May 1 is the deadline to apply for admission to the Pharmacy Technology at Ashland Community and Technical College.
Pharmacy Technology offers a quick path into health care employment and can sometimes be the first step in becoming a pharmacist. Pharmacy Technicians are employed in community and hospital pharmacies, and jobs for Pharmacy Technicians in Kentucky are expected to grow 33% from 2010 to 2020 according to KY Occupational Outlook.
“Of my 12 students who graduated last year, 10 had jobs in the field as soon as they graduated, and the other two went on for associate degrees,” said Linda Tiller, ACTC Pharmacy Technology Instructor and Program Coordinator.
“The externship that students must complete is one reason for their employability,” Tiller said. “During their clinical hours as ‘externs’ in area pharmacies, students learn skills that would be needed as an employee, and this can give them an edge when applying for a job.”
“The Pharmacy Technology program gave me a chance to see if I would like a pharmacy career,” said William “Justin” May, a December 2012 graduate who earned an associate degree. “I liked the hands-on classes that got me right into what a pharmacist does on the job.”
Now working as a pharmacy technician at CVS, Mays will start the pre-pharmacy program at Marshall University next fall. “My goal is to be a pharmacist specializing in immunology,” said Mays, a Kitts Hill, OH resident and 2008 graduate of Dawson Bryant High School.
Under the direction of a pharmacist, a Pharmacy Technologist transcribes physician’s medication orders, fills prescriptions and pharmacy orders prepares admixtures of intravenous solutions, replenishes drugs, maintains patient profiles, and prepares bulk formulations.
At ACTC, Pharmacy Technology is a one-year diploma program, and a Community Pharmacy Assistant Certificate is also available. The diploma and certificate credits may be applied toward an Associate of Applied Science Degree in General Occupational/ Technical Studies.
The program includes lecture and laboratory classes in anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, medical terminology, microbiology, dosage calculations, pharmacy mathematics, pharmacy practice, pharmacology, drug classifications and IV admixtures.
Students learn basic pharmacy standards, such as brands and generics and basic calculations of medications, and the IV admixture skills that are important in any hospital pharmacy. “Our students learn to mix in a sterile environment and use aseptic technique correctly,” Tiller said.
Students also learn how to communicate the correct medical abbreviations and medical terminologies with patients, customers and the pharmacists they are assisting.
“In the future we are facing such a drastic rise in health care in general, and prescription care in particular, that trained pharmacy technicians will become more important in helping pharmacists complete their medication processing and distribution duties,” Tiller said.
Tiller has taught in the pharmacy field for almost 12 years and has also worked in hospital and retail pharmacies. “I like to keep up with developments in hospital, retail, home infusion pharmacies, such as nuclear pharmacy so I can pass it on to the students,” she said.
“I never have considered teaching just a job. It’s a way for me to give back some of what I have been given in my life,” Tiller said. “Pharmacy Technology was a lifeline to me when I needed to go back to school at a crucial time in my life, and teaching is a way to pass that gift along.”
Pharmacy Technology is a selective admissions program, and the application deadline is May 1. New students will need to submit both ACTC and Pharmacy Technology applications, which are available on line at: ashland.kctcs.edu. Applicants will need a COMPASS score of 34 or ACT score of 19 or must have completed MT065 with a “C” or better grade prior to being enrolled in the program.
“It’s great that there’s a Pharmacy Technology program close to home,” said Mays. “I would recommend the program to anyone considering a pharmacy field. Between the lab classes and externship, you learn the skills and knowledge you need to go right to work.”
For more information on the program, contact Tiller at 606-326-2154 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.