Ashtabula County

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Health Care Academy Pharmacy Program Is State Approved

Healthcare students at the Ashtabula County Technical & Career Campus (A-Tech) have a new opportunity that’s available at only a few high schools in the state of Ohio.

A-Tech is one of just five high schools in Ohio that has an Approved Pharmacy Technician Training Program. That means Pharmacy Technology students will now be able to go directly from their A-Tech program to becoming certified Pharmacy Technicians.

“Our students can take the board exam and get a job,” said Pharmacy Technology instructor Marybeth Sanford.

It’s a competitive advantage for A-Tech students that not only gives them a jump start on a career, but can also save a lot of money. A Pharmacy Technology program taken after high school could cost about $12,000. 

Additionally, after the year 2020, students can only apply for certification if they attended a board approved or accredited pharmacy technician training program like the one at A-Tech. In the past, high school graduates could take the board exam without any formal training.  

Sanford and A-Tech Instructional Coordinator Brian Kimmel worked through the rigorous approval process with the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy to demonstrate the robust curriculum and lab activities at A-Tech.

“They’re making sure everyone is incredibly competent in the pharmacy world. And this approval is the icing on the cake for our students,” said Sanford. A pharmacy technician can earn $28-$30,000 in annual salary. 

The Pharmacy Technician program is part of A-Tech’s Healthcare Academy. Seniors in the program often find employment during their senior year. ACMC has employed a number of students over the years for their inpatient and outpatient pharmacies. 

ACMC Pharmacy Manager Tonya Wilson says ACMC has established an employer-based training program that meets the requirement of the new rules, but ACMC pharmacy management also requires all pharmacy technicians to obtain certification and ultimately register with the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy as certified pharmacy technicians.

“With A-Tech's program becoming approved by the State Board of Pharmacy, students graduating from the program will be eligible to become registered or certified pharmacy technicians in Ohio. These students will have an advantage and will likely be among top pharmacy technician candidates in the area,” she said. 

Wilson says changes in licensing and educational requirements can cause a shift in the job market. “A-Tech seeking approval from the State Board of Pharmacy for their program will help with this job market shortage. ACMC has been happily working with A-Tech over the last few years to provide extern experiences for students in the pharmacy technician program. The practical experience helps the graduates prepare for the certification exams and learn on the job skills prior to officially graduating from the high school program,” she said. 

To learn more about the Pharmacy Technician program and other opportunities at A-Tech, call 440-576-6015 or visit atech.edu.

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