Pharmacy Assistant vs. Pharmacy Technician: Which Career is Right for You? 

Pharmacy Assistant helping elderly patient read medication list - Pharmacy Assistant vs. Pharmacy Technician: Which Career is Right for You?

When it comes to a career in the pharmaceutical field, there are two main options outside of becoming a pharmacist: pharmacy assistant and pharmacy technician. Both roles are essential to the smooth operation of a pharmacy, but they have different responsibilities, educational requirements, and prospects. Let’s compare pharmacy assistant vs. pharmacy technician roles to help you decide which career path is right for you. 

Pharmacy Assistants in Alberta  

Pharmacy assistants support pharmacists and pharmacy technicians by preparing, labelling, and storing pharmaceutical items while also managing medication inventories and prescription archives. 

Education and Training  

To become a pharmacy assistant, post-secondary is optional but often preferred and even required by some employers. Some individuals might simply undergo on-the-job training, while others attend dedicated pharmacy assistant programs. The duration of these programs varies but can be completed in a shorter time compared to a technician’s education. 

Day-to-Day Responsibilities  

On a day-to-day basis, pharmacy assistants handle tasks such as operating cash registers, maintaining records, offering customer service, and compounding and dispensing non-sterile compounds. 


In Alberta, the average hourly wage for a pharmacy assistant is $23.08

Pharmacy Technician in Alberta  

Pharmacy technicians operate under pharmacists’ guidance, formulating, arranging, and issuing prescriptions and medicinal items while also ensuring safe and secure drug delivery. 

Education and Training  

The journey to becoming a pharmacy technician demands more formal education and certification. In Alberta, pharmacy technicians must possess a certificate or diploma from a program (min. one year) accredited by the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP). 

Day-to-Day Responsibilities  

Pharmacy technicians undertake a more supervisory position, overseeing key operations within the pharmacy. One of their primary duties is ensuring that prescriptions are correctly dispensed and delivered. 


The average hourly wage for a pharmacy assistant in Alberta is $33.32

Which is Better: Pharmacy Assistant or Technician? 

Both roles are crucial and offer fulfilling experiences, but they differ in their day-to-day activities, training, and remuneration. While pharmacy technicians often enjoy higher pay and more autonomy due to their expanded responsibilities, pharmacy assistants can quickly enter the workforce, face less day-to-day pressure, and gain the experience they need to progress in their careers. 

Working as a pharmacy assistant provides an excellent starting point for those considering a long-term career in the pharmacy sector. Your choice depends on your educational aspirations, how quickly you wish to start, and your long-term career goals in the pharmacy world. 

Start a 6-Month Pharmacy Assistant Program at ABES College Today! 

If you’re leaning towards a pharmacy-based career, consider enrolling in the Pharmacy Assistant program at ABES College. In just six months, you’ll have the experience and education you need to be competitive in the job market and enter the workforce quickly. Chat with our admissions team today to learn more!