They dispense medicine, advice and compassion. Forming an integral part of the health care system, pharmacy technicians provide expertise and skill, working under licensed pharmacists.

The College of the Mainland Pharmacy Technician Program, now enrolling for fall 2014, trains students to enter a rapidly growing field in fewer than two years.

The role will only become more crucial as technology increases and the U.S. population ages.

“The information our students learn about medications is useful in everyday life as well as in the workplace. Medications, over-the-counter or prescription, are used widely by many people,” explained COM pharmacy technician professor Lisa Homburg.

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Program prepares students to pass the national Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam and to work as a successful pharmacy technician in a retail or hospital setting.

COM graduates prepare for the field in the lab, classroom and two internships, one at a drug store pharmacy and another at a hospital. They may also intern at a long-term care facility.

Program instructors all have industry experience as pharmacy technicians or pharmacists. In classes from Intro to Pharmacy to Pharmaceutical Math, they provide students individual assistance.

“We can teach them the math that they need to know. Students come in and think, ‘I can’t do math’ and leave knowing ‘I can do math,’” said Homburg, adding that the program requires “a lot of memorization. They have to be willing to study.”

Instructors’ assistance does not end when students graduate, and they alert students to job openings in the area.

“They are always willing to stay after (class),” said COM pharmacy technician student Evett Compton.

After graduation and passing the national certification exam, students may enter the workforce immediately or pursue further education to obtain an associate's degree in pharmacy technician. Students may also decide to pursue a Doctor of Pharmacy degree to practice as a pharmacist. The program is accredited through the American Society of Health System Pharmacists.

The program enrolls new students each fall.

“We only have 24 slots, and they do fill up quickly,” said Homburg.

For more information, visit or call 409-933-8685.