Highly marketable skills

Published 9:59 pm Monday, July 15, 2013

As in most other businesses and industries around the nation, the last decade or so has seen significant changes to the way that local pharmacies operate. One big difference is that many of the duties that once were performed only by registered pharmacists have been taken over by pharmacy technicians.

Pharmacy techs are considered paraprofessionals these days, and they assist pharmacists in retail, hospital, nursing home-supply and mail-order pharmacy settings, according to Elaine Beale, the pharmacy technician program coordinator at Paul D. Camp Community College. A growing population of senior citizens in the United States means those pharmacy opportunities will continue to grow.

Paul D. Camp now offers a comprehensive program for those hoping to enter the field, and the community college graduated its first class of pharmacy technicians in May. Another class is scheduled to start at the college’s Regional Workforce Development Center in Franklin in the fall.


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The eight-month, 25-credit-hour program includes basic classes, such as freshman English, public speaking and CPR certification, as well as specific pharmacy classes and clinical experience, and its students are eligible for financial aid to help them complete their studies. When they finish the program, the students are ready to take the exams they need for national and state certifications.

The new pharmacy technician program is exactly the sort of thing envisioned for the Western Tidewater community when officials launched the Workforce Development Center, which was designed as a place where employers and employees could find training and educational opportunities beyond the typical community college offerings, classes that would train students for new and better high-demand careers.

The college’s pharmacy technician program makes Paul D. Camp an even greater asset to Western Tidewater, and it proves that administrators there and at the Workforce Development Center are paying close attention to the needs of the community they serve.

Congratulations to the first class of graduates. They can be proud of their accomplishment and of the fact that they have marketable skills that will put them in high demand, regardless of the nation’s economic situation.