Pharmacy Technician School Curriculum
The pharmacy technician program curriculum aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to assist pharmacists in medication management and patient counseling in a variety of healthcare settings. Here is a short overview of the curriculum.
The curriculum in a pharmacy technician program may vary depending on the specific program and institution offering the program. However, most programs cover a range of topics related to pharmacy practice and medication management. Here are some examples of the topics that may be covered in a pharmacy technician program:
- Pharmacology: Students may learn about the different classes of medications, how they work in the body, and their common uses and side effects.
- Pharmacy law and ethics: Students may learn about the legal and ethical responsibilities of pharmacy technicians, including regulations related to medication dispensing and patient privacy.
- Pharmacy calculations: Students may learn how to perform calculations related to medication dosages, conversions, and compounding.
- Medication dispensing: Students may learn how to accurately and safely prepare and dispense medications, including counting pills, measuring liquids, and labeling prescriptions.
- Sterile compounding: Students may learn how to prepare medications in sterile environments, including intravenous (IV) medications and other sterile preparations.
- Medication therapy management: Students may learn about the management of chronic diseases and how to support patients in taking their medications correctly and safely.
- Medical terminology: Students may learn about common medical terms and abbreviations used in pharmacy practice.
- Anatomy and physiology: Students may learn about the structure and function of the human body, including how medications interact with different organ systems.
- Communication skills: Students may develop their communication skills, including how to interact with patients, healthcare providers, and other members of the healthcare team.
Some pharmacy technician programs also include a clinical component, in which students gain hands-on experience working in a pharmacy setting under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. This can provide students with valuable real-world experience and help prepare them for their careers as pharmacy technicians.
A pharmacology course in a pharmacy technician program is designed to provide students with a foundational understanding of the principles of pharmacology, including the actions, uses, and side effects of medications. Here are some of the topics that may be covered in a pharmacology course:
- Basic pharmacology principles: Students may learn about the basic principles of pharmacology, including drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination.
- Drug classifications: Students may learn about the different classes of medications, including their chemical structures and common uses.
- Medication dosing: Students may learn about the factors that influence medication dosing, including patient age, weight, and medical conditions.
- Adverse drug reactions: Students may learn about the common adverse reactions associated with different medications, including drug allergies and drug interactions.
- Patient counseling: Students may learn how to counsel patients on the proper use and potential side effects of medications.
- Controlled substances: Students may learn about the regulations and guidelines related to controlled substances, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) schedule of controlled substances.
- Over-the-counter medications: Students may learn about the common over-the-counter medications, including their uses and potential side effects.
- Herbal and dietary supplements: Students may learn about the common herbal and dietary supplements, including their potential benefits and risks.
- Special populations: Students may learn about the special considerations involved in medication management for populations such as pregnant and breastfeeding women, children, and elderly patients.
A pharmacology course in a pharmacy technician program is designed to provide students with a foundational understanding of medications and their effects on the human body. This knowledge is essential for pharmacy technicians to safely and effectively assist pharmacists in medication management and patient counseling.
Pharmacy Law and Ethics
Pharmacy law and ethics are important components of a pharmacy technician program, as they provide students with an understanding of the legal and ethical responsibilities of pharmacy technicians. Here is a detailed explanation of pharmacy law and ethics in a pharmacy technician program.
Pharmacy law is concerned with the rules and regulations that govern the practice of pharmacy. A pharmacy technician program may cover various aspects of pharmacy law, including federal and state laws related to medication dispensing, record-keeping, and patient confidentiality. Some specific topics that may be covered in a pharmacy law course for pharmacy technicians include:
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regulations
Pharmacy technicians may learn about DEA regulations related to controlled substances, including the requirements for prescribing, dispensing, and record-keeping.
Pharmacy technicians may learn about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which sets standards for protecting the privacy and security of patient health information.
State pharmacy laws
Pharmacy technicians may learn about the laws and regulations specific to their state, including requirements for pharmacy licensure, medication dispensing, and patient counseling.
Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs)
Pharmacy technicians may learn about PDMPs, which are state-run databases that track controlled substance prescriptions in order to prevent prescription drug abuse and diversion.
Pharmacy technicians may learn about the requirements for maintaining accurate and complete medication records, including patient information, medication orders, and dispensing records.
Pharmacy ethics is concerned with the moral principles and values that guide the practice of pharmacy. Pharmacy technicians may learn about the ethical considerations involved in medication management, including issues related to patient autonomy, beneficence, and non-maleficence. Some specific topics that may be covered in a pharmacy ethics course for pharmacy technicians include:
Pharmacy technicians may learn about the importance of obtaining informed consent from patients before administering medications or performing other medical procedures.
Pharmacy technicians may learn about the ethical responsibilities of maintaining patient confidentiality, including the need to protect patient health information from unauthorized access or disclosure.
