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NWC News Desk

Area health care occupation opportunities explored in Dec. 10 free information session

Posted November 30, 2009

POWELL, Wyo. - A Thursday, Dec. 10, free information session will explore options available locally to find and train for a career in heath care, one of the fastest growing employment industries in the United States.

"Discover a Career in Health Care" meets from 6-7:30 p.m. in Room 70 of the Fagerberg Building at Northwest College in Powell. Wendy Flint, senior vice president at Boston Reed College (BRC), is the presenter at the free session.

She'll talk about two new career training options made possible through a partnership between BRC and the NWC Centers for Training and Development. Both the Clinical Medical Assistant Training coming to Powell and Pharmacy Technician Training coming to Cody will launch on Saturday, Jan. 23. Classes meet from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturdays. Both programs include a clinical externship for a comprehensive learning experience, which can be fulfilled at area medical service providers and pharmacies.

Flint will talk in depth about both careers and the training programs that prepare individuals to enter them, as well as financing options, prerequisites and externships.

Clinical medical assistants (CMA) can pursue employment as a healthcare professional in a physician's office or clinical setting. They assist with procedures, care for patients, perform simple laboratory tests and administer medications. The CMA Training combines 134 hours of classroom instruction and 160 hours in a clinical externship. Graduates will be awarded a certificate of completion after successfully finishing the program. They are also qualified for optional certification offered by the National Center for Competency Testing. 

A pharmacy technician assists pharmacists with mixing and packaging prescriptions, referring clients to the pharmacist for counseling, inventory control and purchasing, as well as collecting payment and coordinating billing. Training for this career combines 182 hours of classroom instruction and 120 hours in a pharmacy externship. Graduates receive a certificate of completion and become eligible to apply for registration as a pharmacy technician in their state. They'll also be prepared to take the national Pharmacy Technician Certification Board exam.

In a 2004 report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted employment in the health services industry would increase 26 percent by 2014, compared to an average of 13 percent for all industries. That means one out of every five new jobs created by 2014 will be in health services. Certified medical assistants and pharmacy technicians are two of the health care occupations expected to grow the most (CNA is third on the top-20 list of fasting growing occupations).

The average salary for a medical assistant nationwide is $10-$16 per hour, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Pharmacy technicians can expect to earn an average of $12-$20 per hour in Park County.  Because of the increased pharmaceutical needs of a larger, older population, growth in this occupation will be almost as fast as the average for all others in the state.

Click here for more information about the information session or either of the training programs, or call the Northwest College Center for Training and Development at 307-754-6062.