Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina
Canada offers an exciting career path in the all-encompassing field of pharmacology. But what’s the best way to get there? There are many different avenues to take, especially since pharmacists in Canada have numerous options as to what area of pharmacy they wish to pursue. This guide covers the basics of becoming a clinical pharmacist in Canada, from education to salaries and work conditions.
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How To Become A Clinical Pharmacist In Canada
A clinical pharmacist is a specialized type of pharmacist that works closely with doctors and other healthcare professionals to manage prescription medications.
These experts work to ensure patients are receiving the right medication in the right amount at the right time. They also provide education and support to patients who may be taking multiple medications.
Becoming a clinical pharmacist is a lengthy process that requires a bachelor’s degree, but the job offers high salaries and job security. In this article, we’ll tell you how to become a clinical pharmacist in Canada, including what you need to do and how much it costs.
What Is A Clinical Pharmacist?
In short, a clinical pharmacist is an expert in drugs who works closely with doctors and other healthcare providers to ensure patients are receiving safe prescriptions and proper treatment for their conditions. These professionals also provide education about medication use and assist people with managing their prescriptions.
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What does a clinical pharmacist do?
Clinical pharmacists work in hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies where they prescribe medication and recommend necessary over-the-counter drugs after evaluating the unique needs of their patients. Clinical pharmacists then observe the patients’ recovery and make sure the medication is working as expected, making changes if there are any unexpected drug interactions or severe side effects.
Clinical pharmacists are health care experts who help doctors treat patients by monitoring their progress while they’re on their prescribed medications. They also help determine which drugs should be used together or not at all.
A clinical pharmacist’s schedule can vary depending on where they work, but many clinical pharmacists spend most of their day seeing patients one at a time or assisting in the management of an entire department. They usually work full time hours in offices with other health care professionals such as doctors and nurses who may also provide them guidance along with support for dealing with difficult situations that arise during treatment sessions/rounds (i.e., when something goes wrong).
|Required Education||Pharm.D; all states require a license|
|Job Duties||Include prescribing medication, evaluating the needs of patients, observing the patients’ recovery|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$124,170 (pharmacists)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||6% growth (pharmacists)|
Clinical pharmacy positions require a Pharm.D degree on top of a 4-year bachelor degree. It usually takes students three or four years to complete a Pharm.D. program. All 50 states have laws stating that pharmacists must have a license in addition to the required education. In addition, clinical pharmacists may need to complete a residency. The criteria for licensure vary by state, but usually include a series of written tests that must be repeated every few years. Students interested in becoming clinical pharmacists should take classes covering chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, psychology, and biology.
Clinical pharmacists need to pay close attention to detail and should have a firm science background. They also need excellent communication skills and must be able to effectively counsel patients about the effects of required medication.
How To Become A Clinical Pharmacist In Canada
Graduates in pharmacy operate right at the center of human health, taking on positions in the creation and production of new therapies, the administration of medications and services, and consulting on the variety of medicinal options available.
A career in pharmacy can be both extremely satisfying and challenging because it is a people-oriented occupation. Most of us believe that pharmacists spend their days in retail drug stores giving advice to their customers, counting and selling pills and capsules. However, pharmacy is much more than that and if you are planning a career in this high-paying field, do not forget that it is an essential part of the healthcare profession. So, your greatest reward should be the thought that you have helped someone who is in pain or whose life is in danger because of inappropriate use of medication. If you are ready to accept all these challenges and many other difficult conditions, you have to pass the following steps:
Step 1 � Obtain University Degree
Graduate from a Canadian university, obtaining a Bachelor�s degree in pharmacy. Ten universities across the country offer such a degree � there is one in each province while Quebec and Ontario have two each. All these universities offer standard four-year Pharmacy programs.
Step 2 � Find Apprenticeship or Internship
Get some practical experience through an apprenticeship or internship hours. You need practical training of several hundreds hours under a licensed pharmacist in addition to your Bachelor�s degree. As pharmacy professionals are licensed at the provincial level, the exact requirements depend on which province you will work in. However, this is a good opportunity
to develop useful skills related to your future career as a pharmacist.
Step 3 � Find about the Legal Aspects
Being part of the healthcare community and working with dangerous substances that are under control, you have to satisfy a number of legal requirements. So, you have to be clear about the legal aspects of pharmacy. In most universities, this issue is included in the undergraduate programs. In British Columbia, for instance, there is a separate Jurisprudence exam that you are required to sit.
Step 4 � Sitting Language Tests
Fluency in English is a must to become a licensed pharmacist in some of Canada�s provinces. In Quebec, fluency in French is required. Although a degree from any Canadian university is undoubted evidence of fluency in English or French, there are language tests and fluency standards that you should be able to cover.
Step 5 � Pass National Qualifying Exam
As a next step, you need to take the national qualifying exam through the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC). The test given by the national certification body for the pharmacists in Canada consists of two parts. A pharmacy degree is a mandatory requirement before you take the examination. However, if you are graduating senior, you can also apply, but you have to obtain the degree prior to the exam date. The exams are held twice a year.
Step 6 � Becoming Pharmacist for Foreign Nationals
If you are a pharmacist but not a Canadian citizen or resident, you will have to meet exactly the same requirements listed above. So, you can avail yourself of the International Pharmacy Graduate Program thought at the University of Toronto or the Canadian Pharmacy Practice Program at the University of British Columbia.
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Special for PEBC candidates:
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In order to become a licensed pharmacist in Canada, you need:
- A bachelor’s or doctor of pharmacy degree from one of 10 Canadian universities
- To complete a national board examination through the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) (except Québec)
- Practical experience through an apprenticeship/internship program
- Fluency in English or French
The profession of pharmacy is regulated on a provincial and territorial level. The regulatory authorities are directly responsible for granting pharmacist licenses, assessing the competency of pharmacists and ensuring public safety. For a detailed look at the specific provincial licensing requirements in every province, visit the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA).
International Pharmacy Graduates (IPGs)
Enrolment in NAPRA’s Pharmacists’ Gateway Canada is a mandatory first step towards licensure in Canada for international pharmacy graduates (IPGs) in all provinces except Québec.
Pharmacists Gateway Canada (Gateway) provides a number of tools for IPGs, including a public website where IPGs can find everything required to better understand and navigate the Canadian licensure process. The Gateway provides access to clear and up-to-date information on the licensure requirements in every province and territory across Canada and is a confidential national document repository accessible to the candidate, the PEBC and the pharmacy regulatory authority.
For further information about bridging programs that help IPGs successfully complete the licensing requirements to practice pharmacy in Canada, several programs are available:
- The International Pharmacy Graduate Program — Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto in Toronto, ON
- The Canadian Pharmacy Practice Programme — Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC
- The International Pharmacy Bridging Program — Bredin Institute in Calgary, AB and Edmonton, AB
If you want to become a clinical pharmacist in Canada, you need to first become a registered pharmacist. This can be done by completing an accredited program for pharmacists. You can then apply for registration with the provincial college of pharmacists.
Once you’re registered, you can pursue advanced education in clinical pharmacy. There are many different types of programs available, including undergraduate and post-graduate degrees as well as certificate programs. Once you’ve completed one of these programs, you may then apply to become a licensed clinical pharmacist (LCP).
Once you have been licensed as an LCP, there are several ways that you can work towards becoming certified as a clinical pharmacist (CCP). The first step is becoming accredited by the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP). You must also pass an exam in order to become accredited. Once this has been completed, you must submit an application to CCPAC and provide proof that you have worked at least one year as an LCP before they will grant certification.