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WITC launches pharmacy technician program

WITC is now accepting students for the new pharmacy technician program for the fall 2018 semester. The two-semester program will be offered in the evenings at the Superior and New Richmond campuses.

As the need for clinical pharmacists increases to meet today’s healthcare demands, so does the need for well-trained pharmacy technicians. Pharmacy technician jobs are in the midst of a growth spurt.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects pharmacy technician jobs to grow 12 percent faster than the average for all occupations from 2016-2026. This expected growth is a result of several factors including an aging population and higher rates for chronic diseases.

Jami Wallace, pharmacy technician program director and instructor, has been working in the field for the past 17 years. According to Wallace, this program fills a training void in both Northwest Wisconsin and the Twin Ports. Advisory committee members already in place for the pharmacy technician program report that pharmacists no longer want the responsibility of training technicians.

“It takes about one year to train someone to do what you want them to do,” said Wallace. “Pharmacies are constantly hiring, and it can be frustrating when you routinely start from scratch. The industry needs a formal education program.”

Area employers are seeking highly-skilled graduates to fill their pharmacy technician positions.

“More employers are seeking new technicians that have completed an education program, and trends are showing an education will be a prerequisite for advanced roles for technicians. The forecast is that in less than four years, an accredited education will be required to enter the field, and WITC’s students will have all of the skills to succeed and build their careers.”

The pharmacy technician program will be taught three evenings per week on campus and one evening per week over WITC’s interactive live streaming software. The nine-month program gives students everything they need to pass the national Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) exam.

Through the pharmacy technician core courses, students will learn about medications, how they are used and how to understand and fill prescriptions. Students will also learn hands-on skills such as how to mix sterile and non-sterile medications as well as aspects of pharmacy business.

As part of the program, students will complete eight weeks in both retail and hospital clinical sites where they will apply the skills learned in the classroom while gaining customer service experience and the opportunity to network with potential employers.