Published March 18, 2003
Volume 11, Number 3

Class is in Session at the Pharmacy Technician Institute
Training Center for Pharmacy Technicians Opens its Doors on Hacienda Drive
Pharmacy Technician Institute
Henry Antipuesto teaches a class at the Pharmacy Technician Institute on Hacienda Drive.

By George Walsh
Network Editor

When you go to get your prescription filled at the local drug store, your confidence that you’ll be given the correct medicine with the appropriate instructions is a result of the extensive training given to both the pharmacist and those behind the scenes at the prescription counter: the Pharmacy Technicians. Pharmacy Technicians are the people who do the measuring of liquid medicines and the counting and dispensing of pills and other forms of medication to free up the pharmacists’ time and allow them to interface with you directly so that you understand how to use your medication.

In January of this year, the Pharmacy Technician Institute began training future pharmacy technicians at its new facility at 4234 Hacienda Drive, Suite 165. The school was started by Pharmacists Victor Dela Cruz and George Chiu with experienced instructor Henry Antipuesto. Antipuesto was once the program director of the pharmacy technician program at Silicon Valley College and has taught at a number of other Bay Area schools over the years. In addition to being a practicing pharmacist, Dela Cruz has seven years of experience training pharmacy technicians, including a teaching position at Chabot College.

Pharmacy Technician Institute’s 3,600 square foot space in Hacienda was chosen for a number of reasons. “The zoning for a school is different than it is for an office,” Dela Cruz says. “There have to be certain exits and other features. This particular space was formerly used for classroom space or instruction, so we didn’t have to make any expensive modifications to make it qualify and be approved as a school. It’s also in a good location. BART is not too far away for students who don’t want to drive.”

Pharmacy Technician Institute will train up to 30 students at a time and offer classes during the day, at night, and even on the weekends to accommodate the schedules of the future technicians. “We have a modular program where we can admit new students every month,” Dela Cruz says. “Each month, we teach a totally different topic. So, even though someone comes in on the second month, they can attend class immediately and complete the first topic on the next program cycle.” 

Depending on how often a particular student can attend classes, the training can take up to seven months. “We have several different programs here,” Dela Cruz says.” We have people who can come five days a week all day. Then we have people who want to change careers and they can only attend classes at night. Regardless of when they attend class, all of the students have to fulfill a certain number of hours to get approved and certified by the state board of California.” Pharmacy Technician Institute’s flexible curriculum makes it convenient for students to attend classes on their own terms so that they can concentrate on learning and becoming qualified technicians. 

In a field that requires such precision, it’s good to know that someone cares enough to make education a priority.

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