Pharmacy students are the lifeblood of our profession! If you’re considering a career in pharmacy, here’s what you need to know. 

Academic preparation

It takes at least five years of university education to become a pharmacist: one or two years of an undergraduate program (with some science courses required), followed by a four-year professional degree pharmacy program. 

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

Many pharmacists undertake additional post-graduate training. This may take the form of: 

  • a 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 such as geriatrics or menopause.

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

Employment rewards

Pharmacy is a people-oriented profession. The primary rewards come from helping people with healthcare needs and from interacting with other healthcare professionals. 

Career opportunities

Pharmacists practise in a wide range of settings, including:

  • at a community pharmacy
  • in a hospital pharmacy
  • in the pharmaceutical industry
  • as long-term care consultants
  • on a family health team
  • as teachers
  • in a government or regulatory setting
  • at a professional association
  • as researchers
  • in business
  • in the Armed Forces.