Pharmacy Officers provide pharmaceutical care to Canadian Forces members. They offer expert advice on drug therapy for emergency medicine, intensive care therapy, pain management, infectious diseases, and medical countermeasures for nuclear, biological and chemical warfare. Pharmacy Officers also identify and resolve complex drug-related problems.
The role of a Pharmacy Officer is constantly changing and is no longer confined to the distribution of medications. As integral members of the Canadian Forces Health Services team, Pharmacy Officers consult with patients, physicians, and other health care professionals. They teach and guide pharmacy students and interns, serve on advisory and professional committees, and maintain clinical competence through structured and self-directed learning initiatives. Pharmacy Officers also manage and control medical supplies and equipment.
Pharmacy Officers typically provide pharmacy services at health clinics in Canada, although they may also work in a medical depot or in support of military missions in a field medical unit. Pharmacy officers face challenging clinical situations but will also serve as leaders, administrators, and materiel managers.
The starting salary for a fully-trained Pharmacy Officer is $51,000 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Regular promotions through the junior officer ranks take place based on the completion of required training and on the length of service as an officer. Once promoted to the rank of Lieutenant (Navy) or Captain, their salary is approximately $74,000 per year. Pharmacy Officers who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training.
After enrolment, you start basic officer training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, for 14 weeks. Topics covered include general military knowledge, the principles of leadership, regulations and customs of the Canadian Forces, basic weapons handling, and first aid. Opportunities will also be provided to apply such newly acquired military skills in training exercises involving force protection, field training, navigation and leadership. A rigorous physical fitness program is also a vital part of basic training. Basic officer training is provided in English or French and successful completion is a prerequisite for further training.
Second language training is available following basic officer training; depending on your ability in your second language, it may take from two to nine months.
Pharmacy Officers attend the Canadian Forces Health Services Training Centre in Borden, Ontario, for instruction on military medical doctrine in a field environment, general health care administration, military pharmacy practice, and medical supply management. This training provides the background and opportunity to participate in the clinical, technical, logistic, and administrative aspects of pharmacy practice in the Canadian Forces.
Pharmacy Officers will have the opportunity to complete a six month preceptor program at an accredited civilian hospital, similar to the Hospital Residency program.
Pharmacy Officers may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, such as:
- Leadership training
- Management training
As they progress in their career, Pharmacy Officers who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training, including subsidized studies in a Doctor of Pharmacy program at an accredited Canadian university.
If you already have a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from a recognized Canadian university, have passed the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada’s qualifying exam, and hold a current license to practice client-based pharmacy in a Canadian province or territory, the Canadian Forces may place you directly into the required on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military officer qualification training are required before being assigned.
Regular Officer Training Plan
This position is available for part-time employment through the Reserves. Reservists generally work part-time for a Reserve unit in their community. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.
Reservists train with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required professional standards of the job. If additional training is required in order to specialize skills, arrangements will be made by the home unit.
It is also possible to set up an “Individual Learning Plan” to take courses leading to a university degree related to this job, and upon successful completion, be reimbursed for up to 50% of tuition and other mandatory costs. Education fees for successfully completed courses are reimbursed as long as the student was a Reservist during the entire duration of the course.
This position is available through the Reserve Entry Training Plan. Through this program Reservists attend the Royal Military College, and are eligible for tuition reimbursement up to $2000 per year. They are paid as a part-time officer cadet for any additional military training required.
Typically, Reservists work or train with their home unit for at least four evenings and one weekend per month, from September to May of each year. They are paid 85% of Regular Force rates of pay and receive a reasonable benefits package.