High School students get jumpstart on careers through Barton pharmacy tech program

Pharmacy Tech 2014

June 5, 2014
Story and photo by Joe Vinduska

Carley and Camelle Deege have big goals for their careers and didn’t wait to graduate high school to start working toward them.  It may be hard to tell the identical twins apart, but one thing is clear; these women are future-focused.  They have been taking online pharmacy technician classes with no tuition costs through Barton Community College’s online component BARTonline via Senate Bill 155.  Dozens of Barton’s career and technical classes, both online and on-site, qualify under the bill’s framework, which means students can take advantage of classes at no cost to them, except textbooks and program fees as applicable.

Both graduated from Kinsley High School this spring and now have much of the coursework for the pharmacy technician certificate behind them.  They will finish their certificates in the fall of 2014 after they complete internships at pharmacies in Great Bend or Kinsley during the fall semester.

The 29 credit-hour program is offered online only and is designed to be completed in two semesters, including an internship at a pharmacy.  The class prepares students to take the necessary certification exams and work in a pharmacy environment assisting pharmacists in a variety of settings such as hospitals, nursing homes and retail pharmacies.

While the Deege twins will have the option to work in the field of pharmacy, they are using the program as a stepping stone toward other careers in the medical field.  Carley has her sights set on a career as a dietician and Camelle as an occupational therapist.

“We are both going to pursue something in the medical field, and this will help us get our feet wet before we start working on our chosen careers,” Camelle said.

“It all relates,” Carley said.

The twins became aware of free classes through SB155 in a newspaper story and said it was a no-brainer to take advantage of them and enrolled in as many classes as they could, adding to an already full high-school class load and athletics and activity schedule.

“I think I got a diploma in ‘time management’ as well this spring!” Carley said.

The sisters attributed their ability to handle the extra courses to the ease of use in the BARTonline environment and great instructors.

“I was really stressed out that it was going to be difficult to learn, but it was very simple,” Camelle said.  “I really liked it, and I loved how fast the teachers responded to questions.”

“Before we started, they had a training course to show us how to use the online courses and that was very helpful,” Carley said.  “The teachers were great and you felt like you were still part of a class and not just doing it on your own.”

Barton Pharmacy Technician Program Instructor and Coordinator Kelly Bolton said the twins are making great progress for themselves.

“Pharmacy was a great way for them to gain some experience in the healthcare industry while still in high school,” Bolton said.  “A lot of the information and coursework that is needed for pharmacy is also relevant for other healthcare careers throughout the industry. Taking these courses while still in high school also allowed them the opportunity to be a step ahead upon graduation...not to mention the large amount of financial savings by taking advantage of SB155.”

Both students are going to continue attending Barton to get their general education requirements, and any other applicable career coursework done before moving on to four-year universities.

The Pharmacy Technician program, which was revamped for the fall 2012 semester, has seen other success as well.  Clara Eye was the program’s first graduate in May of 2013.  She not only completed Barton's Pharmacy Technician Certificate, but also chose to sit for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and passed the national exam.  She is now a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) and is employed at Walgreen’s in Great Bend.

For more information on the program, contact Bolton at boltonk@bartonccc.edu or (785) 209-8953 or enroll at BARTonline.org.