Pharmacy technicians can participate in online continuing education courses and short programs to learn more about their industry and to advance their skills. Some courses award continuing education credits upon completion that help technicians fulfill certification renewal requirements. Some programs are in a blended format that include online coursework and on-campus visits for hands-on training.
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
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
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
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.
Pharmacy technicians who need to meet their continuing education requirements can find short online programs and courses that provide training in things like compounding and hazardous drugs. Many programs require a brief in-person, hands-on training section after the completion of online coursework.