Tuesday, October 18, is National Pharmacy
Technician Day in conjunction with National Pharmacy Week. The designated week
recognizes the valuable contributions from pharmacists and technicians in the
health care field.
Students and faculty at
Southeast Community College celebrated with a pizza party. Program chair, Elina
Pierce, says pharmacy techs rarely get any recognition because they are not always seen by the public.
“We do a lot of
behind-the-scenes work,” she said. “We are the first and last people that
customers see. We love our jobs and what we do.”
SCC’s Pharmacy Technician program is the only accredited one in Nebraska and takes about a year to finish. Pharmacy
techs typically work under a pharmacist and perform many duties, including
filling and pricing orders, processing insurance claims and stocking
Currently, pharmacy techs do
not need to be certified to work in Nebraska. Pierce says that will change in 2017.
Sixteen states, including Iowa, require passing a licensing exam before
employment. Each state has different requirements for technicians.
“Our profession needs to be
regulated and standardized, one test, one option, just like the pharmacists,” Pierce said. “Otherwise you don’t know who is behind the counter filling
She also added that last academic year, SCC’s
program had a 100-percent pass rate for the national Pharmacy Technician
Certification Exam, whereas the national average is around 60 percent.
Jessica Mace is a second-quarter
student already working in a pharmacy in Crete. She’s always had an interest in
“I like how it’s fast-paced,
and I have regular customers who are friendly and know me by name,” she said.
Raghed Alkhalili is a medical
interpreter who speaks four languages: Arabic, Farsi, Dutch, and English. She
says studying to be a pharmacy technician will broaden her knowledge base of
“I hope to combine both of
these things,” she said. “I also like the flexible hours, and you can work
weekends and evenings if you have kids.”
The program will be available
entirely online in January 2017, with the exception of the labs.