San Jacinto College pharmacy technology graduate Meredith Fugitt helps new students in the program as a supplemental instructor. National Hospital and Health System Pharmacy Week is October 21 – 27, and National Pharmacy Technician Day is October 23. Photo credit: Andrea Vasquez, San Jacinto College marketing department.
Pharmacy student gives back through instruction
Andrea Vasquez-- October 15, 2012
HOUSTON – It’s not every day that a student in the middle of finishing a master’s degree suddenly quits to start another career path from scratch, but that’s exactly what San Jacinto College pharmacy technology student Meredith Fugitt did.
“I was literally halfway done completing my master’s degree in psychology when I decided that it wasn’t the right decision for me,” said Fugitt. “Pharmacy school had always interested me, so I looked up the San Jacinto College pharmacy technology program and knew it would be a great place to start.”
After starting classes in the Fall of 2011, Fugitt was able to catch on quickly to the material, but not without a learning curve on time management. “I definitely had no pharmacy experience whatsoever before I started the program,” she said. “I personally appreciated the challenge of being bombarded with all of this new information, but I love challenges. The most challenging part of the program was time management. It was very difficult working full time and going to school, so you have to know when to study, how to study, etc.”
As far as being prepared for her internships and clinicals, Fugitt said she felt more than prepared for the real-world pharmacy settings. “I knew all the drugs, brands, generics, how to fill and how to create the labels. I was completely confident and prepared. The only on-the-job training I had to do was for individual computer systems. This program absolutely prepares you for everything you need to begin a career in the pharmacy industry. The trainings and practicals we do in the classroom are exactly the way it is in real pharmacy environments. Both of my clinical jobs offered me positions, so this program has been nothing but a benefit.”
Despite receiving job offers prior to graduating from the program in August of 2012, Fugitt was given another job offer from San Jacinto College to return as a supplemental instructor for the pharmacy technology program, which she immediately accepted. “I wanted to give back because the pharmacy technology program is an excellent program, and I wanted to help other students as much as I could.” Fugitt helps pharmacy students through the same struggles she experienced, especially when it comes to learning better study and time management skills. She plans to go to pharmacy school at the University of Houston next year to study psychiatric pharmacy, saying that it combines her previous psychology background with her new pharmacy career path.
“I admit that I thought pharmacists weren’t that ‘busy,’ but it’s a completely different story once you’re working in that setting. As soon as you clock in, you could have 300 prescriptions to fill by the end of the day. I definitely have a lot more respect for people that work in pharmacies now, because I’ve been there, done that, and I’m a lot more patient when I pick up prescriptions now,” she said.
The San Jacinto College pharmacy technology program is accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), provides students with the skills and knowledge to qualify for entry-level positions in pharmacies, and prepares them for the national Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) in order to apply for registration with the Texas State Board of Pharmacy (TSBP). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the national average hourly wage for pharmacy technicians is $14.43 with an annual salary of $30,020. The BLS ranks the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown region as the third largest metropolitan area with the highest employment level of pharmacy technicians, earning on average $15.01 an hour with an annual salary of $31,210. In the Houston area, it is also common to receive a pay shift differential of 10 to 15 percent more for working evening, nights, or weekend shifts.
For more information on applying and admission requirements to the San Jacinto College pharmacy technician program, visit: www.sanjac.edu/pharmacy-technology.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.
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