When the pandemic forced Brittney Wooten’s employer, a local preschool, to close, she didn’t become discouraged. Instead, she saw an opportunity to make a career change. Brittney had always wanted to work in healthcare, so she decided to find a program she could complete quickly. After discovering UTC’s Pharmacy Tech Academy during an online search, she made the choice to enroll. Brittney completed the course, interned at Parkridge, and has since landed a full-time job as a pharmacy tech!
Marah: Why did you choose UTC’s pharmacy tech course over other similar courses?
Brittney: Finances were a big factor. It is a highly affordable program with financial aid available for students who qualify. The website said that the course could be completed in a few months, which was something I wanted so I could gain experience as soon as possible. Also, the instructor’s bio on the website showed me that she is highly experienced and knowledgeable. When I went to the open house, I was able to meet the instructor and talk about how the course could help me meet my professional goals. The open house is what really sold me on the course!
M: Did the course help you meet your goals?
B: Yes! Eventually, I would like to go to pharmacy school, but I have a few undergrad courses to take before I apply. I wanted to work as a tech for a couple of years first to get experience, and the course helped me get my foot in the door.
Personally, I would advise people who are considering becoming pharmacists to be techs first. Doing so is beneficial for a couple of reasons. First, experience will help you stand out on your pharmacy school applications. Second, where I work, pharmacists sometimes have to do tech shifts. It will be helpful to have familiarity with those types of shifts BEFORE you begin your pharmacist role.
M: In what ways did the pharmacy tech course prepare you for the job that you have now?
B: The course was fast paced, which I really enjoyed. That prepares you to work in a pharmacy because that setting is also fast paced. Additionally, the course content is thorough and teaches you everything you need to know to succeed in your off-site externship and to pass your certification exam. The instructor, Cynthia, is encouraging and highly knowledgeable. If we ever needed extra help, she was always willing to go above and beyond to give it.
M: What advice would you give to students taking the pharmacy tech course?
B: Stay on top of your work and do your homework. We read chapters together in class, but to get the most out of the course and to avoid falling behind, I would read the chapters ahead of time as well. I didn’t work full-time while taking the course, but many of the students in my cohort did. Regardless of your schedule, you need to make sure that you’re dedicating a few hours a week to your schoolwork. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, either!
M: What advice would you give to someone studying for their certification exam? Do you have any study tips you would give them?
B: Don’t wait too long after finishing the course to take the exam. Take it while the material is fresh on your mind. The good news is that what you learn in class IS what will be on the exam; there are no surprises.
I know a lot of people love flash cards, but I preferred doing practice exams on the PTCB website and studying the handouts Cynthia gave us. I like studying by writing things down, so I would write down what I thought would be on the exam (medications, laws, etc.) and focus on what I needed to learn that way. I also used the PTCB app to study. Not only is the app managed by the creators of the exam, but it is also set up like the exam. I would use the app when I had shorter spurts of study time, like when I was at work and on a break.
M: Is there anything else you would like to share about UTC’s pharmacy tech course?
B: Don’t be afraid to try something new. I am really glad I did, and now I am on a career path that I am excited about!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Marah Whitaker (think Laura with an M) serves as the marketing assistant for the UTC Center for Professional Education. During the workday, she spends time writing blog posts, creating content for social media, developing email campaigns, and building relationships with CPE’s customer base. During her free time, you can find her getting lost in a good book, having spontaneous dance parties, playing piano, and going to Buffalo Wild Wings on Wing Night. Professionally and personally, she aspires to live by Mr. Feeny’s advice, “Dream. Believe. Try. Do Good.” She strives to use her passions to serve others and contribute positively to the world around her.
Connect with Marah on LinkedIn.