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Pharmacist smiling at camera and standing in pharmacy

Pharmacist jobs in Canada are popular among those who desire to work in the healthcare field. One of the attractive things about this profession is the demand and competitive salary. The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CphA) reports a national shortage of pharmacists in Canada. It’s a stable and growing field. And, as the Canadian population ages and healthcare demand evolve, pharmacists are taking on new roles and duties. 

To become employed as a pharmacist in Canada, you require a university degree in pharmacy and a period of supervised practical training. Since community and hospital pharmacists belong to a regulated profession, you will need a license from the province or territory where you plan to reside. You can only call yourself a pharmacist or practice the profession if you are licensed as a full member in one of the provincial/territorial bodies. These bodies are represented by the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA).


If you plan to continue your pharmacist career in Canada, it’s wise to research the profession before you move to Canada. This will ensure that you meet job requirements. Get yourself prepared for a pharmacist job in Canada by reading this helpful article.

How to Immigrate to Canada as a Pharmacist

Before You Move to Canada to Pursue a Pharmacist Career


When you take the time to research the field of pharmacy in Canada, you can pave the way to your career success. Below are steps that you can take before you move to Canada to improve your chances of working as a pharmacist when you arrive:

  • Attend the Job Search Strategies and Techniques in Canada webinar to learn about the labour market and job trends.
  • Contact the pharmacy regulatory association in the province where you’ll settle in Canada. Find out about the:
    • Procedures you must follow, and the cost and time required to obtain a license to practice as a pharmacist
    • Licensing steps you can take before and after you immigrate.
  • Contact the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) to have your qualifications assessed and determine if you’re eligible to take the PEBC Qualifying Exam. If you’re immigrating to Quebec, contact the Ordre des pharmaciens du Quebec.
  • Assess your language skills by taking an online self-assessment on the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks
  • Improve your language skills and enroll in language classes in your home country and continue them after you move to Canada. You’ll need to prove your English or French (depending on your destination province) language competency or be tested.
  • Gather and arrange your official education, work, and identity documents while still in your home country. Check with your provincial or territorial regulatory body to find out what documents you will need and verify if they need to be translated. You may need to use a professional translation service in Canada.
Learn all about how to find a job in Canada

What to Expect When Pursuing a Pharmacist Career in Canada

Working as a pharmacist in Canada can take you down many career paths. And, there are many specializations. Most pharmacists work in the retail sector and the healthcare sector. You mostly see them working in pharmacies (local, regional, or national companies). This accounts for about 70% of licensed pharmacists. You can also work in hospitals, clinics, long-term care and assisted living facilities, and for pharmaceutical companies, government agencies or educational institutions. If you desire, you can also explore options to own a pharmacy.

Employment Outlook for Pharmacist Jobs in Canada 

Understanding the job market and employment outlook will help you set realistic goals for your job search. There are about 45,000 pharmacist jobs across the country. 

The Government of Canada lists pharmacists as an in-demand role with opportunities in every province. There will be close to 13,000 job openings in the field from 2019 to 2028. The expansion to 24-hour retail services and the recently expanded role pharmacists play in administering vaccinations and health consultation, add to the need. As well, in Ontario pharmacists can now prescribe treatments for 13 ailments.

Start Your Research with the NOC Code for Pharmacist Jobs in Canada

It’s important to research how pharmacy in Canada is practiced and to become familiar with provincial laws and legislation where you’ll settle. As well, Understanding the broader requirements of job market trends and trends specific to the pharmacy profession will place you in a strong position to achieve your career goals. 


The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is a good place to start. Using the 5-digit pharmacist NOC code 31120, you can begin to understand the main duties, example job titles, and employment requirements. Another tip is to know the name of your job in Canada. This information will help you when you begin your job search.

Combined with using the NOC 31120, you can do further research to gather information about working as a pharmacist in Canada. Vital information provided by the Government of Canada’s Job Bank outlines factors such as pharmacist wagesjob prospectsrequirements, and more. Since job prospects can vary across Canada, you need to identify where the prospects are good and use the information to inform you of important settlement decisions.

NOC 31120
Use the 5-digit NOC code 31120 to gain a general understanding of a pharmacist’s role and titles in Canada.

Requirements for Becoming a Pharmacist in Canada

Internally trained pharmacists must meet the licensing requirements in Canada to practice. International pharmacy graduates must enroll in NAPRA’s Pharmacists’ Gateway Canada program. Below we explain the steps you will need to take to work as a pharmacist in Canada:

Credential Recognition to meet Pharmacist Job Requirements in Canada

One of the first things to do before you arrive is to find out the specific requirements to work as a pharmacist in Canada. You can start by contacting the regulatory body for pharmacists in the province or territory where you intend to settle in Canada. They will advise you about the process, the documents you require, and the assessment fees. 

