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PTAC: A New Collaboration to Expand Pharmacy Technician Education, Training

Nov 04, 2013
Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP

Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP

You may have heard about a new collaboration called the Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC) that has been formed by ASHP and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).I wanted to give you additional information about this significant initiative, which is being undertaken by ASHP and ACPE. This collaboration combines ACPE’s expertise and credibility in accrediting professional pharmacy degree programs with ASHP’s strengths in accrediting pharmacy technician training and pharmacy residency programs.

PTAC will be overseen jointly by ASHP and ACPE’s boards of directors, and, we believe, will greatly advance pharmacy technician training program accreditation and help to move our profession forward.

A Long, Illustrious History

Since 1982, ASHP, advised through its Commission on Credentialing, has served as the only pharmacy professional programmatic accreditor for pharmacy technician education and training programs. Likewise, ACPE, since 1932, has been and continues to be the primary source for accrediting professional degree programs.

ACPE also plays a vital role in assuring the quality of pharmacy education. Currently, there are 258 technician programs that either are accredited or are becoming accredited, and the need for and recognition of standardized technician training programs continues to grow. PTAC was created to address this need.

ASHP envisions that PTAC will create an increased emphasis for the need for accreditation of technician training programs and also assist us in greatly expanding their numbers. It is a “win-win” collaboration, across pharmacy and the health care continuum, for both technicians and the patients who will benefit from their work.

The Details

PTAC will consist of nine voting members, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians from a wide variety of practice areas. There will also be board liaisons from ASHP and ACPE, as well as a staff secretary.

Existing ASHP technician training programs scheduled for survey through May 31, 2014, will remain under the review of ASHP’s Commission on Credentialing. After May 2014, technician education and training programs seeking accreditation will apply for accreditation through PTAC, which will use a similar process to that used by ASHP’s Commission on Credentialing.

ASHP will manage the accreditation process and will continue to schedule surveys, and reports will continue to be sent to ASHP. However, all accreditation recommendations will be made by PTAC and will require final approval of both ACPE and ASHP boards of directors.

PTAC will use ASHP’s new Accreditation Standards for Pharmacy Technician Education and Training Programs that were approved in April 2013 and go into effect starting January 2014.

ASHP’s Regulations on Accreditation of Pharmacy Technician Training Programs will also be used to govern PTAC’s procedures for accreditation. Periodically, standards and policies/regulations will be revised and/or updated following industry best practices for accreditation. These will be approved by both ASHP and ACPE boards.

Growing Need for Well-Trained Technicians

The need for highly skilled and trained pharmacy technicians has long been recognized and continues to grow. ASHP looks to PTAC to create and nurture an effective, universal accreditation process. ACPE and ASHP support the use of qualified technicians in all pharmacy settings and recognize an obligation to develop and endorse standards that will continue to supply well-qualified technicians for pharmacy practice.

This process will ultimately help pharmacists to provide more critical and essential direct care to patients. We hope that you all will support this new collaboration with ACPE and help it to be successful. Click here to learn more about the PTAC and its efforts.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and joyous holiday season!

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