From Paratrooper to Pharmacy Technician


From Paratrooper to Pharmacy Technician


Phanat Vang

Phanat Vang, a 2017 Pharmacy Technology graduate from Stanly Community College,
is currently employed as a Pharmacy Technician I at Carolinas HealthCare System University.


Albemarle, NC - The history of American paratroopers can be traced back to World War II. Paratroopers have a rigorous basic training curriculum, and airborne operations can be very dangerous. A paratrooper must stay focused on the mission at hand, as it could be a matter of life or death. However, Phanat Vang, former paratrooper, has a very different kind of curriculum focus these days. “I was in the Army for 4 years as a paratrooper. When I got out, I did not know what I wanted to do. While living in California, I tried computer science and computer electronics, but it just didn’t work for me. When I moved back to North Carolina to be closer to my family, I looked at what Stanly Community College (SCC) had to offer. The Pharmacy Technology program looked promising, but it was so different from my acquired skills I learned in the Army. However, I was willing to learn something completely new,” explained Phanat, a 2017 Pharmacy Technology graduate from SCC. Phanat is currently employed at Carolinas HealthCare System University as a Pharmacy Technician I. “I really like what I do,” he said. “I feel like I am doing a great service for my community by helping people heal and get better. My advice to those seeking to get into this field is to learn with an open mind—success comes with a willingness to learn.”

Phanat also wants potential students to know the program instructors were very positive and always willing to help students when needed. “My experience with SCC was good, and it feels great to have a job so quickly after graduating. With a wife and two small children, getting a good job immediately after graduating took a whole lot of stress off my shoulders.”

According to EMSI Data, the occupational summary for a Pharmacy Technician includes median hourly earnings of $14.62 and nearly 3,592 jobs available by 2026 in the Charlotte region.

The Pharmacy Technology program at SCC prepares individuals to assist the pharmacist with duties that a technician can legally perform; and to function within the boundaries prescribed by the pharmacist and the employment agency. Student learn to prepare prescription medications, mix intravenous solutions and other specialized medications, update patient profiles, maintain inventories, package medications in unit-dose or med-card form, and gather data used by pharmacists to monitor drug therapy.

Employment opportunities include retail, hospitals, nursing homes, research laboratories, wholesale drug companies, and pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities. Graduates of the program may be eligible to take the National Certification Examination to become a certified pharmacy technician.

In addition to the Associate in Applied Science degree in Pharmacy Technology, SCC also offers a diploma and a tuition-waived program for Career & College Promise (high school juniors and seniors). There are seats available for the January cohort.

For more information, contact Kim Lewis, Program Director, at (704) 991-0156 or klewis1705@stanly.edu or visit the program webpage.