College is one step closer to offering a Pharmacy Technician Certificate program

June 08, 2012

Anoka-Ramsey Community College is pleased to announce the two-year college is one approval closer to offering a Pharmacy Technician Certificate program at its Cambridge campus this fall. The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system recently approved the community college’s Pharmacy Technician Certificate program proposal. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a corporation that accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region, must approve the program before the college can offer the program to prospective students.  


College administrators are hopeful the HLC will approve the new one-year Pharmacy Technician program in time for current technicians or people interested in the profession to take classes this fall. Once the 26 credit certificate program receives final approval, learners can take the first semester classes at the Anoka-Ramsey Cambridge Campus, online or at Pine Technical College. The second semester classes must be taken at Anoka-Ramsey’s Cambridge Campus. The second semester does include completing an internship.


As indicated in the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, 2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook, Pharmacy Technician employment opportunities will increase by 32 percent by 2020.  Having a Pharmacy Technician certificate is not mandatory for employment, but many employers require it. Pharmacy technicians are generally responsible for receiving prescription requests; helping licensed pharmacists prepare prescription medications, counting tablets, labeling bottles, providing customer service, and performing administrative duties. Technicians work in pharmacies found in retail stores, grocery and drug stores, and in hospitals.


Deidra Peaslee, vice president of academic and student affairs at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, sees the Pharmacy Technician program as an opportunity to expand educational options in our communities and meets a work force skills gap. “Anoka-Ramsey Community College is dedicated to delivering educational growth and attainment,” said Peaslee. “The program creates a seamless pathway to an educational credential, provides work force training resources to the health care industry, and strengthens the college’s role as a leader in delivering higher education in East Central Minnesota.”


Anoka-Ramsey is able to provide new health care education pathways because the college is a member of a national Health Professions Pathway (H2P) consortium of community colleges. Supported by a $19.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, the consortium has three major goals: to provide low-skilled workers with adequate preparation, support and opportunities to complete postsecondary training in health professions that provide credentials aligned with job advancement;  expand and enhance the health care workforce with the competencies needed by industry; and build the capacity of community colleges to continuously assess student and employment outcomes and use this information to improve the quality of health professions programs. Other members of the consortium include, Pine Technical College, MN; El Centro College and Texarkana College, Texas; Ashland Community and Technical College and Jefferson Community and Technical College, Ky.; Owens Community College, Ohio; City Colleges of Chicago, Ill.; Cincinnati State Technical & Community College, Cincinnati, OH; and Community College of the District of Columbia.