Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy Technician

About the Program

The Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program is designed to prepare students for employment in most pharmacy settings, ranging from community and hospital pharmacy to home health pharmacy.

AWARD TYPES: Associate of Applied Science, Certificate Level 2, Occupational Skills Award

AREA OF STUDY: Health Sciences

Degrees and Certificates

Program Outcomes

STUDENTS WILL BE ABLE TO:

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Perform the calculations necessary to accurately prepare pharmaceutical products for dispensing within the pharmacy profession.

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Model professional behavior and perform safely within the scope of the pharmacy technician profession.

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Assemble prescriptions and prepare pharmaceutical products for dispensing in compliance with current legislation and established standards within the pharmacy profession.

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Produce compounded sterile preparations using proper USP aseptic technique.

Program Information

A Career in Pharmacy Technician

A Pharmacy Technician provides technical services that do not require professional judgment regarding the preparation and distribution of drugs.  Pharmacy technicians always work under the direct supervision of and are responsible to a licensed pharmacist.  All work performed by a pharmacy technician must be verified for accuracy by a licensed pharmacist.

Responsibilities, Duties & Competencies of Pharmacy Technician frequently include:

  • Compounding sterile and non-sterile pharmaceuticals
  • Packaging and re-packaging medications
  • Utilizing and maintaining various types pharmacy technology
  • Performing pharmaceutical calculations
  • Preparing and maintaining prescription orders
  • Distributing and delivering medications
  • Providing great customer service
  • Maintaining patient privacy

 

The practice of pharmacy is continually changing to meet the needs of society.  As a result, the pharmacy technician’s role is also changing.  Pharmacy Technicians are being relied upon more & more to perform the routine day-to-day functions which free the pharmacist to spend more time providing clinical support to the patient and other healthcare team members.  Therefore, educated, highly skilled and well trained pharmacy technicians are essential to the successfully function of the pharmacy.

 

Accreditation Information

Houston Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).  More information on SACSCOC can be found at  https://www.hccs.edu/about-hcc/accreditation/ and   https://sacscoc.org.

The Pharmacy Technician advanced-level certificate program conducted at HCC Coleman College for Health Sciences, Houston, Texas, is accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and the Accreditation Council for Pharmaceutical Education (ASHP/ACPE).  More information on ASHP/ACPE accreditation can be found at https://www.ashp.org/Professional-Development/Technician-Program-Accreditation

As a student and graduate of the HCC Coleman College Pharmacy Technician certificate training program, accreditation by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPTE) is important for several reasons. Accreditation ensures that you are receiving the training and skills that reflect the national standard. Employers recognize that the education you received meets ASHP/ACPE standards which translate into a well-trained and highly skilled pharmacy technician. Also, as a graduate from an ASHP/ACPE accredited program, you will meet the Texas State Board of Pharmacy (TSBP) requirements for IV certification.

The Pharmacy Technician program at Houston Community College prepares students for practice as an advanced-level pharmacy technician, in a broad range of advanced roles in a variety of contemporary settings (e.g., community, hospital, home care, long-term care) and has students acquire additional knowledge, skills, behaviors, and abilities beyond those of the entry-level pharmacy technician, needed for such advanced practice.  Below are the ASHP/ACPE accreditation competency expectations for the advanced-level pharmacy technician program at HCC.  Training competencies at HCC includes both key elements for entry level and advanced-level.

 

Standard 1: Personal/Interpersonal Knowledge and Skills

 

Key Elements for Entry-level:

1.1  Demonstrate ethical conduct.

1.2  Present an image appropriate for the profession of pharmacy in appearance and behavior.

1.3   Demonstrate active and engaged listening skills.

1.4  Communicate clearly and effectively, both verbally and in writing.

1.5   Demonstrate a respectful and professional attitude when interacting with diverse patient populations, colleagues, and professionals.

1.6  Apply self-management skills, including time, stress, and change management.

1.7  Apply interpersonal skills, including negotiation skills, conflict resolution, customer service, and teamwork.

1.8 Demonstrate problem solving skills.

 

Additional Key Elements for Advanced-level

1.9  Demonstrate capability to manage or supervise pharmacy technicians in matters such as conflict resolution, teamwork, and customer service.

1.10  Apply critical thinking skills, creativity, and innovation.

1.11  Apply supervisory skills related to human resource policies and procedures.

1.12  Demonstrate the ability to effectively and professionally communicate with other healthcare professionals, payors and other individuals necessary to serve the needs of patients and

 

 

Standard 2: Foundational Professional Knowledge and Skills

Key Elements for Entry-level

2.1  Explain the importance of maintaining competency through continuing education and continuing professional development.

