According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for pharmacy technicians is on the rise. From 2010 to 2020, the job market for pharmacy technicians is expected to grow by 32 percent, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Beginning Monday, Oklahoma City Community College will again offer the Pharmacy Technician I: Basic Prescriptions & Dispensing course. The course will run until Nov. 13.
The majority of pharmacy technicians work in pharmacies and drugstores, while many also work in hospitals and grocery stores. With part-time and full-time job opportunities, pharmacy technicians help licensed pharmacists dispense prescription medication; record information needed to fill a prescription; count tablets and measure amounts of other medication for prescriptions; compound or mix medications; package and label prescriptions; accept payment for prescriptions and process insurance claims; and do routine pharmacy tasks including answering phone calls from customers.
Vickie Chandler, certified pharmacy technician, will teach the course again this session. She has taught the course since 2009.
“I believe it's a popular class because it's a fast-track class designed to help students gain the knowledge quickly,” she said in a news release from OCCC. “It also provides students with the resources they need to help them prepare to take the National Certification Exam and become a successful CPhT (Certified Pharmacy Technician).”
In Oklahoma, certifications are not required, but those who are certified are often offered higher salaries.
In 2010, the median annual wage of pharmacy technicians was $28,400, according to the news release.
The highest paid pharmacy technicians are those who work in hospitals, making over $32,000.
At OCCC, Chandler typically has from 10 to 15 students per class.
Chandler said that some students have gone on to work in retail pharmacies; one student went into long-term care pharmacy; and a couple have used their certifications in other areas where being a nationally certified tech is required, such as a pharmacy benefit manager.
“Being a national certified pharmacy technician is not just a job, it's a career choice,” Chandler said. “Pharmacy technicians are health care professionals, providing customer care for individuals who need assistance with their medication therapy. This career path cannot only give individuals an opportunity to work with other health care professionals, but it also helps people live a healthier life.”
At a glance
• The class: The course will offer participants a firm foundation to receive certification in this growing field and will prepare them to practice with a registered pharmacist.
• Prerequisites: A high school diploma or GED and basic math skills.
• When: Classes will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday and Wednesday.
• Where: The Keith Leftwich Memorial Library, room 407 A&B, on the OCCC campus, 7777 S May Ave.
• Cost: $480, which includes 36 hours of instruction and two textbooks approved by the American Pharmacists Association.
• More details: Contact the OCCC Professional Development Institute at 682-7856 or www.occc.edu/pdi/