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story.lead_photo.caption Submitted photo FIRST CLASS: National Park College recognized its first 19 graduates of the Pharmacy Technician Program July 12. Graduates, from left, included Jayme Vaughn, Briana Sport, Jane Kowalkowski, Jennifer Diaz, Kevin Bunch and Lauren Black.

National Park College Pharmacy Technician Program hosted a recognition ceremony July 12 for its first class of graduates.

Nineteen students began the program March 29 and were recognized for completion of their 80-hour classroom training.

Graduates included Collene Atchley, Lauren Black, Kevin Bunch, Jean Carpenter, Jennifer Diaz, Richard Dunlap, Brandie Elledge, Katelyn Hunter, Jane Kowalkowski, Amanda Long, Amber Merritt, Briana Sport, Lorra Stinson, Melissa Stone, Dustin Tart, Jayme Vaughn, Melanie Wilder, Patricia Wright and Jonathan Wykoff.

The Community and Corporate Training Center at National Park College offers the Pharmacy Technician training program through the Arkansas Apprenticeship Pathways Initiative grant in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services and Arkansas Community Colleges. Grant funding covers students' tuition, books, state licensing fees, and national certification exam through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board.

"Our first class of pharmacy technician students was an incredible group," said Kelli Albrecht, vice president for workforce and strategic initiatives. "We were fortunate to have an incredible instructor, Carlissa Dillick, who kept the students motivated and made the classroom experience engaging."

In addition to the coursework, the program requires students to complete an 80-hour externship with a partner pharmacy. A number of graduates have already secured employment with Walgreens Pharmacy and Budget Pharmacy. Others will begin externships with grant partner, CVS Health this month.

Graduates Amber Merritt, Jennifer Diaz and Melissa Stone have each passed the national certification exam. Merritt has already completed her externship requirements and obtained state licensure.

"(The program) definitely opened my eyes to a lot of things a pharmacy tech does," Diaz said. "When I first started I didn't know a lot about it. It was interesting learning about the roles of a tech. Our teacher Carly was awesome. She helped us feel comfortable and was able to teach the reality of pharmacy tech versus just reading about it in a book. She prepared us for what to expect and I'm excited to see what path this certification will take me down."

School on 07/24/2016

Print Headline: NPC Pharmacy Tech program graduates first class

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