Coming soon, Northwest Vista College will offer an associate degree of applied science (AAS) in pharmacy technology. This new degree offering at one of the Alamo Colleges will allow students to have advanced credentials that could take them further in their health career.
Currently, the state of Texas does not require formal training to be a pharmacy technician, but the value of a degree that initiates a pathway to higher education is immeasurable, said NVC Pharmacy Technology Program Coordinator Marlena Lomas-Moreno.
According to Coyne College’s “Evolution of Pharmacy,” pharmacy and drug store sales in the U.S. represent a $236 billion dollar industry. It also said seven out of 10 Americans are taking one or more prescription drugs. Indeed.com, a job-searching tool, recently yielded over 200 job openings within a 25-mile radius of the San Antonio area.
The new AAS degree has been approved by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and compliments the current Level 1 certificate currently offered by NVC. It’s pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Lomas-Moreno said the NVC pharmacy advisory committee, composed of many pharmacists and technicians who represent different companies in the community, have expressed the value of formally educated students and have stated they would prefer to hire a student with formal training over an individual who was just “self-taught.”
“The formal training lends itself to minimizing the chance for medication errors and improves patient safety, which is vital considering the expanding role of the pharmacist,” Lomas-Moreno added.
Lomas-Moreno said careful consideration was taken in creating the AAS curriculum for those students who wish to be pharmacists. She said many of the courses that are included are transferable and have been cross-referenced with the pre-requisites of the eight pharmacy schools that serve the state of Texas.
“The formal training lends itself to minimizing the chance for medication errors and improves patient safety, which is vital considering the expanding role of the pharmacist”
Additionally, students seeking to be pharmacy technicians nationally certified by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board will be required by 2020 to go through an ASHP accredited program, such as the one at Northwest Vista College. The certification board also reports that certified technicians often receive higher earning and promotions.
“A number of students learn to love the field once they’ve entered it as a technician,” Lomas-Moreno said. “Many realize, during work as a technician, that they want to complete the next step and become pharmacists. A student who completes our degree can be a step closer to meeting the requirements for applying to a pharmacy school.”
For more information about the program contact Marlena Lomas-Moreno at 210.486.4839 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.