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Pharmacy Tech alum on her way to dream career

It’s important for Army veteran Maggie Freas to work for the Veterans Administration or the Portsmouth Naval Hospital one day, and as one of the first graduates of Tidewater Community College’s Pharmacy Technology program, she is on her way.

Freas earned her Career Studies Certificate Pharmacy Technician in May and already has a job at a Portsmouth Walgreens pharmacy, the same site where she completed her five-week internship for the program.

Shortly after graduating from Portsmouth’s Wilson High, Freas spent seven years in the Army, achieving the rank of E-5 sergeant. She transitioned by spending another seven years as a Portsmouth police officer before she decided to pursue her education at TCC. 

“ I used my GI Bill to pay for school, and that really helped out a lot,” she said.

Freas earned her Associate of Applied Science in Administrative Support Technology and her Associate of Applied Science in Administrative Support Technology (Medical Administrative Assistant) first. She has worked for Ann Ambrose, dean of business, public services and technology on the Portsmouth Campus, part time while attending school.

A previous position at CVS sparked her interest in pharmacy technology. TCC began the 24-credit program in 2013.

“I enjoyed learning about all the medications and the side effects and the do’s and don’t,” she said. “I learned a lot about my own medications.”

Freas aced her Virginia Pharmacy Technician Exam; the program has a 100 percent pass rate.

A second semester internship allowed her to work closely with the pharmacists and other techs, now her coworkers, at Walgreens.

“I was really nervous, but the crew was awesome,” she said. “They were willing to teach – everyone helped, including the techs.”

Freas hasn’t ruled out returning to school to become a pharmacist, but for now, she’s happy as a tech. Her advice to anyone thinking about the field is to do your research first.

“Make sure it’s what you want to do because it’s a lot of studying,” she said. “Be sure you like to work with people, too. You have a lot of interaction with customers from all walks of life.”

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