Alternatively, you may contact the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA). NAPRA serves as the national voice for the province and territory regulatory bodies.

It’s also important to become fully aware of the licensing procedure and what the regulatory body will expect of you. For example, regardless of your education or experience, you need to have a license in Canada to practice as a pharmacist.

You will have to complete the PEPC evaluating exam, in addition to a two-part qualifying exam. Information on the evaluating and qualifying examinations can be obtained from PEBC.

You need to gain practical experience in a Canadian pharmacy workplace to get your pharmacist license. The provincial/territorial regulatory body will determine the period of time for the structured practical training under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist that you require. If you’re immigrating to Quebec, you must follow the requirements set by the Ordre des pharmaciens du Quebec.

Credential Assessment Services

If you plan to attend college or university to upgrade your skills, contact the school to find out what steps to take and what credential assessment agency you should use. Here are some resources to consult:

World Education Services (WES) – Ontario

International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS) – Alberta

The International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES) – British Columbia
To find more organizations and agencies providing credential evaluation, assessment and qualification recognition services click here. Learn more by reading: How Do Credential Evaluation and Recognition Differ (Infographic)

Pharmacist discussing prescription with customer

Upgrading Your Skills to Meet Pharmacy Job Requirements

In addition to accreditation, another part of your journey to becoming a pharmacist in Canada is to upgrade your skills. You can upgrade your skills through bridging programs or other courses.

As a pharmacist, you must continue to update your knowledge and skills on new pharmaceutical procedures and practices. You can benefit from ongoing learning and professional growth through continuing education courses and seminars.

Skills Upgrading to Qualify for Pharmacist Jobs in Canada

You may have strong technical skills, but often that is not enough to get a job or maintain it afterward. As a pharmacist, you are expected to have an interest in helping people. Other vital skills include strong communication and critical thinking skills, and you must understand:

  • Biochemical mechanisms of action of drugs
  • Drug uses and therapeutic roles
  • Side effects and potential interactions.
Female pharmacist giving medication advice to an elderly couple in a store pharmacy.
As a pharmacist, you must have an interest in helping people.

Language Training for Pharmacists in Canada

You may need more training or skills upgrading, especially regarding your soft skills. Pharmacy requires advanced reading, writing, and speaking language abilities. Having strong skills in one or both of Canada’s official languages – English or French – is extremely important for your future in Canada. Whether you choose to focus on learning or improving English or French will depend on which of the two languages most people speak in the area where you intend to live.

You may be eligible for Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program. Otherwise, you can find other free or affordable classes in English as a Second Language (ESL) or French as a Second Language (FSL) classes through school boards or settlement agencies.

There are even language courses to teach you professional terminology, such as job-specific language training and Occupation Specific Language Training (OSLT) in Ontario. And if you already speak one of Canada’s two official languages at a high level, learning the other one is a good option, as it may offer you better employment opportunities.

If you intend to be self-employed you may require advanced business skills as well as financial resources to establish and maintain the practice.

Bridging Programs for Pharmacist Careers in Canada

Bridging programs are an effective way to transition from your international experience and training to the Canadian workplace. Many colleges, universities, and immigrant-serving agencies offer pharmacy-related bridging programs or workshops. You may be eligible for one. Do some research to find a program that’s suitable for you. Here are a few to consider:

Bridging programs are an effective way to transition from your international experience and training to the Canadian workplace. Many colleges, universities, and immigrant-serving agencies offer pharmacy-related bridging programs or workshops. You may be eligible for one. Do some research to find a program that’s suitable for you. Here are a few to consider:


University of Alberta

Certificate to Canadian Pharmacy Practice

This bridging program is designed for internationally trained pharmacists to achieve the competencies for practice in Canada, and for Canadian-trained pharmacists to re-enter pharmacy practice in Alberta after a prolonged absence or provide updates on core competencies for practicing pharmacists.


University of Toronto

International Pharmacy Graduate Program

This program helps internationally trained pharmacists meet Canadian practice standards. The program includes practical courses, opportunities for mentoring, and licensing exam preparation.

Three pharmacists going over information on computer

Pharmacist Schools in Canada

There are 10 schools of pharmacy in provinces across Canada:

Dalhousie University
College of Pharmacy
Memorial University of Newfoundland
School of Pharmacy
Université de Montréal
Faculté de pharmacie
Université Laval
Faculté de pharmacie
University of Alberta
Faculty of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
University of British Columbia
Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences
University of Manitoba
Faculty of Pharmacy
University of Saskatchewan
College of Pharmacy and Nutrition
University of Toronto
Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy
University of Waterloo
School of Pharmacy

Pharmacy Associations in Canada

The following associations provide information about licensure and certification and offer professional development, education, and networking opportunities.