2.2  Demonstrate ability to maintain confidentiality of patient information, and understand applicable state and federal laws.

2.3  Describe the pharmacy technician’s role, pharmacist’s role, and other occupations in the healthcare environment.

2.4  Describe wellness promotion and disease prevention concepts.

2.5  Demonstrate basic knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pharmacology, and medical terminology relevant to the pharmacy technician’s role.

2.6  Perform mathematical calculations essential to the duties of pharmacy technicians in a variety of settings.

2.7  Explain the pharmacy technician's role in the medication-use process.

2.8  Practice and adhere to effective infection control procedures.

 

 

Additional Key Elements for Advanced-level

2.9  Describe investigational drug process, medications being used in off-label indications, and emerging drug therapies.

2.10  Describe further knowledge and skills required for achieving advanced competencies.

2.11  Support wellness promotion and disease prevention

 

 

Standard 3: Processing and Handling of Medications and Medication Orders

Key Elements for Entry-level:

3.1  Assist pharmacists in collecting, organizing, and recording demographic and clinical information for the Pharmacist Patient Care Process.

3.2   Receive, process, and prepare prescriptions/medication orders for completeness, accuracy, and authenticity to ensure safety.

3.3  Assist pharmacists in the identification of patients who desire/require counseling to optimize the use of medications, equipment, and devices.

3.4  Prepare patient-specific medications for distribution.

3.5  Prepare non-patient-specific medications for distribution.

3.6  Assist pharmacists in preparing, storing, and distributing medication products including those requiring special handling and documentation.

3.7  Assist pharmacists in the monitoring of medication therapy.

3.8  Maintain pharmacy facilities and equipment.

3.9  Use information from Safety Data Sheets (SDS), National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Hazardous Drug List, and the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) to identify, handle, dispense, and safely dispose of hazardous medications and materials.

3.10  Describe Food and Drug Administration product tracking, tracing and handling requirements.

3.11  Apply quality assurance practices to pharmaceuticals, durable and non-durable medical equipment, devices, and supplies.

3.12  Explain procedures and communication channels to use in the event of a product recall or shortage, a medication error, or identification of another problem.

3.13  Use current technology to ensure the safety and accuracy of medication dispensing.

3.14  Collect payment for medications, pharmacy services, and devices.

3.15  Describe basic concepts related to preparation for sterile and non-sterile compounding.

3.16  Prepare simple non-sterile medications per applicable USP chapters (e.g., reconstitution, basic ointments and creams).

3.17  Assist pharmacists in preparing medications requiring compounding of non-sterile products.

3.18  Explain accepted procedures in purchasing pharmaceuticals, devices, and supplies.

3.19   Explain accepted procedures in inventory control of medications, equipment, and devices.

3.20   Explain accepted procedures utilized in identifying and disposing of expired medications.

3.21  Explain accepted procedures in delivery and documentation of immunizations.

3.22  Prepare, store, and deliver medication products requiring special handling and documentation.

 

 

Additional Key elements for Advanced-level

3.23  Prepare compounded sterile preparations per applicable, current USP Chapters.

3.24  Prepare medications requiring moderate and high level non-sterile compounding as defined by USP (e.g., suppositories, tablets, complex creams).

3.25  Prepare or simulate chemotherapy/hazardous drug preparations per applicable, current USP Chapters.

3.26  Initiate, verify, and manage the adjudication of billing for complex and/or specialized pharmacy services and goods.

3.27  Apply accepted procedures in purchasing pharmaceuticals, devices, and supplies.

3.28  Apply accepted procedures in inventory control of medications, equipment, and devices.

3.29  Process, handle, and demonstrate administration techniques and document administration of immunizations and other injectable medications.

3.30  Apply the appropriate medication use process to investigational drugs, medications being used in off-label indications, and emerging drug therapies as required.

3.31  Manage drug product inventory stored in equipment or devices used to ensure the safety and accuracy of medication dispensing.

 

 

Standard 4: Patient Care, Quality and Safety Knowledge and Skills

Key Elements for Entry-level

4.1  Explain the Pharmacists’ Patient Care Process and describe the role of the pharmacy technician in the patient care process.

4.2  Apply patient- and medication-safety practices in aspects of the pharmacy technician's roles.

4.3  Explain how pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists in responding to emergent patient situations, safely and legally.

