Pharmacy technician career studies certificate available

Published 10:59 am Wednesday, September 12, 2012

by Randy Betz

Workforce development programs have gained recognition as being a valuable economic development tool with long-term benefits not just for the companies receiving program graduates, but also for the communities at large.

Increasingly, education and skills are seen as important determinants of the employability and income potential of workers.

At Paul D. Camp Community College, we are proud of the many initiatives we’ve launched to meet employer and community demand. Among the most recent programs launched is our Pharmacy Technician Career Studies Certificate program. Approved by the Virginia Board of Pharmacy, the two-semester program prepares individuals to assist and support pharmacists in providing medications to patients.

Program graduates will be prepared to take the Virginia Pharmacy Technician Examination and the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination.


Currently, hospital, home health care and retail pharmacies hire the majority of technicians. Other employment opportunities for pharmacy technicians include medical insurance, medical computer software, drug manufacturing, drug wholesale and food processing companies.

An aging population, scientific advances in the field of medicine and the increasing use of pharmacies as patient care centers contribute to the increasing need for well trained pharmacy technicians.


Students enrolled in the 25-credit hour program will obtain a broad knowledge of pharmacy practices and be skilled in the techniques required to order, stock, prepare, package and dispense medications under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist.

In addition to pharmacy-specific courses, the curriculum includes cardiopulmonary resuscitation, English, medical terminology and public speaking. The program includes learning experiences in class and in the laboratory, as well as internships in retail, institutional and hospital pharmacies.


Input from advisory committees helps to ensure that occupational/technical programs meet the training needs of business and industry.

Current members of the Pharmacy Technician Advisory Committee are pharmacists Eddie Burns with Southampton Memorial Hospital, Michelle Harmon, the pharmacy district manager with Farm Fresh Pharmacies, and Sharon Hasty with Walgreen Drug Stores; and Dr. Candace Rogers, registered nurse professor/nursing program head at PDCCC.

The expertise and support of these individuals has been invaluable in the development of the Pharmacy Technician Career Studies program.


Elaine Beale, a licensed pharmacist and graduate of the University of Toledo, is the director/instructor for the program.

Beale began her career as a pharmacy technician while in high school and has experience in retail and hospital pharmacies as well as in the educational field.

Start-up funding for the program was provided by an Institutes of Excellence grant awarded to the Division of Workforce Development by the Virginia Community College System.

For more information, contact Beale via email at or at 569-6050.

RANDY BETZ  is vice president of the division of workforce development at Paul D. Camp Community College. Email him at