CNC and Selkirk College are partnering for a pharmacy technician diploma program that will offer northern BC students extra flexibility and blended learning to succeed in a growing field.
Pharmacy technicians are key health care providers. They work under the direction of pharmacists in compounding, preparing, and dispensing prescriptions and products. British Columbia will need 1,600 new and replacement pharmacy technicians over the next
"Selkirk College has been delivering a respected pharmacy technician program for 20 years and prioritize providing quality accessible education - particularly in rural and underserved areas," said Melissa Bleier, program coordinator at Selkirk College.
"This partnership with CNC is an exciting opportunity to provide students in the north with the hands-on training they need, while staying close to home and their families."
The 15-month program will provide students a blend of online theory courses, in-person labs, and hands-on practicum hours in direct clinical settings.
"Health care in the north has always benefited from the opportunity to train highly-qualified professionals locally. By working with Selkirk's strong pharmacy tech program, we intend to give students the knowledge they need to become exceptional technicians
while partnering with care providers in the north to offer front-line experience," said Dr. Tamara Chambers-Richards, CNC's dean of health sciences.
Students will complete the first three semesters online through Selkirk College, then continue their education for eight weeks at CNC in Prince George for an in-person lab setting. For the final 10 weeks of the program, students will put their new skills
to work by completing a practicum in northern BC.
"As soon as I graduated from Selkirk's program, I got a job with Northern Health. They had heard great things about the program, and I use the information I learned at school daily," shared Delaney Elliott, who now works as a chemotherapy technician in
"I'm so excited to hear there will be an opportunity for new students to study in the north. We really need pharmacy technicians right now. I know a couple of people in Northern BC who wanted to do the program, but couldn't travel far because they had
kids at home or other responsibilities. Completing the program at CNC will give them that opportunity, and that's huge!"
Due to the high-demand of pharmacy technicians, successful graduates of the program can enjoy an 82 per cent employment rate. The median annual starting salary for these positions is $55,000.
"Pharmacy technicians are very in-demand, especially due to their extended scope of practice since the COVID-19 pandemic," said Brett Chiasson, registered pharmacist at Hart Drugs.
"If students are getting certified locally, that could mean better retention of technicians in Prince George. If we have more technicians in the north, that would cut down pharmacy wait times and improve medication safety for patients."
The online portion of the program begins in July 2023, with in-person labs commencing at CNC in July 2024. Visit Selkirk College’s
website to learn more about the pharmacy technician program and apply.
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