OCCC to Offer Pharmacy Tech Class, February 3 through April 9, 2014

    (Published: 12-11-13)


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 February 3, Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) will again offer the Pharmacy Technician I: Basic Prescriptions & Dispensing course. The course will run until April 9.

The majority of pharmacy technicians work in pharmacies and drug stores, 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; 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 Basic Pharmacy Technician I since 2009.

"I believe it's a popular class because it's a fast track class designed to help students gain the knowledge quickly. 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)," said Chandler.

In the state of Oklahoma you do not have to be a CPhT, but those who are certified are offered a higher salary.

At OCCC, Chandler typically has between 10-15 students per class.

Chandler said that of the students from OCCC, some have gone on to work in retail pharmacies; one student went into long term care pharmacy; a couple have used their certifications in other areas where being a Nationally Certified Tech is required, for example PBM's (Pharmacy Benefits Managers).

"Being a National Certified Pharmacy Technician is not just a job, it's a career choice," said Chandler. "Pharmacy Technicians are health-care professionals, providing customer care for individuals who need assistance with their medication therapy. This career path can not only give individuals an opportunity to work with other health-care professionals, but it also helps people live a healthier life." She added, "People rely on medication daily to survive, so understanding how medication works and what it is used for is very important."

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.

In 2010, the median annual wage of pharmacy technicians was $28,400. The highest paid pharmacy technicians are those who work in hospitals, making over $32,000.

Prerequisites for the class include a high school diploma or GED and basic math skills.

Classes will be held on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Keith Leftwich Memorial Library, room 407 A&B, on the OCCC campus.

Cost for the course is $480, which includes 36 hours of instruction and two textbooks approved by the American Pharmacists Association.

For more information or enrollment, contact the OCCC Professional Development Institute at (405) 682 – 7856 or www.occc.edu/pdi/pharmacy.html.