RIVEROAK's Career Day Opportunities

RIVEROAK had more high school students from other schools this year than ever before.-SVT Photo -All SVT Photos by Tami Stevenson

By Tami Stevenson

Live Oak, Florida - The number of students and adults that visit RIVEROAK Technical College’s Career Day seems to grow each year, as many are discovering the value in learning a trade these days.

RIVEROAK Director Mary Keen said some parents from other schools even took it upon themselves to take their kids out of school to bring them over. They also had many private and home-schooled students as well.

“We are so excited! We have more high school students from other schools this year than ever before. Three groups from Columbia County are here, Hamilton County, Branford High School and quite a few private schools,” said board member Julie Ulmer.

The wide range of certifications and trade skills the college offers seems to have something for everyone, from brick and masonry, automotive, engineering and welding to many certifications in the medical field, culinary arts and cosmetology, just to name a few. They have recently added HVAC- Refrigeration as well. When they say you can earn a career in a year or less, they mean it.

One of the classrooms Suwannee Valley Times visited during career day was the Pharmacy Tech room. It is complete with a lab. Instructor Katie Miller has been there since 2013, and said she actually started the program at RIVEROAK. “We were out in the portables in the beginning,” she said. Today, they are in a main building.

Miller explained how they teach students using a horizontal laminar flow compounding aseptic isolator to protect the sterile environment for making patient IV bags, among other things.

For the retail side, where students learn the process to properly input everything into the system for the customers’ prescriptions, Miller said they use Pioneer RX, which is the same system many of their clinical sites use. So students are well trained once they go out into a real pharmacy to finish their training. Students will begin their clinicals in March.

Cheek and Scott Drugs was there and has been a supporter of the college for many years and many students complete their clinicals or externships at Cheek and Scott.

Aaron Scott, in partnership with Joseph Chamberlin and Eric Johnson, now runs Cheek and Scott after his father, Jeff Scott retired in 2020.

“We help support the college any way we can,” said Scott. They donate things like shelving for medications, countertops and what they call a robot that counts the pills out and puts them in a bottle for patients. “But we especially like the externship with the college, when they send students over. So far, everyone we’ve received has been a great worker for us.” He added, “It’s been great here. We just enjoy working with them.”
Miller said pharmacy tech graduates can expect their starting pay at a hospital to be anywhere from $17 to $20 per hour and $14 to $17 per hour at a retail pharmacy. She added that the program takes less than a year, and most qualify for financial aid. “Many receive a Pell Grant, and that does not have to be paid back.”
Anyone, from student to adult wishing to learn more about earning a career in one of the many fields the college offers, is encouraged to contact the friendly and knowledgeable counselors at RIVEROAK Technical College by calling 386-647-4210.

Mayor Frank Davis talks with school board officials. -SVT Photo

Pharmacy Tech Instructor Katie Miller standing in the lab. -SVT Photo


L-R: Savanah Harrison and Aaron Scott of Cheek and Scott Drugs have supported RIVEROAK’s Pharmacy Technician program for years. -SVT Photo


Instructor Jessica Tebedo, center, overseeing students demonstrate transferring a patient from a bed to a wheel chair in the Patient Care Tech classroom. -SVT Photo


Fort White High School student Khambrell White lifted 220 pounds more than 10 times. -SVT Photo

Fort White High School seniors studying nursing, visited RIVEROAK’s Career Day along with Fort White CT coordinator Jason Howard. Howard also teaches digital information technology and had these students when they were in the 9th grade, so was glad to have the opportunity to bring them to RIVEROAK. -SVT Photo


Ethan Carter demonstrates block laying. He is a senior this year and will be certified in not only brick and masonry, but welding as well. -SVT Photo

Welding -SVT Photo

Physical fitness demos conducted by various students throughout the day. -SVT Photo