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

Alert

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted legislation and services. Information on this website may not reflect the current situation in Alberta. Please visit alberta.ca for up-to-date information about these impacts.

Pharmacist

Pharmacists collaborate with services and programs that are designed to promote health and well-being. They treat disease and other disorders through drug therapy, wellness promotion, and disease state management. Pharmacists support caregivers and other health care professionals and help patients manage their medications.

  • Avg. Salary $85,143.00
  • Avg. Wage $49.86
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 5,300
  • In Demand Medium
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: Community Pharmacists and Hospital Pharmacists (3131.1) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Pharmacists (D031) 
  • 2011 NOC: Pharmacists (3131) 
  • 2016 NOC: Pharmacists (3131) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

51%
51%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Interest Codes
The Pharmacist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Community Pharmacists and Hospital Pharmacists
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 Mar 31, 2019

Pharmacists help patients at local community pharmacies, hospitals, or related health facilities. 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:

  • 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 and medication management care plans
  • Integrate aspects of patients’ history, physical findings, and monitoring studies to draw up a therapeutic plan
  • Counsel patients regarding the safe and appropriate use of drugs, and the importance of adhering to drug therapy instructions
  • Give patients, caregivers, and other health care providers advice on selecting and using drug and non-drug products
  • Compound, prepare, and dispense drugs
  • Provide non-prescription drugs, 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 such as immunizations
  • Provide advice regarding disease management and prevention through home visits, medication and disease information, and natural medicine consultations
  • Advise patients through clinics, including anticoagulant management clinics, osteoporosis screening, and travel medicine clinics
  • Advise patients through consultation on issues including asthma, diabetes, smoking cessation, heart health, depression, pain management, weight loss, and nutrition
  • Prescribe new therapies or extend current therapies
  • Adapt prescriptions regarding dose and dosage form to meet individual needs
  • Assist patients in improving adherence to medications
  • Assess and independently prescribe medications to manage chronic medical conditions toward a target treatment level

In Alberta, licensed pharmacists collaborate with other health care professionals. Their participation may involve prescribing drugs or blood products or giving injections.

 Pharmacists in community settings also:

  • Sell prescription and non-prescription drugs, surgical supplies, home health care aides, herbal products, vitamins and nutraceuticals, and other related products
  • Perform drug distribution logistics, accounting, marketing, or human resource functions
  • Conduct medication reviews and work collaboratively with other health care professionals to achieve patient care goals

Pharmacists in hospital settings can also build a practice in fields such as oncology, cardiology, psychiatry, infectious disease, critical care, intensive care, internal medicine, pediatrics, or geriatrics. In addition, they:

  • Work on interdisciplinary teams to provide patient care
  • Give presentations to colleagues, health care professionals, and community groups

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
  • Take part in advocacy, policy development, association management, or government relations
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Pharmacists can either work alone or team up with others in the field. These can include pharmacists, physicians, nurses, pharmacy technicians, pharmacy assistants, and other health professionals.

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

In some situations, pharmacists may be on their feet for long periods.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Pharmacists need:

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

They should enjoy:

  • Carrying out precision tasks
  • Directing and instructing staff
  • Synthesizing information
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

The minimum academic requirement is a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. Pharmacists also need to have extensive knowledge of drug therapy and to stay up to date on the latest advances in the pharmaceutical sciences.


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 Mar 31, 2019

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 learn about certification for internationally educated pharmacists, see Pharmacist Registration Process.

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 Mar 31, 2019

Pharmacists are employed by:

  • Pharmacies
  • Retail stores with pharmacy departments
  • Health care facilities
  • Primary care networks and family care 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

Pharmacists working in community settings usually start as salaried employees. With experience, they can take on managerial roles, enter a partnership, or even start their own pharmacy. Teaching and research positions generally require further education.

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

The employment outlook (pdf) 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

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

In Alberta, the D031: Pharmacists occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.4% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 115 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

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

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 $15.25 $55.00 $46.56 $48.00
Overall $20.89 $59.20 $49.86 $50.00
Top $46.46 $65.66 $54.77 $52.00

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.

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
ALL INDUSTRIES
Retail Trade
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

51%
51%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

30%
30%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

7%
7%

Vacancy Rate

1%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2019

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

Alberta Pharmacists’ Association website: www.rxa.ca

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

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

Updated Mar 31, 2019. 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?
Top