This page contains some frequently asked questions and answers. All students should be familiar with NAPRA’s National Pharmacy Technician Bridging Education Program website information before they start a bridging course.
What is the National Pharmacy Technician Bridging Education Program? Is it different from the Ontario, BC and Alberta bridging programs?
Development of curriculum for the Pharmacy Technician Bridging Education Program was originally undertaken and completed in Ontario in 2008 by CONNECT Strategic Alliances (the marketing alliance of the Ontario college system) in collaboration with the Ontario College of Pharmacists. The financial support of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care is gratefully acknowledged. We also acknowledge the administrative support provided for the project by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.
On August 1, 2011, responsibility for administration of the Pharmacy Technician Bridging Education Program was assumed jointly by the Colleges of Pharmacists of Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario. Ownership of curriculum materials was transferred by CONNECT Strategic Alliances to these project partners.
In 2012, NAPRA secured funding from the Government of Canada’s Labour Market Integration Program to revise the existing bridging program delivered in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario to make it more suitable for national delivery. The development of a national bridging education program for pharmacy technicians ensures that individuals currently working in the role of pharmacy technician can upgrade their skills to align with changes in the scope of practice, without returning to school to complete a full-time training program. The ultimate goal is a national strategy that will enable regulated pharmacy technicians to re- locate and work anywhere in Canada, without the need to re-qualify.
What if I have already started my bridging education with a previous provincial program? Can I continue and finish with the National Program?
The national version of the Pharmacy Technician Bridging Education Program is what you need to complete your bridging education. The national version is very similar to the previous program in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, but it has been updated and no longer contains provincial-specific information. Thus, students should not have to re-take any of the courses they have previously taken. However, you should contact the pharmacy regulatory authority in your province or territory for more details on the requirements in your jurisdiction.
Do I have to pre-register with my local college of pharmacists prior to registering in a bridging course?
Each Pharmacy Regulatory Authority (PRA) may have its own set of prerequisites that you must adhere to before you start a Bridging Education course. Check with your PRA to find out what is required of you prior to starting any of the Bridging Education courses. A list of PRAs in the various provinces and territories of Canada is available on the NAPRA website.
Will the courses be offered online? Do I have to come to campus at anytime? How will I submit my assignments and take my exams?
All Bridging Education courses are offered fully online from Selkirk College; at no time will you have to come to campus. Communication with admissions, the coordinator of the program, instructors and fellow students will take place by email and through website discussion forums. Assignments are completed online and submitted using Microsoft Word documents to course websites. Exams are set up well ahead of time by the instructor and student and take place in a secure online environment. There will not be any paper-based assignments or exams for the online version of the National Pharmacy Technician Bridging Education Program students must submit all graded assessments electronically.
What are the admission requirements?
All students must contact their local PRA to make sure that they qualify for Bridging Education in their jurisdiction. Each jurisdiction may have its own specific requirements; these requirements are the responsibility of the student and should be completed prior to applying for any of the National Pharmacy Technician Bridging Education Program courses at Selkirk College. If you do not take the bridging program at the appropriate point in the registration/licensure process or if you do not meet the eligibility criteria or deadlines in your jurisdiction, you may be required to re-take the program or may jeopardize your ability to continue with the registration/licensure process.
What is the length of the Bridging courses?
Pharmacology and Product Preparation are each 11 weeks; Management of Drug Distribution Systems and Professional Practice are each 13 weeks in length. Students should expect to spend 3-10hrs weekly on course work depending on the course and the weekly requirements. For more information on these courses see the left hand side bar of this website for course descriptions.
How do I work online to complete my bridging course?
The online version of the National Pharmacy Technician Bridging Education Program is delivered in an online environment called Moodle; within this Moodle environment students will see a weekly outline that guides them through reading the resources and completing activities. Weekly resources could be textbook
reading, online website review or PowerPoint presentations and instructors’ notes added to the website. Typical weekly activities would be assignment submissions using Word, participation in online discussion forums and/or quizzes and tests. Instructors are in contact with students weekly through email and discussion forums and can also arrange for over the phone/web communication.
How do students take exams online?
All exams in the Pharmacy Technician Bridging Program must be written, online, as in-person invigilated exams through the Moodle website. Invigilation can only take place with approved invigilators. Each student has the responsibility to find their own proctor and set it up with invigilation services (even local students). To do so, we suggest that you look for invigilation services from a local college or university. It is the responsibility of the student to find a proctor based on the Selkirk College Pharmacy Technician Bridging Education proctoring guidelines. This information is given to students once they are registered into a bridging course and they can access the course website.
Course instructors work with invigilation services to set up for exams. When your invigilator is approved your instructor will contact him/her with your examination information just prior to the final exam. All exams are password protected in a secure website.
Do I have to be online in my course at set times?
The online Moodle environment is flexible as to when you work on the course requirements. While there is not a set time during the week that students must be in a course there will be set time each week that the instructor will be available and there will be set due dates for assignments and weekly discussion forums. The instructor contact hours, when you can be sure that you can reach your instructor and expect a speedy answer to your questions, will be organized from the start of each course. This is also the time that your instructor will be marking the assignment submissions and reviewing the discussion forum postings. Students should understand that their access to the course materials and websites could be monitored to see if they are completing the required work within the expected timeframe.
How do PLAR exams work?
PLAR exams will be scheduled monthly by the program coordinator. Any applications received before the 1st of the month will qualify for a PLAR exam in that calendar month. Candidates will be contacted and exams will be set up online. Students will be given access to a PLAR information website and will be set up in a Moodle website to organize each exam date and time. Students will be required to organize invigilation services in their location. Students should review the Bridging Program course outlines and the information about PLAR exams on the NAPRA website to ensure that they are ready to take a PLAR challenge exam before they apply. More course specific information for PLAR is available in the course descriptions on the right hand side bar.
What happens after I apply to take a bridging course?
After students have registered and paid their course fee they will receive a confirmation email from admissions. This email will contain information on how to get themselves set up in course websites and how to set up student email. Just before the start date of a course, the program coordinator/course instructor will also send each student some additional, important, “getting started” information. Students have constant contact with program staff and are guided through all the steps needed to complete their bridging education.
What materials do I need to take my online courses?
Each course is unique in its requirements and may have course textbooks and/or materials that students need to order prior to the start of the course. Students should read each course outline provided on the NAPRA website, as well as the course descriptions available on the left hand side bar for textbook
information. Students will need a computer with high-speed Internet access and Microsoft Word or Open Office to complete required course work. It is also important, before students start an online course, to have the web browser FireFox installed on their computer. Students ill be using this web browser to access the course websites in Moodle. More information on the installation of FireFox and Open Office will be made available through the course websites once the student has registered and started a course.