The Pharmacy Technology program prepares students to work as pharmacy technicians. These allied health professionals assist and support licensed pharmacists in providing prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, medical equipment and supplies, pharmaceutical care services, and other health care products and services for patients. Pharmacy Technology is a collaborative program offered by Wake Technical Community College and Johnston Community College. The general education courses are taught at Wake Tech and the pharmacy classes are taught at the Johnston Community College Workforce Development Center located in Clayton, NC.
Graduates of the Pharmacy Technology Program:
- Possess the knowledge and skills to perform pharmacy-related functions (including pharmacy management functions) and provide pharmaceutical care services under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist, including:
- Gain clinical experience in a variety of pharmacy and health care settings, including hospital, community, and specialty pharmacies.
- Become Certified Pharmacy Technicians (CPhT) by successfully completing the national Pharmacy Technician Certification examination, administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
- Meet the legal requirements of having an AAS degree in Pharmacy Technology and being a Certified Pharmacy Technician in order to work in hospitals as Validating Technicians who supervise and check the work of other technicians.
With the successful completion of the Pharmacy Technology program, graduates should have the knowledge and skills to perform pharmacy-related functions and to provide pharmacy services under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist, including:
- Receives and screens prescriptions and medication orders for completeness, accuracy and authenticity
- Reviews and interprets medication orders written by prescribers
- Calculates medication doses and compounding formulations
- Prepares prescription and cautionary labels and patient counseling information sheets
- Selects correct drug products to measure, fill, package and label for dispensing to patients
- Establishes and maintains patient pharmacy and medical records
- Prepares pediatric medication syrups and solutions
- Compounds medicated lotions, gels, creams, ointments, pastes, suppositories, metered dose nasal sprays, lozenges and capsules for humans and animals
- Compounds sterile intravenous admixtures and total parenteral nutrition (TPN)
- Prepares and labels medications in unit dose, blister and bulk packaging
- Collects medication histories and performs medication reconciliation for emergency department patients
- Collects medical and medication information and performs tests for patients in anticoagulation clinics
- Collects medical and medication information, performs medication reconciliation, and coordinates medical and pharmacy services for ambulatory care and long term care patients
- Replenishes medications for hospital care units, emergency kits, and cardiac arrest carts
- Delivers medications to patients and patient care areas
- Processes payments and adjudicates insurance claims with third-party payers
- Purchases and stores pharmaceuticals, medical devices and supplies, and manages pharmacy inventory
- Assists pharmacist in identifying patients who desire or need counseling on use of medications and medical devices
- Assists pharmacists in providing direct patient care in the hospital and community settings
- Operates automated and robotic equipment to process and package prescriptions, to and dispense medications in hospitals for point of care dispensing, centralized dispensing, and controlled substance dispensing and tracking, and in retail pharmacies
- Utilizes automation and robotics to dispense and distribute medications from centralized and satellite pharmacies
- Manages automated dispensing equipment for hospital point-of-care administration and to control medication and controlled substance inventory
- Supervises pharmacy technicians and validates their work
The Pharmacy Technology Program curriculum is composed of classroom, laboratory, and clinical components. Classroom instruction is coordinated with laboratory activities and clinical experiences and provides a broad knowledge of:
Through simulated pharmacy laboratory activities and clinical experiences, students develop and enhance skills, including:
Pharmacy practice laboratory activities focus on prescription and medication order processing, preparation, packaging, and labeling and the use of automated medication dispensing equipment in community pharmacies and in hospital pharmacies. Community pharmacy laboratory activities involve non-sterile product compounding, packaging, and labeling; and the medication products include syrups, lotions, gels, creams, ointments, pastes, suppositories, metered nasal sprays, soft lozenges, lollipops, and capsules for humans and animals. Sterile products laboratory activities cover the USP Chapter 797 guidelines and the compounding, packaging, and labeling of sterile medication products, including IV admixtures, ophthalmics, total parenteral nutrition, and chemotherapy. Hospital pharmacy laboratory activities provide an in-depth study of hospital pharmacy practice and medication therapy management.
The purpose of clinical experience is to allow students to work in pharmacy settings under the supervision of licensed pharmacists and alongside certified pharmacy technicians. Clinical experience takes place in hospitals and medical centers, in community and outpatient pharmacies, and in specialty pharmacies. Students also research and observe compounding, long-term care, home infusion, nuclear, and central community pharmacies.
Pharmacy technicians are in high demand in the health care and pharmaceutical care industries. Employment is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2020 due to increasing needs for pharmaceutical care services and products. With a larger and older population, advances in science, and increases in medication availability and usage, the demand for pharmacy technicians in all practice settings will increase, and their roles will expand. As health care becomes more technically complex, the need for educated, skilled, and competent support personnel will become more important.
According to the US Department of Labor, job opportunities are expected to be good for both full-time and part-time employment, especially for those with formal training and certification. Federal and state laws and regulations and professional standards govern the use of technicians in pharmacies and the requirements for certification and training. More states and employers are requiring certification and training in an effort to decrease medication errors and improve the quality of services provided; by 2015, certification will be required of all pharmacy technicians working in a pharmacy. Most hospitals and community pharmacies in the Wake Tech area require certification for employment.