Recently earning certificates in Pharmacy Technician at CSM are, from left, Aneisha Asberry and Katherine Pope of Indian Head and Jai Sullivan of Waldorf. Pope says that in addition to earning a certificate, she gained the confidence that pharmacy is a field she wants to pursue to the highest level. (Submitted photo)
LA PLATA, Md.—As a career U.S. Marine Corps spouse, Katherine Pope, 21, knew she would be moving around a lot and needed a vocation that would be in demand nationally and wouldnt require re-certification with each transfer to a new state. She also wanted a career that would help her pay tuition through to a doctorate in pharmacy degree.
Pope found that career and the training she needed for certification in the College of Southern Marylands Pharmacy Technician program. With the current economy, I wanted the certificate so that I would have something under my belt to help me get my foot in the door [with an employer], said Pope.
According to the U.S. Department of Labors Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for pharmacy technicians is expected to grow 32 percent by 2020 with 108,300 technicians needed to fill jobs nationwide. A Brookings Institution index of economic recovery from July 2013 stated that the number of U.S. healthcare industry workers rose to 14.5 million from 11.9 million, a 22.7 percent increase between the first quarters of 2003 and 2013. Employment in other industry sectors grew just 2.1 percent over that same time period.
Pope, after earning her certificate with highest honors at CSM, has moved with her husband to Jacksonville, North Carolina, where her husband has been transferred and she will be able to continue her studies and look for work once the family is settled.
In addition to earning a certificate, Pope gained the confidence that pharmacy is a field she wants to pursue to the highest level. The program reaffirmed my passion for pharmacy, she said.
The CSM Pharmacy Technician Credit program consists of 17 academic credits including 160 hours of retail and hospital pharmacy practice completed in one to two college semesters. The program is approved by the Maryland Board of Pharmacy which results in a streamlined path for graduates to enter the workforce, said CSM Health Sciences Division Chair Dr. Laura Polk.
When pharmacy technician students complete the requirements for academic certification from CSM they have also completed requirements for registration through the Maryland State Board of Pharmacy as a pharmacy technician. With board approval for CSMs pharmacy technician program there is no post-graduation testing required and graduates are immediately employable in healthcare facilities and retail pharmacies in Maryland.
A separate Pharmacy Technician Career Starters program, which is non-credit, is more of an exam preparation course, according to Polk. Upon successful completion of the two courses and 16-hour clinical experience, and the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam, a student is eligible to work anywhere in the country, Polk said. Our hope is that once students complete the credit program and begin working in Maryland, they will return for additional training and sit for the national certification exam which will allow them to compete for jobs in Washington, D.C., and Virginia.
For information on the credit Pharmacy Technician Program, visit www.csmd.edu/hea/pharmacytechnician/. For information on the non-credit Pharmacy Technician Career Starters Program, visit www.csmd.edu/CareerStarters/PharmacyTech.html.