16 Weeks | 340 Total Hrs | 220 Theory Hrs | 120 Practicum Hrs


Learn to be a pharmacy assistant in only 16 weeks with Heritage College’s Express Pharmacy Assistant diploma program. This program is Alberta’s only 16-week pharmacy assistant diploma, giving you the knowledge and skills you need to find employment in this exciting field in only 6 months.

This course covers everything a professional pharmacy assistant needs to know. Students will learn compounding, packaging and labelling pharmaceutical products, maintaining prescription records, and conducting inventories of medications and pharmaceutical products.

Included in this course is a guaranteed 3-week workplace practicum in a Calgary-area pharmacy. This work placement provides you with the real-world work experience for which today’s employers are looking.

Graduates of our express Pharmacy Assistant program will learn the fundamental skills needed to support a pharmacist or pharmacy technician in the day-to-day operations of a pharmacy. To give our students an edge, we provide hands-on training with both the Kroll and Alberta Netcare software platforms. Our training ensures you graduate with the technical knowledge for which today’s pharmacies are looking.

Instruction Methods

Heritage College’s Express Pharmacy Assistant diploma program has two delivery methods:

  • In-Class: Either two days a week (evening and weekend option) or four days a week (morning option) at Heritage College’s Northeast Calgary campus.
  • Blended: Lectures and theory delivered online, with online assessment; occasional labs and exams in-class at our Northeast Calgary campus.

This program combines lectures, visual aides, hands-on learning via practical exercises, projects, exams and group discussions into an accessible learning experience. Validation of knowledge is done through through exams, practical tests, projects, and practicum evaluation. 


Most pharmacies require certified pharmacy assistants for their day-to-day operations. Graduates of our Express Pharmacy Assistant program can find employment at community pharmacies, healthcare facilities, clinics, pharmaceutical wholesalers, and laboratories. 

Our graduates have found employment at numerous pharmacies in the Calgary region, working for Alberta Health Services, community pharmacies, clinics, and businesses such as Safeway, Loblaws, Shoppers Drug Mart and Walmart.

Standard admission is for students who have graduated from high school or another educational institute within the past year. 

Students must be 18 years of age or older, and have one of the following:

  • an Alberta high school diploma, verified by transcript
  • a non-Alberta equivalent
  • a General Equivalency Diploma (G.E.D.)

Students must also clear a criminal background check, be able to lift and carry 5 kg, and demonstrate basic computer knowledge.

Mature admission is for students who are returning to education after spending at least one year in the workforce, and who are applying to our standard diploma or certificate programs. 

Students must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • Pass the admissions interview
  • Pass our Wonderlic Test with a score of at least 16, or demonstrate successful completion of English 30-1 and Math 30-1

There is no English proficiency test required beyond our Wonderlic Test and our admissions interview.

Students must also clear a criminal background check, be able to lift and carry 5 kg, and demonstrate basic computer knowledge.

You can find additional information about our admission requirements on our Admissions Page. Please also visit our Scholarships and Grants Page for information about current financial aid opportunities. 

Practicum Requirements

Express Pharmacy Assistant diploma program students complete their education with 120 hours of practicum experience at a Calgary-area pharmacy. To participate in the practicum, students must satisfy the following prerequisites.

  • Police Reference Check (Clearance) of Criminal Record
  • Be able to lift 5 kg.

Graduation Requirements

To successfully graduate from the Express Pharmacy Assistant diplomacy program, students must:

  • Achieve a minimum mark of 60% in all of the module assignments and exams
  • Have completed all practicum hours
  • Have current Police Clearance

The Express Pharmacy Assistant diploma program at Heritage College is an approved Vocational Program licensed by Alberta Advanced Education.

