Pharmacy tech a growing career field

Warren County Career Center instructor Rebekah Weller, who teaches the Adult Education Pharmacy Technician course, has a passion for accuracy and safety in the medical field. She passes that knowledge along to her students, emphasizing following all safety procedures and double-checking all work.

“In 2009, regulations in Ohio changed, requiring strict regulations for pharmacy techs,” she said. “It began in 2006 with the tragic death of Emily Jerry, a two-year-old who was given a wrong dosage of chemotherapy by a pharmacy technician. This is really important to me. I push from day one – no mistakes. We don’t just push pills into a bottle in this profession. There is a lot of thought that goes into it. I also tell my students about the many options for careers. They can go to work in pharmacies in hospitals, retail, long-term care, infusion centers and mail order facilities. It is a good ‘gateway’ career for the medical field.”

Weller teaches part-time for WCCC and works full-time at Atrium Medical Center in the inpatient pharmacy and also the satellite pharmacy making chemotherapy drugs. She also worked for five years previously at Kroger Pharmacy.

Pharmacy Technicians are in demand in the workforce, and training and certification can be completed in about five to six months in Warren County Career Center’s Adult Education program. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, job prospects are “excellent” and employment of pharmacy technicians is expected to grow by 32 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Pharmacy Technicians assist licensed pharmacists to provide medication and other health care products to patients. Technicians perform routine tasks to help prepare prescribed medications. They also perform administrative duties such as answering phones, stocking shelves, and operating credit card machines and cash registers.

Pharmacy technicians are required by the State of Ohio to complete an approved training program and meet certification requirements. Through the nationally-recognized Pharmacy Technician training program, students are given the skills and knowledge to enable them to qualify for entry-level positions in pharmacies as well as prepare for national certification as a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT). Students will earn their CPhT (Certified Pharmacy Technician) certificate from NHA (National Healthcareer Association).

Students also earn certification in Health Care Provider CPR and a WCCC Certificate of Program Completion. The next class begins Jan. 11, 2014, and meets on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Greentree Health Science Academy on the Atrium Medical Center campus. Students complete their coursework on May 3, and then are required to complete an 80-hour externship with an area pharmacy. Enrollment is going on now, call 513-932-8145 for more information.

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