4.4  Explain basic safety and emergency preparedness procedures applicable to pharmacy services.

4.5  Assist pharmacist in the medication reconciliation process.

4.6  Explain point of care testing.

4.7  Explain pharmacist and pharmacy technician roles in medication management services.

4.8  Describe best practices regarding quality assurance measures according to leading quality oranizations.

 

 

Additional Key Elements for Advanced-level

4.9  Verify measurements, preparation, and/or packaging of medications produced by other healthcare professionals.

4.10  Perform point-of-care testing to assist pharmacist in assessing patient's clinical status.

4.11  Participate in the operations of medication management services.

4.12  Participate in technical and operational activities to support the Pharmacists’ Patient Care Process as assigned.

4.13  Obtain certification as a Basic Life Support Healthcare Provider.

 

 

Standard 5: Regulatory and Compliance Knowledge and Skills

Key Elements for Entry-level

5.1  Describe and apply state and federal laws pertaining to processing, handling and dispensing of medications including controlled substances.

5.2  Describe state and federal laws and regulations pertaining to pharmacy technicians.

5.3  Explain that differences exist between states regarding state regulations, pertaining to pharmacy technicians, and the processing, handling and dispensing of medications.

5.4  Describe the process and responsibilities required to obtain and maintain registration and/or licensure to work as a pharmacy technician.

5.5  Describe pharmacy compliance with professional standards and relevant legal, regulatory, formulary, contractual, and safety requirements.

5.6  Describe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and United States Pharmacopeia (USP) requirements for prevention and treatment of exposure to hazardous substances (e.g., risk assessment, personal protective equipment, eyewash, spill kit).

5.7  Describe OSHA requirements for prevention and response to blood-borne pathogen exposure (e.g., accidental needle stick, post-exposure prophylaxis).

5.8  Describe OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (i.e., “Employee Right to Know”).

 

Additional Key Elements for Advanced-level

5.9  Participate in pharmacy compliance with professional standards and relevant legal, regulatory, formulary, contractual, and safety

5.10  Describe major trends, issues, goals, and initiatives taking place in the pharmacy

 

 

 

Licensure/Certification Exam Results

The Pharmacy Technician/Assistant program graduates licensures/certifications are issued by the nationally recognized Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).

HCC Pharmacy Technician graduates are eligible to take the national certification examination offered by the PTCB.  To be eligible to sit for the PTCB exam, an applicant must complete a PTCB-Recognized Education/Training program.  HCC’s pharmacy technician program is a PTCB-Recognized program.  Once initial PTCB certification is obtained, the certified pharmacy technician must obtain 20 hours of pharmacy technician related continuing education credits and apply with PTCB to renew their certification.  Visit www.ptcb.org for more detailed information on the pharmacy technician certification process.

2019 Third-Party Licensure/Certification Exam Results

Occupational licensure and/or certification pass rates reported by calendar year (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31). Results for the 2017 and 2018 calendar years are provided for comparison.

Program/Aligned AwardAgency StandardHCC Standard2017 Pass Rate (# Passed)2018 Pass Rate (# Passed)2019 Pass Rate (# Passed)2019 Results
Pharmacy Technician C2 n/a 75% 100%(24) 93%(13) 97%(32) Exceeds Expectation

 

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the HCC Coleman College for Health Sciences Pharmacy Technician Program, the student should be able to:

  1. Perform the calculations necessary to accurately prepare pharmaceutical products for
    dispensing within the pharmacy profession.
  2. Model professional behavior and perform safely within the scope of the pharmacy
    technician profession.
  3. Assemble prescriptions and prepare pharmaceutical products for dispensing in
    compliance with current legislation and established standards within the pharmacy
    profession.
  4. Produce compounded sterile preparations using proper USP aseptic technique.

 

Essential Functions

The essential functions outline reasonable expectations of a student to participate and be potentially successful in the Pharmacy Technician Program and in the profession. The pharmacy technician student must be able to function in a variety of classroom, lab and/or clinical situations while maintaining the essential competencies of pharmacy technicians. These requirements apply for the purpose of admission and continuation in the program.

Download the Essential Functions for the Pharmacy Technician program

 

Program Costs

In addition to tuition and fees, the student should expect to pay for the following costs that will be incurred to meet program and clinic requirements for the certificate program.

These costs are approximate and are subject to change.

