Vancouver Career Spotlight: Pharmacist

Vancouver Career Spotlight is an interview-style blog series that features the amazing professionals that live and work in the Greater Vancouver area. Our vision is to showcase the many career opportunities that exist in Vancouver and provide inspiration to the future generation of workers and career changers.

Amy is a Pharmacist working in Vancouver.  She obtained her Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of British Columbia.


Why did you choose this career path?

When I first entered university, I had not decided on my career path yet. I enjoyed biology and chemistry classes in high school and had initially majored in biology. After talking with professors and teaching assistants, I realized I was not interested in pursuing a career in laboratory research. A friend who had already gotten into pharmacy school recommended me for an opportunity to work at a local pharmacy. From the time spent at the pharmacy, I decided a career as a pharmacist is what I wanted to pursue.

What are your main responsibilities?

As a pharmacist, I am responsible for checking prescriptions regarding therapeutics (correct dose, duration, etc.), making sure prescriptions are safe for the patient to take, providing proper counselling of medications to patients (how to use inhalers, avoiding dairy when taking certain medications), and giving vaccinations.  

What are the opportunities for career growth and advancement? 

In the community, generally career growth would be advancing to become a pharmacy manager or pharmacy owner.

After graduation, pharmacists can also apply for hospital residency for further specialization and to become a clinical pharmacist working at a hospital.  

What kind of person would like a career as a Pharmacist?

A detailed-oriented person who is a proficient communicator and also does not mind staying on their feet at work.

Book a complimentary career chat.

If you are interested in speaking with a professional Career Counsellor, contact us for a complimentary consultation call to see how we can help you achieve your career goals.

What is a common misconception people have about this career? 

Most people think that pharmacists just count pills. In reality, the pharmacist needs to check for many things — whether or not the medication is indicated for treatment of the condition, if the medication is dosed appropriately, and any potential side effects or interaction with any medication the patient is currently on. If cost is a concern for the patient, the pharmacist can also recommend a less costly alternative that the patient can try first. The pharmacist will have to communicate proper use of medications to the patient as well as side effects of the medication and what to do if side effects occur.

What school subjects would a person in this career typically excel in?

Paying attention in chemistry and biology class in high school can be beneficial in building the groundwork to excel in post-secondary physiology and chemistry classes.  

What type of education would you typically need to work as a Pharmacist?

You need to graduate from pharmacy school. Depending on the school, generally you need at least 2 years of undergraduate before you can apply.

What are the best schools and programs to get this education?

UBC is the only school that offers the pharmacy program in BC. However, there are a total of 10 pharmacy schools in Canada. Each school has a different criteria for application so it is important to look into what the minimum grades they consider to be competitive and focus on completing prerequisite courses that are required during the first few years of undergraduate studies.

What types of organizations would typically hire a Pharmacist?

Most pharmacists work in the community once they graduate. However, some pharmacists may choose to work in research and or work as a clinical pharmacist in a hospital (usually residency is required in this case).

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in a career as a Pharmacist?

Try to work as a pharmacist assistant on weekend shifts in a pharmacy that is not too busy. You will have a chance to see what goes on behind the counters of a pharmacy.

I hope you enjoyed this Career Spotlight interview. Below are additional resources if you’re interested in researching this career further. Feel free to ask questions in the comments. If you’re interested in seeing if this career is right for you, send us a message here, and let’s help you find a career that aligns with your personality, interests, and goals.


More information about Product Management in BC:

WorkBC – Pharmacists (earnings, workforce statistics, related careers, etc.)

Canadian Pharmacists Association – How to Become a Pharmacist in Canada

College of Pharmacists of British Columbia 

Education Programs (in the Greater Vancouver area):

University of British Columbia

Crossroads Career Audit Email Course

Read more popular content: