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 4 months.

The Express Pharmacy Assistant diploma program covers everything a professional pharmacy assistant needs to know. Over the length of this course, you’ll learn compounding, packaging and labelling pharmaceutical products, maintaining prescription records, and conducting inventories of medications and pharmaceutical products.

As part of this course, you’ll develop the fundamental skills needed to support a pharmacist or pharmacy technician in the day-to-day operations of a retail or institutional pharmacy. To provide you with an edge in the modern workforce, we offer hands-on training with both the Kroll and Alberta Netcare software platforms. Our training ensures you will graduate with the technical and medical knowledge needed to launch you career in pharmacies.

As part of the Express Pharmacy Assistant program, you are guaranteed a 3-week workplace practicum in a Calgary-area pharmacy. This work placement provides you  with valuable, real-world work experience today’s pharmacies look for. Graduates of our programs receive continuing support from Heritage College’s Career Services department, including help with job searches, resume and LinkedIn profile reviews, and interview preparation.

Course Overview

Graduates of Heritage College’s Express Pharmacy gain the technical and medical knowledge needed to support the day-to-day operations of a pharmacy. Over the length of this 4-month program, students:

  • Gain valuable hands-on experience in labs and practicums, including non-sterile compounding and dispensing
  • Study medical terminology, anatomy, physiology and pharmacology to identify the major classes of drugs needed to treat illnesses and other conditions.
  • Learn the important mathematical formulas used by pharmacy assistants in their daily jobs
  • Explore both institutional and retail pharmacies to discover the differences and prepare students for careers in any type of pharmacy
  • Learn the regulations and laws that govern pharmacies in Alberta

Is a Rewarding Career as a Pharmaceutical Professional Right for You?

Take the “Heritage College Pharmaceutical Career Training Readiness” Quiz

The fun, online quiz takes 3 minutes to complete and you’ll get a personalized report. Identify your strengths and social style plus the training and positions you’re best suited for. Get your Pharmaceutical Career Training Readiness Score Now!

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 thorough 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.

Your education is one of the most important decisions you make in your life. It’s an investment in your future, and it can pay you back in dividends. 

At Heritage College, we work with you to ensure you can afford the education you need to transform your life. We have helped many students get financial aid, and our team is ready to help you make the right decisions for your future as well.

Our admissions team will work with you to determine the options that best fit your own personal financial needs and situation. This program is eligible for Canada Student Loans, other forms of government funding, and scholarships. We can advise you on Alberta Student Aid, personal lines of credit, RESPs, and our own in-house student financing. We work with you to ensure you are securely funded before you start your program, so you start your program confident you will be able to see it through to the end.

You can visit our Tuition and Financial Aid page for more information on how we can help you afford your education. Please also visit our Scholarships and Grants Page for information about current financial aid opportunities exclusive to Heritage College students.

No high school diploma? No problem!

Heritage Career College doesn’t require a high school diploma for our mature admissions pathway. 

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

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 International Pharmacist Bridging

Next Start Date

July 24, 2020

Course Length

16 Weeks

340 Total Hours
220 Theory | 120 Practicum
16 Instructional Hours a Week


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Earn an average wage of

$23.00 an hour


  • 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.

What our grads say...

Small classroom size with hands on experience. True to their word and hard work behind each student. So happy to be graduating soon with a promising career.​​

Kulsoom Hussain

I highly recommended this school. Really friendly, nice and really helpful. Love the their professors.

Aiza Sedaria

Fantastic, amazing and experienced instructors and staff assist students by providing best quality for study environment and commitment to the students.

Guriner Singh

Pharmacy assistants at work compounding


Fill out the following form and one of our Admissions Advisers will get in contact with you to answer any questions you have.

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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.