National Pharmacy Associations

National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities 

Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada 

Provincial and Territorial Pharmacist Regulatory Bodies


Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP)

British Columbia

College of Pharmacists of British Columbia 


College of Pharmacists of Manitoba

New Brunswick

New Brunswick College of Pharmacists

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board 

Northwest Territories

Professional Licensing, Department of Health and Social Services, Government of the Northwest Territories

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists 


Professional Licensing, Department of Health and Social Services, Government of Nunavut


Ontario College of Pharmacists 

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island College of Pharmacy


Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec 


Saskatchewan College of Pharmacists 


Professional Licensing, Department of Community Services, Government of Yukon

Immigrant Networks

Professional immigrant networks are organized, volunteer-run member-based associations or networks created by and for immigrant professionals that seek to:

  • Create a forum to contribute to and enrich their respective communities
  • Provide opportunities for their members to find meaningful employment and achieve their professional goals.

Activities include networking events, mentoring, information sessions, professional development and connections to employment opportunities.

For example, Nova Scotia has the isans: Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia. isans helps newcomer professionals with their economic and social integration in the province of Nova Scotia.

For information, tools, free webinars, and more visit our Finding a Job in Canada resource page. Get the help you need to achieve your career goals in Canada!

How Much Do Pharmacists Make in Canada?

Canada has one of the highest average salaries for pharmacists in the world. The average annual salary for a pharmacist in Canada varies based on your experience, where you work, specializations, and other considerations. You can make from $54,112 to $144,300 per year, with the median salary being $104,646, according to Job Bank Canada

Quebec, Alberta, and Manitoba have the highest median salary, which is just over $110, 000 annually. Manitoba also has the highest average starting salary, $75,699. Quebec has the highest earning potential, with a cap of $161,891.

Pharmacist Salary in Canada

Here are the most recent pharmacist salary numbers in Canada (as of November, 2022):

ProvinceLow ($/year)Median ($/yearHigh ($/year)
British Columbia68,70898,725127,387
New Brunswick75,25698,894135,958
Newfoundland and Labrador72,74497,557130,905
Northwest TerritoriesN/AN/AN/A
Nova Scotia64,83093,743123,079
Prince Edward IslandN/AN/AN/A
Average Pharmacist Salary by Province: Source Jobbank Canada

Best Provinces to Work in Canada as a Pharmacist Based on Salary & Lifestyle

It’s vital to gather as much information as possible about job prospects, especially since labour market conditions for 2019-2028 reveal that pharmacists are expected to face labour surplus conditions. However, you will discover provinces and regions where the demand for pharmacists is good such as Calgary and Edmonton in Alberta, and HamiltonOttawa, and Windsor in Ontario.

Pursuing a Pharmacist Career in Canada

Becoming a pharmacist in Canada follows a similar path as many other healthcare careers. You need to have the right academic credentials, relevant work experience, and a plan for where you want to work in Canada. Below is valuable information to help you pursue a pharmacist career in Canada:

Major Employers for Pharmacy Jobs in Canada

The number of pharmacist employers across Canada has risen over the years as the population continues to age. There is a whole new range of career opportunities in homecare operations as well as in grocery stores, big-box retail stores, health management organizations, and government and third-party insurance payers. Pharmacists also find employment in the biotech, insurance, and pharmaceutical industries (such as in research, marketing or sales).

Some of the top employers of pharmacists in Canada include

  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Guardian and IDA
  • Pharmasave
  • PharmaChoice
  • Remedy’s RX
  • The Medicine Shoppe
  • Brunet
  • Rubicon Pharmacies
  • London Drugs.

You can visit Canada’s Best Diversity Employers website to check for pharmaceutical or healthcare firms that you might be interested in. This special designation recognizes Canada’s best employers for diversity, inclusion, and equity.

A woman getting medication advice and instructions.
There is a whole new range of career opportunities in homecare operations as well as in grocery stores and big-box retail stores.

How to Become a Registered Pharmacist in Canada

If you are a new immigrant to Canada and have an interest in becoming a pharmacist, you will need to complete the same steps as other native Canadians. You must meet the following requirements and:

  • Have a bachelor’s or Doctor of Pharmacy degree from a Canadian university
  • Complete the national board examination through the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (except Québec)
  • Complete an apprenticeship or intern program to gain practical experience
  • Be fluent in English or French.
  • Meet provincial/territorial regulations in the region you reside.

How to Find Your First Canadian Pharmacist Job

Searching for a pharmacist job in Canada can be different than in your home country. The job market can in Canada is competitive. Employers may also have different job application requirements. Use these tips to help you with your job search:

Job Search Techniques for Pharmacists in Canada

You must register to work as a pharmacist in the province or territory where you intend to settle. And, you must look for jobs in the region where you register. Therefore, take your time to research job requirements in that region and develop a plan to find work.

