INA, IL (KFVS) - Working students, parents and those looking to start a new career in a growing health care field have the chance to complete Rend Lake College's evening Pharmacy Technology program in fall 2017 in only one semester.
RLC's certificate program consists of three courses: Pharmacology and Medical Calculations, Pharmacy Technician Practices, and Pharmacy Drug Distribution; and two clinicals.
The classes meet once a week, Monday through Wednesday, in the Learning Resource Center on the Ina campus.
Retail pharmacy and hospital clinicals are then determined after the semester begins, based on student schedules and site hours.
During the 16 credit hours, students learn what it takes to work in a variety of pharmacy settings, focusing on everyday duties, such as dispensing prescription medications; taking prescription information from customers; measuring, packaging and labeling prescriptions; keeping track of inventory; and processing insurance information.
Students also cover a wider range of topics, including the history of pharmacy, retail aspects of the profession, various medication forms used by hospitals, some pharmacy-related calculations, and much more students need to pass the certification exam.
"Pharmacy technicians are a combination of the technical skills we teach and good customer service skills," explained Kim Wilkerson, Dean of Allied Health. "Our graduates work in a variety of settings, from traditional pharmacies and hospitals to facilities like the Menard Correctional Center. This certificate can lead to many opportunities, and gives students a good foundation to continue with their education with an associate degree or on to pharmacy school."
In fact, for those considering pharmacy school, RLC's Associate in Science Degree offers courses that can transfer into a five-year bachelor's degree program.
Upon graduation from RLC's program, students can sit for the National Pharmacy Technician Certification exam, offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board.
Once employed, these students will work under the supervision of a registered pharmacist.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for pharmacy technicians is projected to grow nine percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.
This will be due in part to an aging population requiring more medications, as well as increased access to insurance coverage by more customers.
With the one-semester certificates, graduates working in Illinois have an average salary of $32,000.
Illinois is the fourth-highest state for employment of Pharmacy Technicians with nearly 20,000 working in the field.
More information can be found online at www.rlc.edu/allied-health/pharmacy-technician.
To register for classes in the Pharmacy Technician program, contact RLC's Allied Health Division at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1769.