Becoming a pharmacist or a doctor is a serious educational commitment that takes several years. Especially in light of the almost decade long, immensely expensive process of becoming a doctor, healthcare careers can feel out of reach for many people. But becoming a physician is not the only option for healthcare hopefuls. Aside from nursing, two other prominent healthcare professions are medical office assistant and pharmacy technician. Let’s have a closer look.
Pharmacy technician training has to prepare the student for the crucial role of assisting pharmacists conduct their duties. Most people know about the drug dispensaries found in commercial stores and hospitals, but there’s also a role for pharmacy technicians in medical research, third party insurers and drug manufacturing. Regardless of where the technician takes a job, your training will focus on a strict and accurate understanding of measurement, dispensing systems and drug effects. Though you will have the supervision of a pharmacist, patient safety depends on your ability to provide exactly the dose prescribed, and you’ll also have a chance to make sure they’re receiving the right medication and get to work directly with clients, including calling them to ensure medications are being taken as directed.
Programs are usually provided through vocational schools and colleges, with a length averaging around a year, but some programs allowing completion in less time. Like any healthcare professional, you will have liability insurance and accredited programs are offered in most provinces in Canada. 43% are employed in hospitals or similar facilities, and pharmacist shortages have seen a recent boom in the demand for people with pharmacy technician training, making it a reliable choice for steady and rewarding work.
Medical Office Assistant
In Canada, the role of the medical office assistant is somewhat more abbreviated than your American cousins, because of provincially regulated Medicare instead of a byzantine network of private insurers, but there’s still a strong demand for people with medical office assistant training. As well as clerical work, including working with sensitive and confidential medical records and calling patients to remind them of scheduled appointments, medical office assistants receive some front line medical training to help them understand the ins and outs of their patients’ needs.
One part secretarial and receptionist training, and one part anatomy and health lessons, medical office assistant training is also mostly found through career or vocational schools and community colleges. Like pharmacy technician programs the study time is short. Particular to the program the administrative side of the training also makes graduates flexible, with options to work outside the healthcare industry. If you do decide to stick with healthcare you could find yourself at the front desk of a private practice or part of a team in the medical record archives of a large hospital.