Editor’s Note: February is Career and Technical Education Month, a public awareness campaign to celebrate the value of CTE and the achievements and accomplishments of CTE programs across the country. To help Sulphur Springs High School celebrate CTE Month 2022, KSST has compiled short videos featuring a few of the CTE programs offered at SSHS. One will be featured each week during CTE Month.
Six students are currently enrolled in the pharmacy technician clinical class offered this school year for the first time at Sulphur Springs High School. Five of the six have already been accepted into major universities.
In order to be eligible to apply for the course, students take a “starter” or principles course as freshmen and a medical terminology course as sophomores. Pharmacy technician students then as juniors take health science theory, which allows them to get some hands-on experience providing basic case such as checking vital signs.
As seniors, the students would be able to apply to take the pharmacy course after completing the self-paced online curriculum and spend 2 days weekly at a local pharmacy or clinical site such as the hospital receiving work-based hands-on training. Those who qualify can apply to take a certification test in April; the pharmacy technician certification is good for 2 years. Those students who pass would then begin college with one certification, which they can you to earn money as they continue their training or to make a living. If they don’t pass in April, they can work under their trainee certifications for up to two years, giving the student additional time to study for and retest.
“Two students are also already working in a local pharmacy, observing and assisting, gaining valuable insight and skills that can be applied toward a future job if the students pass the certification test,” according to instructor Lacie Stracener.
This program would help prepare students for numerous career paths in related fields.
“I knew going into the medical field with patient to patient contact with bodily fluids was not my department. I don’t think I could handle that so I figure the medicine route, and knowing what kind of medicine people need to take would be beneficial. I’m the student who wants to take the nutritional route,” Tiemeyer said. “I figure no matter what I learn in this class, the medical side would benefit any career path I decide to go into.”
While she does not currently work at a participating pharmacy, Tiemeyer does participate in the weekly shadowing program, which she enjoys, and said has provided beneficial knowledge.
For instance, Tiemeyer has a driving desire to help others. Inspired by a family friend who a nutritionist, she plans to study to become a dietician for a sports team, perhaps helping student athletes or other learn how to fuel their bodies correctly so they can be their healthiest.
Understanding how different medications impact the body, positively or negatively, is important, making the class very beneficial. For instance, it’s taught her time management skills, how to read labels carefully, to read the directions and administer them correctly, and how to package medications. She has learned the different classifications of medications, how dangerous they are and different levels people would need.
“I think that it’s held me learn a lot, whether it’s going in the pharmacy clinic or being in here in that she’s really good at teaching life skills,” Tiemeyer said of the class. “I would say its been super duper helpful in that a lot of stuff that I’ve learned on the clinic side – whether its going from the hospital or more at say Medicine Chest where you’re working more in the back room. That’s been a lot of information, being hands on in the back room, seeing how they distribute medication, how professional they are. It’s been a good experience.”
Victoria Mejia has been in the health science endorsement program all four years of high school. She knew she wanted a career in the medical field, but until last year, wasn’t sure exactly what she wanted to do. She, like Tiemeyer, knew she wanted a career that would allow her to be around and help people, but wasn’t interested in a career involving lots of bodily fluids.
“I figured getting into pharmacy would be an interesting way to test another outlet and I ended up loving it and I’m still doing it right now,” Mejia said. “I actually want to go to school to become a pharmacist. I got accepted to go to college at UT-Tyler so I plan on going there in the fall. Then, I also work at Cody Drug right now, so I also have experience here that I’m getting, and I also have experience that I’m getting on my own time outside of school.”
She said the class shadowing program not only enabled her to work at Cody Drug, but has provided her with a more comprehensive idea of what will be required of in a pharmacist program. Mejia has appreciated most the hands-on practical experience working with the medicines, reconstituting and packaging. A people person, she’s enjoyed working directly with people who come into the retail pharmacy on a regular basis.
“It just kind of make sit a little bit more real life and situational. You can see how people react when you’re talking to them and how to work with the pharmacist and other technicians. It’s just a lot of hands on learning,” Mejia said.
Working in a pharmacy through the school program, will allow Mejia to attain certification so she can work her way through college, with a goal of eventually becoming a pharmacist – after 4 years at UT-Tyler and 4-6 years in pharmaceutical school, as well as work in the field before she can attain a master’s degree.
“This is our first year doing it, but so far I think it’s a great program. It’s already opened up a lot of opportunities for all of us. We have a great teachers and a lot of community support, a lot of school support, even parental support,” Mejia said. There’s just so much potential for this program, watching it grow is going to b e a really good thing for our high school and for the community.
“Our kids have had major support from our community. Every one of the pharmacies our kids have gone to are all people who live within our community and have all had nothing but good to say about our kids,” Stracener said. “We are grateful our kids are at least given the opportunity to do this. There is lots of community support.”
Another student is interested in pursuing a career in pharmaceutical sales.
Be sure to stay tuned to KSST Radio 1230, check out www.KSSTradio.com and the KSST social media accounts to ensure you don’t miss these weekly CTE features. Be sure to watch for the “2022 CTE” heading throughout the month.
If you missed the kickoff feature, be sure to it out at the link below: