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Hannah Johns

For Hannah Johns, one semester turned into a career.

When Johns took the Pharmacy Technician program in the Spring of 2015, she knew she wanted to go into the health care field but she wasn’t sure what to study. She figured that, if Pharmacy Tech wasn’t her thing, at least it would lead to a good part-time job while working through college.

It turned into so much more. She started at a retail pharmacy, then later landed a job with The Ohio State University Medical Center. Once she got to a clinical setting, she knew she’d found her place.

“I’ve been there for a year, and I absolutely love it,” Johns said. “Knowing you have an impact on people’s health is really satisfying. You see how important your job is.”

Johns started as a “needs” pharmacy tech, hand-delivering medicines to medical units. But as she gained more training, she moved up to more technical positions. For example, she now mixes custom doses, getting the exact proportions of medicine and IV fluid.

Even better, working at Ohio State allowed her to take classes at a steep discount. She’s on her way to becoming a fully licensed pharmacist.

The Pharmacy Tech program at Columbus State gave her an advantage on the job. The four-course sequence prepares students to work as a Pharmacy Technician, under the direction of a licensed pharmacist. Students learn to interpret prescriptions, calculate dosages, control inventories of drugs, and maintain an aseptic environment. It also includes coursework on job skills and customer service.

Graduates of the program are also ready to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination or ExCPT exam, which can make grads more attractive to employers.

“I needed some training when I got to the job, but it wasn’t brand-new for me like it is for a lot of people,” Johns said.

The program included technical skills to do the job, along with real-world lessons on how to operate on the job site. Her professor Denitza Davis had worked as a Pharm Tech before becoming a licensed pharmacist, so she had plenty of real-world lessons for the class.

“She was very good at telling us what to expect on the job, and putting the textbook into real terms,” Johns said. “It didn’t really feel like a classroom setting. It felt like we were in a clinical setting.”