By Jody Norwood
Tribune-Courier News Editor
DRAFFENILLVE– Five Marshall County High School students are getting exposed to health care careers thanks in part to a state program and local employers. The training also provides an opportunity to become licensed pharmacy technicians after they graduate high school.
“It’s an online certified pharmacy tech program,” said instructor Sandy David. “It’s 240 hours online and they do clinicals at different sites in Marshall County. They learn federal law regulations, different kinds of drugs and the differences of how they effect the system.”
When students finish the PassAssured course they will be able to sit for board certification. In Kentucky, tests are only given to high school graduates without felony convictions.
Statewide, students who complete the course have nearly a 98 percent pass rate for taking certification.
“They’ll take a pharmacy technician board exam after they graduate from high school,” David said. “If they pass that, they’ll become a certified pharmacy technician.”
That training gives students eyeing healthcare careers an opportunity to find employment in the field right out of high school. The 40-50 clinical hours in a working pharmacy environment also helps expose students to areas of the field they might not have considered before.
During clinical work, students assist pharmacists, measure labels, interact with customers, computer work and dispense medications under pharmacist supervision.
“The coursework is through the state,” David said. “They had some grant money that allowed schools to do it. It’s new for us. We’ve just started it this year.”
Seniors taking part in the programs first year are Carly Sykes, Kailen Adams, Tory Fehrenbacher, Erica Ross and Kerry Brenner.
“I just wanted to try it out and see if I liked pharmacy,” Fehrenbacher said.
The program is similar to the high school’s nurse aide program, which also helps provides work opportunities and certification for students.
“That’s what I was going to go to college for, my pharmacy tech certification,” Adams said. “So it’s pretty much saving me a year in college. You pretty much work at your own pace. You watch a video and take quizzes. After you take all your quizzes, you take a chapter test.”