How to Become a Pharmacist in Canada, best of 2021

Knowing how to become a Pharmacist in Canada is worthwhile. Pharmacy is one of the lucrative professions in the world today as such very competitive.

We deem it fit to drop this comprehensive guide on how to become a pharmacist in Canada since Canada is the first choice of destination for international students.

Having a strong science background is a prerequisite for most pharmacy schools in Canada. Science students may also enroll in a First-Year Seminar wherein qualified faculty members in a class of not up to thirty students.

Introduction on how to become a pharmacist in Canada

There is a specialized seminar for science students entitled Seminar in Science that introduces students to advancements in the field and current research questions.

It takes five years of university training to become a pharmacist. One or two years of an undergraduate program, followed by a four-year professional degree pharmacy program in Canada.

The four-year degree program focuses on developing therapeutic knowledge and clinical skills. It includes rigorous education in microbiology, physiology, pathophysiology, clinical biochemistry, toxicology, pharmaceutical care, and pharmacology.

how to become a pharmacist in Canada
how to become a pharmacist in Canada

How to become a pharmacist in Canada (requirements)

  • A bachelor of pharmacy in Canada from one of the accredited  Canadian universities
  • National board examination through the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC)(except for Québec)
  • Practical experience through an apprenticeship/internship program in Canada
  • Fluency in English or French language

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). Many pharmacists undertake additional post-graduate training.

This may take the form of:

  • One-year residency program in a hospital or community practice setting
  • A one-year residency program in the pharmaceutical industry
  • Postgraduate courses leading to a Masters in Pharmacy and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees
  • Certification for disease states such as diabetes or asthma
  • Continuing education in an area of specialization.

Once you graduate from a university program, you must meet the licensing requirements of the Ontario College of Pharmacists to become a practicing pharmacist. These include a structured practical training component and successful completion of a national examination by the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada.

Admission and application requirements for pharmacy school vary from one institution to another. As such, it is important to contact the respective pharmacy school admission offices to determine specific admission requirements.

Pharmacist in Canada salary

After having the knowledge on how to become a pharmacist in Canada, is essential you read through the pharmacist in Canada salary below.

The average Pharmacist in Canada salary is $94,799 per year or $48.62 per hour. Entry-level positions start at $50,608 per year while most experienced workers make up to $120,000 per year.

Below is a breakdown of pharmacists in Canada salaries per the different regions in Canada although some regions are excluded because of lack of data.

This is the average yearly salary including housing, transport, and other benefits. Pharmacist salaries vary drastically based on experience, skills, gender, or location.

pharmacist in canada salary

Additionally, Pharmacist(s) whose expertise span anywhere between ten and fifteen years get a salary equivalent to 239,000 CAD per year, 23% more than someone with five to ten years of experience.

If the experience level is between fifteen and twenty years, then the expected wage is 254,000 CAD per year, 6% more than someone with ten to fifteen years of experience.

Lastly, employees with more than twenty years of professional experience get a salary of 279,000 CAD per year, 10% more than people with fifteen to twenty years of experience.

Pharmacy schools in Canada requirements

Is important you know the pharmacy schools in Canada requirements before you proceed with your application as a prospective student of pharmacy in any of the renowned institutions.

The 10 pharmacy schools in Canada in which one can enroll to obtain their pharmacy degree are open for admission once you meet the requirements.

Most pharmacy schools require at least 2 years of undergraduate education in order to complete pre-requisite requirements.

The admission process for each school varies and the requirements are not the same for all schools. Below is the list of 10 pharmacy schools in Canada with their requirements.

University of Alberta 

Admission requirements on ow to become a pharmacist in Canada

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Admission to the program is based on academics and ability to perform well in full-time study coursework (based on your transcript) as well as career goals, knowledge of the profession, and overall interpersonal and communication skills (based on the other requirements including the pharmacist consultation form, letter of intent and an online interview)

how to become a pharmacist in Canada

For students who have done their pre-requisite courses in Alberta, having a GPA of 3.5 or greater is considered competitive.

