New Standards Support Quality Education and Training for Technician Workforce
ASHP (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists) and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) today released revised national standards that will serve as a guide for the development of ASHP/ACPE-accredited pharmacy technician education and training programs.
The Accreditation Standards for Pharmacy Technician Education and Training Programs serve as the criteria for the evaluation of new and established pharmacy technician training programs and will help to ensure that pharmacy technicians possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for their critical role on the healthcare team. The revised standards place additional emphasis on the educational outcomes expected of students and the methods used by training programs to assess competency. The standards now define competencies that differentiate entry-level and advanced training. They also address the structural and process-related elements needed for programs to implement evidence-based outcome measures that document achievement of the requirements.
The standards will become effective for new programs on January 1, 2019. Existing accredited pharmacy technician programs will be required to incorporate the new standards into their programs by January 1, 2020, and to notify the Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC) regarding their intention to train students at the entry level, advanced level, or both.
The number of standards has increased from six to 15. Each individual standard highlights the key elements that must be met to demonstrate compliance. The key elements model those in pharmacist education and training programs, and place emphasis on collaboration with pharmacists and other healthcare staff. Minimum hour requirements for programs were revised to reflect the education and training needs for entry-level and advanced-level competencies.
A number of environmental factors, including changes in state laws allowing for expanded roles, responsibilities, and authority for pharmacy technicians, prompted the reassessment of the standards, which were last revised in 2015. A broad range of stakeholders interested in or affected by pharmacy technician education and training offered input on the revisions. ASHP and ACPE also considered the recommendations of the 2017 Pharmacy Technician Stakeholder Consensus Conference, recent blueprints and task analyses of nationally accredited pharmacy technician certifying bodies, and the experience gained by the PTAC in its review of training programs.
Supplemental materials — a guidance document and model curriculum —are being revised to align with the new standards. The guidance document will be updated to provide examples and explanations of the standards and key elements. The model curriculum will serve as a guide for new programs as they develop their course offerings and provide direction for established programs that are reviewing their curriculum. The supplemental materials will be released in early 2019.
ASHP represents pharmacists who serve as patient care providers in acute and ambulatory settings. The organization’s 45,000 members include pharmacists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians. For more than 75 years, ASHP has been at the forefront of efforts to improve medication use and enhance patient safety. For more information about the wide array of ASHP activities and the many ways in which pharmacists advance healthcare, visit ASHP’s website, www.ashp.org, or its consumer website, www.SafeMedication.com.
ACPE is the national agency for the accreditation of professional degree programs in pharmacy and providers of continuing pharmacy education. ACPE also offers evaluation and certification of professional degree programs internationally. In collaboration with ASHP (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists), ACPE accredits pharmacy technician education and training programs. The mission of ACPE is to assure and advance excellence in education for the profession of pharmacy. ACPE is an autonomous and independent agency whose Board of Directors is appointed by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), and the American Council on Education (ACE). To learn more about ACPE, visit www.acpe-accredit.org or follow us on Facebook,LinkedIn,and Twitter.