College Wants To Know If A Pre-Pharmacy Program Is Needed?

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Do we need a pre-pharmacy program in Payson?

The role of the pharmacist is a necessary one in the community. With the population aging and using more medications, there will be a need for more pharmacists to assist these individuals. The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates a projected 22 percent growth in the number of pharmacists needed by the year 2016.

Dean Pamela Butterfield at Gila Community College wants to know if there is an interest in developing a pre-pharmacy program here in Payson. If there are at least six to eight interested and committed students, she would begin the program.

Tom Forester, Pharm.D. at Walgreens, Ray Ware, R.Ph. at Payson Apothecary Pharmacy and Dallen Durfee, Pharm.D., Safeway pharmacy manager, each agreed it was a good idea.

Pharmacists are found in drug stores, grocery stores, hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, managed care organizations, the government, the armed services, research departments of pharmaceutical manufacturers and as faculty in colleges and universities.

"It's a good field to get into," said Stephanie Koch, R.Ph., pharmacist at Bashas' Supermarket.

Pharmacists distribute prescription drugs to individuals. They also advise their patients, as well as physicians and other health practitioners, on the selection, dosages, interactions and side effects of medications. Pharmacists monitor the health and progress of patients to ensure the safe and effective use of medication.

Shane Leonard and Kelly Meyers, Certified Pharmacy Technicians at Walgreens were interested in talking about this possibility. "One of our techs took some classes at Gila Community College, but had to go to Phoenix for others," Meyers said. It would have been easier to complete the pre-pharmacy program here in Payson.

According to a 2006 survey by Drug Topics magazine, pharmacists in retail settings earned an average of $92,291 per year, while pharmacists in institutional settings earned an average of $97,545 per year.

The pre-pharmacy degree prepares the student for entrance into the College of Pharmacy at the University of Arizona. All the necessary courses including biology, chemistry, microbiology and calculus are already in place at Gila Community College.

If you are interested in finding out more about the pre-pharmacy program or would like to sign up for the program, contact Dean Butterfield. You can also go directly to the Gila Community College, Payson Campus at 201 N. Mud Springs Road, or call (928) 468-8039.

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