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How the New Pharm Tech Standards will Impact Programs

Posted on July 31, 2018 by Evan Stiger

In 2019, any program pursuing accreditation to educate pharmacy technicians must meet a new set of standards. Changes outlined by the Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC) take effect on January 1.

Why are there new standards?

Pharmacy technicians are educated through several types of programs including community colleges, technical schools, colleges of pharmacy, employer-sponsored programs, and high school programs. The new standards will ensure competence among all programs and thereby protect the public. PTAC hopes to meet their goal with the following framework:

  • Establish entry-level and advanced training programs
  • Set guidelines to evaluate training programs
  • Promote continuous improvement among training programs

What are the changes?

Despite the several different program types and degree lengths, all pharmacy technicians took the same exam and received the same degree. Now, schools must offer an entry-level program, an advanced-level program, or a combination of the two. To pursue advanced-level education, students can complete the entry-level program first or incorporate both programs at once.

Curricular length is the key difference between the program types. Entry-level programs require 400 hours over a minimum eight-week course. Of those hours, 120 must be didactic, 50 hours must be simulation, and 130 hours must be experiential. Advanced-level programs must be 600 hours including entry-level hours over a minimum 15-week course, and those hours must include 160 didactic learning, 100 simulation, and 200 hours experiential.

There are now 15 total standards students must meet with renewed focus on competency expectations like personal and interpersonal skills, professional knowledge, and processing and handling medications and orders. Training will also place more emphasis on how pharmacy technicians will work with pharmacists and health care staff.

Review the full list of standards in the guide by ASHP and ACPE.

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