However, students with a slightly lower GPA average have been considered depending on other admission considerations. For out-of-province students, they must present a higher GPA average of 3.7 or higher to be considered competitive. Both in-province and out-of-province are considered within the same pool of students.

There are about 130 spots each year

University of British Columbia

Admission requirements on how to pharmacist in Canada:

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PCAT is not required for admission.

To be considered for admission, an applicant must have completed 60 credits of post-secondary coursework with a minimum average of 65% (or 2.50 GPA on a 4 point scale). However, having a high 70 to low 80 admission average is considered competitive to score an interview. The average GPA for the Class of 2020 was 80% (or 3.67 on a 4 point scale).

Interviews are conducted following the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format where applicants rotate through several interview stations and respond to situational and behavioral-based questions.

There are 224 seats in the Entry-to-Practice PharmD program per year.

University of Saskatchewan

Admission requirements on how to become a pharmacist in Canada:

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There are three constituent factors in the admission process to the PharmD program at the University of Saskatchewan. These factors are as follows: academic performance (weighted 60%), a Test of Critical Skills (30%), and a personal video interview (10%).

how to become a pharmacist in Canada

Prerequisites to the application include the completion of 60 U of S credit units of pre-pharmacy courses (or equivalent course credits at other universities)and a minimum overall average of 70%. The deadline for application is February 15 of the year of admission.

Generally 76 seats in the province, 14 seats out of province for 90 total seats.

One seat is available for self-declared aboriginal applicants. You can also apply for the one seat under special consideration for compassionate reasons

University of Manitoba 

Admission requirements on how to become a pharmacist in Canada:

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preference is given to Manitoba residents

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PCAT is a requirement

University of Waterloo

Admission requirements on how to become a pharmacist in Canada:

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PCAT is not a requirement

Must complete Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics (CASPer) Test

During the interview process, a fundamental skills assessment will be completed

Preferable to have pharmacy experience beforehand as a need reference letter from a pharmacist

University of Toronto

Admission requirements on how to become a pharmacist in Canada:

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Requires PCAT and minimum 70% average

If minimum requirements are met will be offered multiple mini interviews (MMI) interviews

Now requires undergraduate physiology course to be completed before applying

Université de Montreal

Admission requirements on how to become a pharmacist in Canada:

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80% academic record

20% CAS per Test score (an applicant can be invited for an interview if judged necessary)

PCAT is not a requirement

Pass the French Admission Test (obtain a score of at least 850/990 on the International French Test)

200 new students per year (typically half from the college network and a half from the university network)

French-speaking candidates from Ontario and Maritime provinces have priority over the French-speaking candidates of other provinces

Université Laval

Admission requirements on how to become a pharmacist in Canada:

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Applicants for the PharmD are evaluated according to the excellence of their academic record, their CASPer situational judgment test results, and the results of an autobiographical questionnaire.

Students from other provinces are welcome to apply, however, if they are English-speaking, the student must complete an International French test and obtain a score of at least 860/990

French-speaking candidates from Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia have priority over the French-speaking candidates of other provinces

192 new students a year

Half of the students accepted come from the college network and the other half of the students comes from a university network

The autobiographical questionnaire is only for candidates coming from the university network!

Dalhousie University 

Admission requirements on how to become a pharmacist in Canada:

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For September 2020 admission, will require at least two full-time academic years of prerequisite courses.

Preferences are given to maritime residents

Memorial University of Newfoundland

Admission requirements on how to become a pharmacist in Canada:

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No PCAT required

Minimum 70% average required to be eligible for an interview

Only 96 interviews are offered per year

Interviews must be completed in person

There are both written and oral sections

The seat reservation is 35 for NL residents, one of which is for an Aboriginal student. 5 are open to anybody from Canada or internationally.

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