Pharmacy Technician Program

New pharmacy technician program

JCCC will be offering a new pharmacy technician program beginning in the fall semester of 2012 in an effort to fill the growing need for trained help in area pharmacies. 

The program will be the first of its kind at a community college in this area. The certificate will take approximately three semesters to complete and include 600 contact hours. Nearly half of those hours will be served as an extern, with over 100 hours in a retail or community pharmacy and over 100 additional hours in an institutional pharmacy, such as in a hospital. The program is part of JCCC's noncredit, continuing educational offerings.

Jacqueline S. Marinac, director of research, American College of Clinical Pharmacy, Lenexa, and a licensed pharmacist, is working with Penny Shaffer, director of health and human services at JCCC, to develop curriculum to make certificate holders extremely marketable and ready to take the national certification examination offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. 

Classes will be team taught by pharmacists, current pharmacy technicians and other health care professionals. “We’re getting a good group of faculty from a variety of different disciplines to make it broad-based in its scope and as interesting to the students as possible,” Marinac said. 

Students will be taught to work under the direct supervision of a pharmacist to:

  • Input prescription, physician and patient information into the pharmacy’s computer system
  • Fill and compound prescriptions, prepare sterile solutions and intravenous solutions
  • Obtain patient insurance and payment information
  • Fill medication carts in hospitals and other health care institutions
  • Take and order inventory and process third-party payments 

The certificate also includes classes in medical terminology, pharmacy calculations, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and an introduction to pharmacy law, Shaffer said. 

Kansas and Missouri have different rules for pharmacy technicians to follow, but the instructors will cover both states’ guidelines so students can seek employment on either side of the state line. 

“A shortage of pharmacists has certainly caused a rise in the number and need for technicians to handle primarily the medication distribution system,” Marinac said. “With the pharmacist shortage, we are hoping to increase the authority and responsibility of pharmacy technicians to allow pharmacists more direct patient contact.  This was why the nationwide certification system was developed in 1995.” 

Marinac said that since 1995, nearly half a million pharmacy technicians have been certified, lessening the increasing burden on pharmacists who must manage medication therapy for an aging population who generally use more medication as they grow older. 

“If you talk to any pharmacists, they would tell you that they could not function without a good technician. A good, solid technician is invaluable to the entire health care team,” Marinac said. 

Students must be selected for the program. Applicants must be 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, pass a basic competency test and complete other various enrollment procedures. For more information, email Penny Shaffer or call her at 913-469-8500 ext. 3140.