Online Continuing Education (CE) for Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians can participate in online continuing education programs to learn more about their industry and to advance their skills. Some courses result in area-specific advanced certifications, and some are purely for enrichment purposes.
Overview of Certification Programs
The National Pharmacy Technician Association (NPTA) offers several online continuing education courses. Programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and award students 2-4 continuing education credits (CEUs).
It is common for these programs to include a very small campus-based section. After completing the online material, students may meet on campus for a day or two of hands-on training. Additionally, students must show comprehension of course materials by passing exams.
Sterile IV Compounding Program
This program is designed for current pharmacy technicians to expand their knowledge in order to provide further assistance in a pharmacy setting. In an IV compounding program, students learn the proper procedures for preparing sterile products. Common topics in this program include the following:
- Sterile product properties
- Aseptic procedures
- Facility and equipment
- Procedures and techniques in IV compounding
Chemotherapy and Hazardous Drugs Program
Students in this program learn proper methods for receiving, storing, labeling and transporting materials. They also explore techniques for decontaminating, disposing of waste and controlling spills. Other topics of study include the following:
- Risk Assessment
- Medical Surveillance
- Protective Equipment
- Cabinets for Biological Safety
In this program students learn about compounding capsules, tablets, ointments and more. Other common topics of study include medication flavoring and compounding for veterinarian pharmaceuticals.
Review Courses and Online Seminars
To brush up on the things they learned in school as well as learn about new topics in the pharmaceutical sector, pharmacy technicians can take online review courses accredited by the ACPE. These courses usually consist of a one-time online seminar that doesn't result in certification. Webinars are often live and may count for a couple CEUs. Some topics include the following:
- Advances in menopausal therapy
- The common cold
- Pharmacy law
- Healthcare reform
- Pain therapy
Online Learning Requirements
Distance learning students will need access to a computer with high-speed Internet and speakers. For longer certification courses, students may need to purchase a textbook and workbook; other tools include instructional videos. Webinar students may be able to participate virtually through the use of a tablet or Smartphone.
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