As she sat at her desk processing tax returns, Wendy Tartaglia realized her job at a tax accounting firm wasn’t for her. Ready for a change, she wanted to do something that fit her family better and paid a higher income. Already familiar with KSU during her time as an undergraduate, Wendy, now a wife and mother of two teenagers, didn’t have the time to invest in returning to complete her degree. Then a chance conversation changed her future.
“I wanted to do something that provided a quicker path to making more money,” Wendy said. “My local Publix pharmacist recommended the Pharmacy Technician continuing education course at KSU.”
From Tax Prep to Pharm Tech
It turns out Wendy’s pharmacist is friends with Tim Sanders, one of the Pharmacy Technician Certificate program’s instructors. Based on her previous experience in various volunteer roles in the medical industry, Wendy felt it would be a natural fit. The course is typically three months long, but to her delight, a separate, accelerated option was available that could be completed in just six weeks.
“I was nervous going back to school and wondered how I was going to learn all the information in such a short period of time. Tim put us completely at ease from the beginning. He offered encouragement and hope, along with real-life experiences to help us understand what life as a technician would be like in the real world.”
Valuable Skills Gained
Wendy cited several impactful aspects that she gained from the program with the most important being the discovery of what life is like in a pharmacy. The course also covers the necessary math skills required in the field, the different classifications of drugs and their uses, how to properly mix medications (known as compounding), and the codes used in the industry (known as sig codes).
“Knowing that it was going to take a concerted amount of effort to accomplish this task in such a short period of time, I threw myself into the work,” she said. “I was determined to work hard and succeed.”
“Wendy was a successful student because she wanted to succeed,” Tim said. “The pace was fast and, if you fell behind, it would have been easy to give up. But she excelled.”
Finding Her Passion
Two weeks after completing the class, Tim alerted Wendy of a job lead. As a result, she is now happily employed as a pharmacy technician with the Publix at Sandy Plains Exchange in Marietta. The referral, coupled with her class experience, was the difference maker.
“You are more hirable by taking this class and having more knowledge of the industry under your belt,” Wendy said. “My boss was impressed by what I learned in the course.”
The same week she was hired at Publix, Wendy took the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board exam and passed. She has since added the letters CPhT next to her name and received a new job title of certified pharmacy technician. The national certification will allow her to work at any pharmacy across the country.
“There’s a lot of opportunities in this field,” Wendy said. “I’m just getting my feet wet, getting good experience and looking forward to what’s next.”