-secondary schools
  • health regulatory, advocacy and other professional organizations
  • pharmacy administration.

In general, pharmacists working in community and hospital settings:

  • determine, monitor and manage drug therapy independently and in collaboration with other health care professionals
  • promote and maintain health and wellness, and provide disease state management
  • counsel patients regarding the safe and appropriate use of drugs, and the importance of complying with drug therapy instructions 
  • assist patients, caregivers and other health care providers by providing advice regarding the selection and use of drug and non-drug products
  • compound, prepare and dispense drugs
  • provide non-prescription drugs, drugs for injection (including parenteral products), health care aides and devices
  • supervise and manage drug distribution systems to maintain public safety and drug system security
  • conduct or collaborate in drug-related research
  • conduct or administer drug and other health-related programs such as structured medication reviews
  • participate in health promotion, prevention and public health activities
  • provide advice regarding disease management through home visits, medication and disease information, natural medicine consultations, disease prevention, management clinics and consultation (for example, regarding asthma, diabetes, screening for osteoporosis, smoking cessation, heart health, depression, pain management), weight loss and nutrition consultation, anticoagulant management clinics, travel medicine clinics
  • prescribe extensions of current therapies
  • adapt prescriptions regarding dose and dosage form to meet individual patient needs
  • assist patients in improving adherence to medications
  • educate clients, patients, caregivers and other health professionals about related matters.

In Alberta, pharmacists who have appropriate certification can work collaboratively with other health care professionals and prescribe drugs or blood products, and administer drugs by injection.

In addition to the above, pharmacists in community settings may:

  • sell prescription and non-prescription drugs, surgical supplies, home health care aides, herbal products, vitamins and nutraceuticals, and other related products
  • be involved in drug distribution logistics, accounting, marketing or human resource functions.

Pharmacists in hospital settings may develop a practice that focuses specifically in fields such as oncology, cardiology, psychiatry, infectious disease, critical care, pediatrics or geriatrics.

Pharmacists in industrial and educational settings may:

  • conduct pharmacy practice research and develop drug products
  • work in the production, marketing, quality control or sales departments of pharmaceutical firms
  • educate other health care providers about appropriate drug use 
  • be involved in advocacy, policy development, association management or government relations.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Pharmacists may work alone or with other pharmacists, physicians, nurses, pharmacy technicians, pharmacy assistants or other health professionals. Those working in community and hospital settings often work rotating shifts that include evenings and holidays.

In some settings, pharmacists may be required to stand for significant periods of time.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Pharmacists need the following characteristics:

  • a genuine interest in providing clinical care for people from all walks of life
  • good communication skills
  • tact and good judgement
  • precise work habits and the ability to work under pressure
  • a high degree of integrity
  • a desire to keep up to date with new ideas and advances in the pharmaceutical sciences
  • the ability to work independently, make decisions and solve problems.

They should enjoy tasks requiring precision and organized methods, synthesizing information and solving problems, and directing and instructing pharmacy staff.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

The academic requirement is a degree in pharmacy.


Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.


Related Education

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

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Pharmacist

Pharmacists assist and advise clients and other health care providers by contributing unique drug and non drug therapy knowledge on drug and non drug selection and use; monitor responses and outcomes to drug therapy; compound, prepare, dispense and prescribe drugs; provide non prescription drugs, blood products, parenteral nutrition, health care devices and aids; supervise and manage drug distribution systems to maintain public safety and drug system security; educate clients, patients and others; conduct or collaborate in drug related research; and conduct or administer drug and other health related programs.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Health Professions Act and the Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians Profession Regulation registration with the Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP) is mandatory if you 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, or supervise registered members who provide services to the public. Registered members, who are authorized by the College, provide restricted activities specified in the Regulation. Only registered members may call themselves pharmacists, clinical pharmacists or druggists.

What You Need

Registration requires successful completion of: (1) a bachelor's degree in pharmacy, (2) a structured practical training program and (3) registration and jurisprudence examinations approved by the Alberta College of Pharmacists. Applicants who have been out of practice for a period of time also may have to demonstrate that they are currently competent to practice. For official, detailed information about registration requirements, visit the ACP website or contact the ACP.

Working in Alberta

Pharmacists who are registered by and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered pharmacists in the two jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see "What if I am already certified in another province or territory?" and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

To find more information on the certification process for internationally educated pharmacists see Pharmacist Registration Process on the AlbertaCanada.com website.

Contact Details

Alberta College of Pharmacists
1100, 8215 - 112 Street
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada  T6G 2C8
Phone number: 780-990-0321
Toll-free phone number: 1-877-227-3838
Fax number: 780-990-0328
Website: www.pharmacists.ab.ca

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Pharmacists are employed by:

  • pharmacies and retail stores with pharmacy departments
  • health care facilities
  • primary care networks and family care clinics
  • pharmaceutical companies
  • government (regulatory departments, public heath units, food and drug inspection services, law enforcement laboratories, the Armed Forces)
  • professional, advocacy and regulatory bodies
  • post-secondary schools.

Pharmacists in community settings usually start as salaried employees but, with experience, eventually may become managers, partners or owners of pharmacies. Teaching and research positions generally require further education.

In Alberta, 96% of people employed as pharmacists work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 4,800 Albertans are employed in the Pharmacists occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.4% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 115 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover.  

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 19, 2016

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

Pharmacists
NOC code: 3131

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $37.00 $54.00 $46.89 $48.90
Overall $45.00 $58.00 $51.99 $51.27
Top $46.62 $63.68 $56.71 $58.38

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.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Health Care & Social Assistance
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Retail Trade
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

54%
54%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

62%
62%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

9%
9%

2015 Vacancy Rate

3%
Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Health Care Services
    • Human and Social Services
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Alberta College of Pharmacists website: pharmacists.ab.ca/ncollege

Alberta Pharmacists' Association website: www.rxa.ca

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

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 13, 2014. 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.

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