Heritage College Express Pharmacy Assistant Program

Next Start Date

March 30, 2020

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Earn an average of

$39,100 a year


  • Pharmacy Theory
  • Pharmacy Jurisprudence & Job Ethics
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacy Computer Applications & Billing
  • Health Care Communication & Interpersonal Skills
  • Pharmacy Management
  • Non-Prescribed Products
  • Community Pharmacy
  • Medical Terminology
  • Non-Sterile Compounding
  • Introduction to Hospital Pharmacy
  • Pharmaceutical Calculations
  • Career & Professional Development
Heritage College Express Pharmacy Assistant Program

Why Heritage?

  • Alberta's only 4-month Pharmacy Assistant diploma.
  • Small class sizes, providing you the opportunity for real, hands-on learning.
  • Hands-on training in our college's fully-equipped pharmacy lab.
  • Access to industry-leading software, including Kroll and Alberta Netcare.
  • Expert instructors with decades of experience in nursing and the medical field.
  • Guaranteed work placement practicums in Calgary-area clinics and long-term care facilities.
  • Access to our Career Services Department, who will work with you at all steps of your job search.
  • A variety of financial aid options for those students who require it.
Heritage College Express Pharmacy Assistant Program


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This is only an outline of our Express Pharmacy Assistant Diploma program. For more information about our curriculum, please contact our admissions advisers.

This course introduces students to basic pharmacy theory including drug development, pharmaceutical dosage forms, routes of administration, storage considerations, interpretation of prescription information, and dispensing procedures. Students will also examine the role of the pharmacy technician in the health care setting.

This course provides students with an understanding of the structure of pharmacy services in Alberta, the laws that govern pharmacy practise and the area of pharmacy ethics.s

In this course, students will be provided with a framework of knowledge, enabling them to recognize drug names and drug classes. Students will also learn to understand drug actions and the rationale for treatment. Focus will also be given to drug side effects, allergic reactions and various health issues relating to pharmacology and drugs.

This course will familiarize students with the Kroll pharmacy management software program. The course also covers the topics of prescription filling, drug interaction, third party medical plans and the Alberta Netcare system.

The focus of this course is on developing basic communication skills, especially relating to the medical field. Effective communication assists pharmacy assistants in dealing with the patients they encounter as part of their career. Understanding cultural differences and encouraging diversity can add a new dimension to patient interaction and result in safer healthcare delivery in the pharmacy.

Students will practice different tasks they will be required to perform in this practical work in the pharmacy. In this course, they will be able to submit orders through wholesalers’ portals, receive orders and do other daily on-dispensing tasks.

This course will teach students the different groups of over-the-counter medications and medical supplies, and how they interact within the community pharmacy.

In this course, students will be introduced to dispensing techniques and procedures. The emphasis is on the role of the Pharmacy Assistant in relation to the role and responsibilities of the pharmacist in a retail pharmacy. Students become familiar with the the technical duties of managing a pharmacy so their pharmacist is available primarily for patient care.

Medical Terminology covers the broad base for medical terminology, abbreviations and the systems of the body.  Students will learn to build medical words using the key components, which also include the correct pronunciation and spelling of each term.  Students also gain an understanding of proper utilization of terms to describe medical conditions and disease states.

This course reviews all aspects of compounding prescriptions. The student will prepare various mixtures, creams and ointments, solutions and suspensions. An emphasis on accuracy and preparation of a pharmaceutically elegant product is included.

Hospital aseptic techniques provide students with the opportunity to learn the terms and procedures specific to a hospital pharmacy. This course will focus on the preparation of sterile products and on infection control. Procedures covered include sterilization methods, equipment use and maintenance.

This course provides students with an understanding of the pharmaceutical expressions of strengths and dosages calculations for dispensing. Both the apothecaries’ and metric systems of measurement are reviewed as part of this training.

This course focuses on the effective writing of resumes and letter, interview skills and cold calling strategies. Additionally, students will be taught the skills for effective networking and marketing of their skills to potential employers. Students learn valuable interview skills through live role-playing exercises. Upon completion of the course, students will learn how to effectively cold call employers, use the hidden job market, use professional social networking sites, and create a cover letter, thank you letter and reference list, all of which they can then use as part of their career search.