The Accreditation Process for Pharmacy Technician Programs

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If you have been looking into taking a pharmacy technician education program, you may have heard the term “accredited” thrown around.

Since 1982, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) has been accrediting pharmacy technician programs. Accreditation refers to a school’s program meeting specified standards in such areas as administration, faculty/directors, educational components and more.

As of 2013, 258 pharmacy tech programs are or are in the process of being accredited, from Carrington College with campuses in Sacramento and other California locales to Everest Institute in Miami.

Why choose an accredited program?

“[Pharmacy technician] responsibilities are expanding and evolving as the pharmacy profession changes with new medications, technologies, and challenges,” states the ASHP’s Pharmacy Technician Information Center.  “The accreditation process is designed to protect the public by requiring training programs to meet a nationally recognized standard for excellence.”

As a prospective pharmacy tech student, not only do you want to choose a quality program that will successfully prepare you for your career, but completing accredited training will also make you more competitive during your job hunt. Additionally some jurisdictions may require that you complete an accredited program (or include it in its list of “meeting at least one of these requirements”) in order for you to legally work as a pharmacy tech in that state.

Accreditation Update

The ASHP and Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) are collaborating together to create the Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC). The PTAC will carry on and advance ASHP’s accreditation role beginning in the fall of 2014.

The ASHP has served for over 30 years as the only accrediting body for pharmacy technician programs; the ACPE has been accrediting professional pharmacy degree programs since 1932.

“The need for standardized, quality, accredited training of technicians continues to be recognized by employers and pharmacists in all pharmacy settings,” states PTAC’s Frequently Asked Questions page. “Many have suggested that ACPE should be involved in accrediting technician education and training programs, given their role in accrediting Doctor of Pharmacy degree programs. This collaboration brings together ACPE’s expertise along with ASHP’s strength of accrediting pharmacy technician education and training programs to form PTAC and a joint approval process to move the profession forward in addressing pharmacy technician accreditation.”

Through the PTAC, together the ASHP and ACPE are working towards ensuring that accredited pharmacy tech programs means quality education for the benefit of pharmacy techs, as well as pharmacists, employers and the people they serve.

You can also find out which schools are currently ASHP-accredited by visiting: http://accred.ashp.org/aps/pages/directory/technicianProgramDirectory.aspx