Continuing Education (CE) is the best way to stay current in your practice as a pharmacy technician. The pharmaceutical industry is ever-changing, with new medications constantly coming out. Research has become a cornerstone for determining the effectiveness of current therapies and pursuing continuous improvement in practice. In this blog post, we’ll review the benefits of continuing education, certification bodies, and state board CE requirements for pharmacy technicians, and where to get your CE credits.
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WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF OBTAINING CE CREDITS?
Continuing education is critical to healthcare professionals. Staying current with your practice as a pharmacy technician can be beneficial in several ways:
- Enhanced Skills: Continuing education courses contain the latest information in clinical practice, therapies, and technologies. Implementing the knowledge obtained in these courses will help improve your skills and, ultimately, patient care.
- Career Advancement: Many healthcare organizations have some form of clinical ladder allowing you to progress to higher levels of pay and responsibility. Obtaining and maintaining national certification as a pharmacy technician can be a requirement for these higher-level positions. Some organizations also have additional requirements for continuing education above those certification requirements.
- Regulatory Compliance: Pharmacies are governed by various regulatory bodies that require strict adherence to their requirements. Often, these requirements include minimum levels of continuing education for pharmacy technicians.
- Patient Safety: The basis of all clinical practice is to provide safe and effective care. Healthcare professionals are entrusted with potentially life-altering care every day. Continuing education allows you to stay on top of advancements in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. Implementing this new knowledge into your practice helps ensure you provide the highest quality care possible.
DO I NEED CE CREDITS FOR MY ROLE AS A PHARMACY TECHNICIAN?
The answer to this question depends on whether you are certified, have state CE requirements to renew your license, or are required to obtain CE by your employer.
CE Requirements for Certification
Let’s talk about certification requirements first. The Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) credential is available from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
CPhT Continuing Education Requirements for PTCB Recertification
- Complete at least 20 hours of CE during your 2-year recertification period, including one hour on pharmacy law and one hour on patient safety.
- CE hours earned must be in pharmacy technician subject matter as listed in the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination Content Outline or offered by ACPE-accredited providers with the target audience designation ‘T’ (technician-specific).
Beginning with renewal applications received after September 1, 2020, PTCB accepts a maximum of five (5) CE hours from ACPE-accredited providers with the target audience designation ‘P’ (pharmacist-specific) if the subject matter is contained within the PTCE Content Outline.
Note: CE hours can only be applied to the recertification cycle in which they are completed and cannot be carried over and applied to future cycles.
CPhT Continuing Education Requirements for NHA Recertification
Continuing education helps you maintain a high level of knowledge and skill in pharmacy practice. During the two-year period before recertification, certified pharmacy technicians must participate in at least 20 hours of continuing education (CE), including at least one hour of pharmacy law and one hour of patient safety.
Pharmacy Technician Continuing Education Topics
To be approved, CE credit must be related to pharmacy technician practice. Your submitted credits must include at least one hour of pharmacy law and one hour of patient safety per two-year certification period.
Approved continuing education topics include, but are not limited to:
- Drug distribution
- Managed health care
- Therapeutic issues
- Pharmacy operations
- Drug repackaging
- Inventory control
- Drug products
- Patient interaction
- Interpersonal skills
- Prescription compounding
- Patient safety (at least one hour required)
- Pharmacy law (at least one hour required)
- Preparation of sterile products
NHA reserves the right to reject credits not deemed applicable to pharmacy technician practice.
How to Earn Pharmacy Technician Continuing Education Credits
There are many ways to complete your continuing education (CE) credits.
CE programs offered by national and state pharmacy associations and pharmacy technician associations will generally be acceptable if related to pharmacy technician practice.
All of the following are acceptable:
- Live presentations
- Internet courses
- Correspondence courses
- In-service training programs
- Computer-assisted instruction
- Journal articles with a CE test
- Audio or video recordings with a CE test
- College courses in mathematics, life sciences, and pharmaceutical sciences
State Board of Pharmacy CE requirements
Continuing education requirements for pharmacy technicians can vary greatly from state to state. The board of pharmacy governs these requirements and renewal periods for licensure. As a licensed pharmacy technician, you must understand and follow the renewal requirements for your state, including the number of CE credits. Knowing and following these requirements will allow you to maintain your licensure and keep your practice current to provide high-quality patient care. Here are some examples of state requirements for renewal:
- Alabama: 6 hours of technician-specific ACPE or board-approved continuing education. 2 of these hours must be live education.
- District of Columbia: 20 hours, including 16 general, 2 law, and 2 medication safety.
- Florida: 20 hours, including 18 general education (4 must be live) and 2 medication errors.
- Georgia: 20 general hours.
- Illinois: 10 CE is required, eight general education, and one half-hour each for implicit bias, sexual harassment prevention, pharmacy law, and patient safety.
- Kansas: 20 general hours.
- Louisiana: 10 general hours.
- Maryland: 20 general hours.
- New Mexico: 20 hours, including 19 general and 1 law
- Oregon: 20 hours, including 14 general, 2 pharmacy law, 2 patient safety/medication errors, and 2 cultural competency.
- Rhode Island: 10 general hours.
- South Carolina: 10 general hours.
- Utah: 20 hours, including 6 live, 13 general, and 1 law.
- Virginia: 5 general hours.
- Washington: 10 hours, including 9 general and 1 law.
Employer Specific CE requirements
Depending on your organization, you may need to meet additional continuing education requirements to maintain your employment. As with the state requirements, these can vary greatly depending on your employer. Many organizations have a clinical ladder for pharmacy technicians, and the continuing education requirements differ based on the level of your current position.
HOW TO STAY CURRENT IN YOUR PRACTICE WITH FREE CE
There are many options for you to obtain your continuing education to stay current in your pharmacy technician practice. That being said, freeCE stands out as the ideal choice for you to meet your continuing education requirements.
Our commitment to affordability sets us apart, offering high-quality education without breaking the bank. With an extensive catalog of courses, both live and on-demand, we cater to diverse interests and needs, ensuring you’ll find the perfect fit for your professional growth.
When you choose freeCE, you’re not just choosing a CE provider; you’re selecting a partner in your journey toward excellence in pharmacy. Join us today and experience the difference for yourself – affordable, comprehensive, and engaging education at your fingertips.