Cove High prepares students for growing pharmacy industry
Special to the Leader-Press
Copperas Cove High School senior Jiya Edwards slowly pours the oral medical syrup into the bottle, measuring to a precise ounce. The pharmacy technician student plans to attend the University of Texas utilizing the skills and medical certifications earned at Copperas Cove High School.
“Taking Pharmacology my junior year sparked my curiosity of pharmaceutical practices,” Edwards said. “The pharmacy technician program expanded my knowledge, showing me how important and prestigious the field is. The material is also challenging which is what I like and admire about the program and how it is taught.”
Projected continued growth in the medical field has Copperas Cove ISD preparing students for the workforce with six industry-based certification practicum courses which all lead to entry level jobs in the therapeutic service industry.
Teacher Jeni Carbone Williams instructs student in the Certified Pharmacy Technician Program.
“In this classroom training, students prepare to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam credentialed through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and recognized through the State Board of Pharmacy,” Carbone-Williams said. “One of the most rigorous courses in the health science pathway, we focus on creating a working knowledge of the top 200 medications, federal requirements, patient safety and quality assurance, order entry, and processing.”
Students are taught compounding as well as sterile product and aseptic technique needed to create medication including intravenous medication.
“I love teaching this program because it allows those students who are not interested in blood and guts to explore other areas of the medical field and potentially be certified to make a livable wage straight out of high school.” Carbone-Williams said.
The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics forecasts a seven percent growth in the pharmacy tech industry over the next 10 years, faster than the average projected growth rate of only five percent for all professions.
“The continued growth of the pharmacy technician profession may even outpace estimates, considering the increase in pharmacist involvement in non-traditional roles, as well as the potential for pharmacist provider status, both of which would shift pharmacist resources away from operational responsibilities and into roles more akin to mid-level clinical providers,” Carbone-Williams said.
The average wage for a certified pharmacy technician is $16-$19 per hour and allows students to have a livable wage entering the workforce or provide income while attending college. CCHS graduate Alexsis Grasso earned her certification as a pharmacy technician while in high school and had no difficulty obtaining a job in the field.
“The pharmacy tech program at CCHS gave me the tools I needed to pass the exam but more importantly the knowledge and compassion to care of my patients,” Grasso said. “As a current pharmacy technician, working in the pharmacy allows me to ensure my patients have access to understanding and filling their medications, resolve insurance issues, and obtain a solid foundation and paying job in healthcare as I continue my education at the University of Texas-San Antonio.”
Copperas Cove High School offers medical certifications also in the fields of clinical medical assistant, nurse assistant, patient care technician, phlebotomy technician, and EKG technician.