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 and workshops.
As a pharmacist, you must continually 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.
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. You must also have excellent communication and creative problem-solving skills. You must also understand:
- biochemical mechanisms of action of drugs
- drug uses and therapeutic roles
- side effects and potential interactions.
You may need more training or skills upgrading, especially with regards to your soft skills.
Pharmacy requires advanced reading, writing, and speaking language ability. 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 the 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.
Success Story: Abiodun Adebayo Lawal is fulfilling his lifelong dream to live in Canada and practise his profession as a pharmacist. His path in pursuit of the dream started in Nigeria, traversed three continents and tested his ambition. There were times when he despaired. Read more.
Bridging programs are a good 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.
Bredin Centre for Learning
International Pharmacy Bridging Program
A tuition-based program that helps internationally-trained pharmacists to acquire a license to practice pharmacy in Alberta. Upon successful completion of examinations required for licensure, graduates are fully prepared to launch their careers within the Alberta pharmacy workforce and the greater community.
University of British Columbia
International Pharmacists Bridging Program
This program is run twice yearly, spring and fall. This program is designed for internationally-trained pharmacists to achieve the competencies for practice in Canada, and Canadian-trained pharmacists to re-enter pharmacy practice in British Columbia 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.
Many immigrants take further education after coming to Canada. Some want to change careers or enhance their careers with a Ph.D. or MBA. Universities and colleges across Canada offer a number of bridging programs designed to help immigrants get Canadian certification in their field.