May 1 is the deadline to apply for admission to the Pharmacy Technology Program at Ashland Community and Technical College. The 2014 class will begin next fall semester.
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 program is set up to help you learn,” said Vanessa I. Dhell, a December 2013 Pharmacy Diploma graduate and Ashland resident. “The labs and clinicals give you the preparation you need for a job.”
Dheel had her clinicals, a 120 hour requirement, at Boyd County Pharmacy. “I was offered a job while still doing the clinicals, and I love working here.” She was recently moved into a new compounding technologist position at the pharmacy. “I was comfortable taking on a new position because I had already learned compounding in lab classes.”
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.
“I would definitely recommend the program,” Dheel said. “The people here, both faculty and staff, will bend over backwards to help you.”
After graduating from high school in Pikeville, she had started at a business college. The college closed and “life got in the way” of going to another college. When her children got older, she was ready to finish her college goal.
“Going back to school required some hard work, but it was fun,” Dheel said. “I was the oldest one in my class, but everyone got along. It’s nice to have a mixture of ages, where the young ones have new ideas and the older ones have life experiences to share.”
“I would encourage anyone considering college to come to ACTC,” she added. “I found this Pharmacy program in an online search, and I like the small classes and hands-on learning. In a fairly short time you can be ready for a job.”
“I’m satisfied with my life now and really happy with my job,” Dheel said. “This has opened new doors for me, and in the future there’s always the possibility of going on to become a pharmacist.”
For more information on Pharmacy Technology, contact Tiller at 606.326.2154 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.