Chattanooga State Announces New Advanced-Level Pharmacy Technology Program

Thursday, July 11, 2019 - by Betty Proctor, Chattanooga State

Chattanooga State Community College announces a new Advanced-Level Pharmacy Technology program, the area’s only American Association of Health-System Pharmacists accredited program. According to Dr. Nancy Watts, program director, the unprecedented demand for highly trained technicians has led to moving the initial program founded in 1996 to the advanced-level. Area hospital directors and community pharmacies on the program advisory committee voted unanimously for the advanced-level program based on their demand.

“The duties and responsibilities of pharmacy technicians are continuing to expand and technicians are being more highly utilized, especially in Tennessee,” states Dr. Watts. “Pharmacies are expanding patient care services such as immunizations and Medication Therapy Management and their pharmacists need formally educated technicians from accredited programs in order to enhance quality and patient safety."

Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist, must be willing to take directions, and be able to work competently without constant instruction by the pharmacist.

Because of the critical nature of many pharmacy duties, pharmacy technicians must perform precise work and be detail-oriented. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job demand for certified pharmacy technicians is expected to grow 12 percent from 2016-2026, faster than average for all occupations. The demand stems from caring for the aging population in addition to numerous new drug therapies.

The Advanced-Level program will prepare students for the national Pharmacy Technician Certification Board exam and supervisory roles in a variety of contemporary pharmacy settings such as: hospitals, community practice, specialty compounding, insurance companies, home-care, and assisted living facilities. Students will acquire additional knowledge, skills and behaviors, and abilities beyond those of entry-level technicians needed for today’s advanced-level roles.

Salaries also increase with advanced-level duties. 2018 Chattanooga State graduates experienced a salary range between $13-$18/hour with most positions offering full benefits.

Chattanooga State offers a 12-month technical certificate course in Advanced-Level Pharmacy Technology in addition to an associate of applied science degree in Health Sciences. The Pharmacy Technician Program boasts an impressive 100 percent job placement rate.

To be eligible for the program, applicants must be motivated and be at college-level for reading and writing. College level math is preferred, as well as having successfully passed a criminal background check and drug screening. Program admission is competitive and applications are being accepted now until the class is filled. Students range from recent high school graduates to those with advanced degrees looking for a career change. TN Promise and TN Reconnect students are welcome. Financial aid is available to qualified students.

An upcoming information session has been scheduled for Tuesday, July 30, at 10 a.m. in the Health Sciences Center building, room 2118. No reservations are needed and attendance is not required; but strongly encouraged. The information session addresses the application process, admission requirements, selection, program details, curriculum, overview, and career opportunities. 

For more information on the Advanced-Level Pharmacy Technology program or information session, call 697-2690 or visit https://www.chattanoogastate.edu/pharmacy-technician-certificate for online applications and complete program information.



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