Pre Entrance

Criminal Background/Drug

Screening

105

Physical Exam

40

Immunization

360

Medical Insurance

Varies

SUB TOTAL

505

1st Semester ( 12 semester hours)

Tuition In-District

1020

Books

363

Uniforms

120

Parking (4months)

Varies

SUB TOTAL

1,503

2nd Semester (13 semester hours)

Tuition In-District

1103.5

Books

432

Parking (4months)

Varies

SUB TOTAL

1,535.5

3nd Semester (8 semester hours)

Tuition

682

Books

50

Parking (4months)

Varies

SUB TOTAL

732

Credential Exam

129

TSBP Registration

83

SUB TOTAL

212

 

 

Grand Total

4,487.5

 

Program Requirements

Certified Background Check

The Pharmacy Technician Program utilizes the company “Castle Branch ” (CB) to perform additional background checks and as the depository for all required clinic paperwork.  All pharmacy technician students are REQUIRED to use Certified Background Check.  Beginning 9/1/2014, pharmacy technician applicants are required to purchase and pass the background check BEFORE they are allowed to register for any pharmacy technician course.

Students log-on to the certified background website and create a profile.  The student must pay a $120 fee, which includes the student’s 21-panel drug screen.  Once the fee is paid, the student will then submit &/or upload all required paperwork (physical forms, vaccination records, TSBP registration, medical insurance, etc) directly to Castle Branch.  The Pharmacy Technician WILL NOT accept any clinic paperwork.  ALL paperwork must be submitted directly to the CB.  Directions for use of the CB service will be given to the student during new student orientation.

Castle Branch for directions on how to purchase a certified background check account for the pharmacy technician program.

Other Clinical Requirements

After acceptance and before being placed into clinic, the student must complete and pass a 21-panel drug screen, physical exam and all required vaccinations must be up-to-date.  No student will be placed into a clinic site until they meet all clinic requirements listed below:

 

Physical Exam

Students must complete a physical exam on the HCC Coleman college physical exam form.

Medical Insurance

Students must show proof of medical insurance for the duration of pharmacy technician clinical courses: PHRA 1260, 1261, 2260 &/or 2261.

21-Panel Drug Screen

The student must take and pass a 21-panel drug screen.  Drug screens are purchased as part of a Certified Background Check package.  See above.

 

Vaccinations

Tetanus

Booster within last 10 years.

Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)

Must show proof of 2 doses or proof of immunity by serologic confirmation.

Varicella Zoster (Chicken Pox)

Proof of 2 doses or proof of immunity by serologic confirmation.  Positive history is NOT accepted.

Seasonal Flu

Required if vaccine is available

Meningitis

Required if student younger than 22 years &/or it has been more than 5 years since the last booster.

TB Skin Test

Mantoux skin test, IGRAs blood test or chest x-ray. TB testing is only valid for 6 months.  Students will have to submit a new TB test before being placed into PHRA 2260 & PHRA 2261.

Hepatitis B

Proof of 3 doses of vaccine or proof of immunity by serologic confirmation.

 

Texas State Board of Pharmacy Technician Trainee Registration

Texas state law requires all students to register with the Texas State Board of Pharmacy (TSBP) and obtain “active” registration as a Pharmacy Technician Trainee prior to beginning clinical rotations.  When registering with the Texas State Board of Pharmacy, a federal criminal background check and fingerprinting will be performed on each applicant.  If the student has a criminal record they may be put on a pending status and will not be allowed to register for clinical until the pending status is lifted and the student is granted Registration.

It is against the law for any person to function as a pharmacy technician in any pharmacy setting without proper TSBP registration.  Therefore, the Pharmacy Technician Program WILL NOT place a student into any clinical site without valid TSBP Pharmacy Technician Trainee Registration under any circumstances.  TSBP makes all decisions on technician trainee registration.  HCC, Coleman College, or the Pharmacy Technician program have no say on whether an applicant is granted trainee status.

To be eligible for TSBP registration, applicants must have a valid social security number.  Students who are denied registration and/or not granted registration will not be allowed to continue in the Pharmacy Technician Program and may not be allowed future re-admission into the program.  Go to http://www.tsbp.state.tx.us/Pharmacytechs.htm  for more information on pharmacy technician trainee registration.

