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MTI to start pharmacy tech course

BRADENTON — Manatee Technical Institute is launching a new training program at its east campus this summer in light of a need for more pharmacy technicians in Florida and a new law requiring them to be licensed.

The one-year, 1,050-hour program begins in August and is designed to prepare students for jobs as technicians in hospitals and retail pharmacies, said Ronai Krugh, an MTI career counselor.

The field is one of only a few that the U.S. Department of Labor predicts will experience a 32 percent growth within the next five years, according to the department’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, a national source that predicts the potential growth of certain occupations. Pharmacy technicians in Florida earn a beginning wage of $12 to $16 per hour.

MTI officials say a near-fatal medication overdose administered to the infant twins of actor Dennis Quaid resulted in a national focus on medication errors and the need for improved training of pharmacy techs. That and other recent highly publicized medication errors prompted the Florida Board of Pharmacy to require training and subsequent registration of all pharmacy technicians by January 2011, said MTI Director Mary Cantrell.

Florida’s growing senior citizen population also makes it an ideal candidate for increased growth in this field, MTI officials said.

“We’re very excited,” Cantrell said Monday. “This is a program that before, you didn’t have to have a license, but now it’s coming down the road. One thing we do well is preparing our graduates to pass license exams.”

Information sessions to explain course requirements and tuition costs are scheduled to start this month.

The first session will be 2 p.m. today at the MTI East Campus, 5520 Lakewood Ranch Blvd.

Scholarships or financial aid may be available for qualified candidates, according to school officials.

For more information on dates and times of the sessions, call (941) 751-8479, ext. 2038, or the MTI information hotline at (941) 751-8479, ext. 2035.

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