There are many ways to search for jobs in the pharmacy sector.

  • Broaden your search and include alternative careers.
  • Seek out a mentor in the pharmacy sector who could share their insights and introduce you to their professional network.
  • Join pharmacy or healthcare job-finding or networking clubs through immigrant-serving agencies.
  • Attend pharmacy or healthcare job fairs and regularly check online job boards.
  • Some pharmacy colleges or associations may maintain a job bank or suggest a commercial job site. Also, hospitals and other health institutions post vacancies on their websites.

Use Immigrant Settlement Agencies

You may need help to find jobs, update your resume, write cover letters, prepare for interviews, and understand what Canadian employers look for. Most settlement agencies offer free job search services that can reduce the stress and anxiety of navigating your job search.

Click the link to find immigrant services in your area.

Get more advice here: Services in Canada to Help Newcomers Settle

Writing Your Pharmacist Resume

You need a resume that helps you stand out from other applicants. With the right resume, you’ll be able to continue your pharmacist career in Canada and improve your chances of getting job interviews. 

Use these resume writing tips:


Write a solid objective on your resume to help your prospective employer know what kind of career you’re looking for. If you’re licensed, state that in your objective. For example, write, “Licensed pharmacist with three years of professional study.”


Include any internships and volunteer placements you had or currently have in Canada. Also mention the name and city of the pharmacy college you attended, along with your degree and courses, such as compounding or ambulatory care. Also, mention the Canadian province where you got your license.


Step away from just describing what you did and where. Start by thinking about what value you add to your current or previous organization. How did you help them reduce medication errors, or potentially save money? Did you develop any innovative programs or projects that changed the way your department did things? Don’t be afraid to give specifics.

Action Words

Action words best describe your work experience. For example, write, “Dispense and compound prescriptions, inform patients of dosing information and directions for use, and interact with XYZ and other insurance providers regarding billing or reimbursement issues.”

Key Skills

Make a list of skills that are relevant to your pharmacy career. List your most relevant skills at the top. You may include skills such as distributing prescription drugs, compounding, and counselling patients. If you have any pharmaceutical specialties, add them (i.e., acute/critical care, ICU, retail, nuclear pharmaceuticals). For an online resume, you should include keywords relative to your pharmacist career. This can help employers find you on the Internet.

Techniques for Pharmacist Job Interviews

Pharmacy is one of the most unique job types available. As the job market is competitive, you need to practice answering common pharmacy interview questions.

The interviewer may ask technical questions. But, they may assume that you meet the technical requirements of the job, otherwise you wouldn’t have completed your pharmacy degree. Brushing up on your technical knowledge before your interview may be a good idea. However, you should practice responding to common interview questions.

Here are some sample pharmacist job interview questions to help you prepare for your next interview.

  • Why did you decide to pursue a career in pharmacy?
  • Here is a case describing a common drug interaction. How would you resolve the problem?
  • How do you spot drug-seeking behaviour?
  • How do you combine business requirements with the pharmacy profession?

Informational Interviews

While the job outlook looks positive for pharmacists, landing that next opportunity – especially for newcomers – requires extra effort and outreach. Informational interviewing can put your communication skills, research skills, and time management talents to work for your benefit.

An informational interview is a brief (20–30-minute) meeting that you schedule with someone currently employed as a pharmacist to learn more about the industry in Canada.

You should not try to get a job during an informational interview but find out more about the field. Doing so can help you to assess what skills, knowledge, or experience you may need, and which ones are highly valued and in demand. An informational interview with a contact from your network can be an excellent source of career information. In addition to basic information about the industry, someone who works in the industry can provide first-hand experience.

  • Make a list of the pharmacies, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and public health agencies that operate in your area.
  • Use resources such as professional organizations, LinkedIn, and other networking tools to identify organization insiders, pharmaceutical recruiters, and other professionals to connect with.
  • Create 5 – 10 open-ended questions that you would like to know more about.


Networking is a vital tool that can provide job leads and information about a specific firm or industry. It can also help you to meet other people to expand your network. As many job vacancies are not advertised, you must make connections with practicing pharmacists and others in your field.

Good places to network include pharmaceutical conferences, associations, or places where people meet to share information and build professional relationships.

LinkedIn is another tool for networking. It is great to connect with former colleagues and employers, search for companies and jobs, and get introductions. You can also connect with people in the pharmaceutical sector and join related professional groups.

But remember, that it takes time to grow the ties you establish through networking. 

Get more great networking tips: Build Your Professional Network Before You Arrive. With a positive outlook for pharmacist jobs in Canada, now is the time to check out your options.

Interested in learning more about working in Canada? Check out our Finding a Job in Canada resource page. We can help you achieve your career goals in Canada