Texas Work Requirements for Pharmacy Technicians

After completing pharmacy technician training (certificate or MSA), a student seeking employment in Texas as a pharmacy technician must meet the following 3 criteria:

  1. They must be nationally certified as a pharmacy technician. To achieve this, the student must pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification exam given through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).   To be eligible for the PTCB exam, a candidate must  satisfy the following eligibility requirements
    1. High school diploma or equivalent educational diploma (e.g., a GED or foreign diploma).
    2. Full disclosure of all criminal and State Board of Pharmacy registration or licensure actions.
    3. Compliance with all applicable PTCB Certification policies.
    4. Passing score on the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam
    5. A candidate may be disqualified for PTCB Certification upon the disclosure or discovery of:
      1. Criminal conduct involving the candidate;
      2. State Board of Pharmacy registration or licensure action involving the candidate;
      3. Violation of a PTCB Certification policy, including but not limited to the PTCB Code of Conduct.
    6. PTCB reserves the right to investigate criminal background, verify candidate eligibility and deny certification to any individual.
    7. Once certified, certified pharmacy technicians (CPhTs) must report any felony conviction, drug or pharmacy-related violations, or State Board of Pharmacy action taken against their license or registration at the occurrence and at the time of recertification, to PTCB for review. Disqualification determinations are made on a case-by-case basis.  For more information on the PTCB exam, you can go to www.ptcb.org
  2. They must register with the Texas State Board of Pharmacy (TSBP) as a pharmacy technician. To be eligible for TSBP registration, the applicant must have a valid social security number.  To get registered, the applicant has to complete a criminal background check and be fingerprinted. For more information on TSBP pharmacy technician registration, you can go to http://www.tsbp.state.tx.us/Pharmacytechs.htm  . A person that is not registered as a pharmacy technician is not allowed to work in any pharmacy in the state of Texas.  See the last page of this handout for TSBP Pharmacy Technician Registration sanctions.
  3. To prepare sterile IV products in the state of Texas, the pharmacy technician must be IV certified.  When a student graduates from the pharmacy technician certificate program, they meet the requirements for IV certification, because the certificate program is accredited by ASHP.  Note:  retail MSA students are not IV certified upon completion of their 

 

The student is responsible for all costs associated with registration, certification, drug screens, physical exams, vaccinations, transportation, etc.
 

Pharmacy Technician Program Dismissal Policy

Violation of HCC, Coleman College or the Pharmacy Technician policies may result in the dismissal of a student.   A pharmacy technician student will be dismissed from the program if they are found to have violated any of the following pharmacy technician policies:

  • Behavior – Professional
  • Confidentiality
  • Injuries & Needle sticks
  • Safety
  • Standards of Practice
  • Academic Dishonesty
  • Weapons

 

Examples of other types of behavior that may lead to corrective action and/or immediate dismissal from the Pharmacy Program include:

  • Offensive, harassing, abusive, disrespectful, insulting or vulgar language and/or gestures
  • Damage, abuse or theft of HCC, Coleman College, pharmacy technician program or any clinical affiliate property
  • Insubordination, including willful negligence or refusal to perform tasks in the manner assigned by instructors, instructional support specialists, preceptors, clinical supervisors, or other authority figures
  • Time clock violations or excessive tardies and absences
  • Fighting, threatening violence or horseplay (which may result in injury)
  • Sleeping or giving the appearance of sleeping.
  • Physical or psychological negligence to faculty, classmates, staff, patients, or guests.
  • Failure to follow instructions and/or policies and procedures which may result in serious consequences.
  • Sexually suggestive behaviors and/or actions.
  • Any possession, use, distribution or abuse of alcohol, un-prescribed drugs, narcotics, or illegal substances on college or clinical property.
  • Not following HCC, Coleman College, or the Pharmacy Technician policies, procedures, guidelines or regulations.
  • Disregard for established safety practices in the classroom, lab, or clinic settings
  • Failure to protect self, peers, faculty, staff, and patients from actual or potential physical and health hazards.

 

Failure to disclose any health disorder (physical or psychological) that could potentially interfere with your being able to professionally perform in any academic, laboratory or clinical setting.

HCC’s student code of conduct can be found at https://www.hccs.edu/about-hcc/procedures/student-rights-policies--procedures/student-procedures/

 

 

Employment Trends & Wages

Pharmacy Technicians may find employment in hospital, clinic, home health care, mail order and retail pharmacies.

In the Houston-Woodlands-SugarLand, TX region, it is expected that the number of available pharmacy technician jobs will increase by 632 jobs between 2020 and 2025 which is an increase of 7% (EMSI, 2020).

 

Average Salary*

The 2019 median wage for Pharmacy Technicians in the Houston-The Woodlands-SugarLand, TX region is $17.07/hr, while the national median wage is $16.32/hr (EMSI, 2020).  Entry level pharmacy technicians can expect a starting salary between $11 and $16 per hour.

*Source: EMSI Q3 2020 Data Set. Retrieved from www.economicmodeling.com 

 

 

Resources

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Janet Pena

Pharmacy Technician