Conflict of Interest
Pharmacy technicians may learn about the potential conflicts of interest that may arise in pharmacy practice, such as conflicts between professional obligations and financial incentives.
Pharmacy technicians may learn about the importance of cultural competency in pharmacy practice, including the need to be sensitive to the cultural beliefs and values of patients.
Pharmacy technicians may learn about the importance of maintaining professional integrity, including the need to act with honesty, integrity, and accountability in all aspects of pharmacy practice.
A pharmacy technician program that includes a course on pharmacy law and ethics provides students with a foundational understanding of the legal and ethical responsibilities of pharmacy technicians. This knowledge is essential for pharmacy technicians to provide safe, effective, and ethical medication management services to patients.
A Pharmacy Calculations course is a critical component of a Pharmacy Technician program. The course is designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to perform accurate and safe medication calculations. In this course, students learn how to perform calculations related to medication dosages, conversions, and compounding, which are essential skills for working as a pharmacy technician.
Here are some of the key topics that may be covered in a Pharmacy calculations course in a Pharmacy Technician program:
- Units of measurement: Students will learn about the different units of measurement used in pharmacy practice, such as metric units and units used in the apothecary and household systems.
- Conversions: Students will learn how to convert between different units of measurement, including conversions between metric and other systems.
- Dosage calculations: Students will learn how to calculate medication dosages based on patient weight, age, and other factors.
- Infusion rates: Students will learn how to calculate infusion rates for medications administered via IV, including drip rates and total infusion times.
- Dilutions: Students will learn how to calculate dilutions for medications that need to be reconstituted or diluted before administration.
- Percentages: Students will learn how to calculate percentages related to medication concentrations or drug strength.
- Alligations: Students will learn how to use alligations to calculate the amounts of two different strengths of a medication needed to create a specific dose.
- Compounding calculations: Students will learn how to perform calculations related to compounding medications, including calculating the amounts of different ingredients needed to create a specific medication.
Pharmacy calculations require a solid understanding of mathematical principles, as well as an understanding of the specific calculations used in pharmacy practice. A Pharmacy calculations course may use a variety of teaching methods to help students learn these skills. Classroom lectures, problem-solving exercises, and hands-on experience in a laboratory or clinical setting are some of the methods used in teaching Pharmacy calculations. Students may also use computer-based learning tools and simulations to practice pharmacy calculations.
Pharmacy calculations are critical to patient safety, and even a small error can have serious consequences for a patient’s health. Pharmacy technicians must be able to perform accurate calculations to ensure that medications are safely dosed and administered to patients. A Pharmacy calculations course provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to perform accurate medication calculations, which is essential to providing high-quality patient care.
Pharmacy technicians who have a strong understanding of pharmacy calculations are well-equipped to provide high-quality patient care and contribute to the safe and effective delivery of medication therapy.
How is the Pharmacy Tech Curriculum Evaluated?
The Pharmacy Technician curriculum is evaluated through a variety of methods to ensure that it meets the educational standards set by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). These evaluations help to ensure that students receive a high-quality education that prepares them for a career as a pharmacy technician.
Here are some of the ways in which the Pharmacy Technician curriculum may be evaluated:
The Pharmacy Technician program may conduct self-evaluations to assess the quality and effectiveness of its curriculum. This may involve reviewing course content, evaluating student performance, and soliciting feedback from students, faculty, and other stakeholders.
The Pharmacy Technician program may undergo external evaluations by accreditation bodies such as ACPE and ASHP. These evaluations typically involve a review of the curriculum, faculty qualifications, student performance data, and other factors to determine whether the program meets accreditation standards.
Pharmacy Technician students may be asked to evaluate their courses and instructors through surveys or other feedback mechanisms. This feedback can help identify areas for improvement in the curriculum and ensure that students receive a high-quality education.
Pharmacy Technician faculty may be evaluated by their peers, supervisors, or students to ensure that they are providing high-quality instruction and support to students.
Pharmacy Technician program administrators may seek feedback from employers to determine whether graduates are adequately prepared for their roles as pharmacy technicians.
Pharmacy Technician programs may engage in continuous improvement processes to identify areas for improvement and implement changes to the curriculum. This may involve monitoring student performance data, incorporating new technologies or teaching methods, and soliciting feedback from stakeholders.
The evaluation of the Pharmacy Technician curriculum is a continuous process that involves ongoing assessments and feedback from students, faculty, employers, and other stakeholders. By continuously evaluating and improving the curriculum, Pharmacy Technician programs can ensure that their graduates are well-prepared to meet the evolving needs of the healthcare industry and provide high-quality patient care.
Foundational knowledge and skills required for the pharmacy technician profession include:
Understanding of healthcare occupations and the healthcare delivery system.
Understanding of wellness promotion and disease prevention concepts, such as health screenings, health practices, environmental factors affecting health, and the negative effects of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.
Dedication to excellence in the pharmacy profession and a commitment to ongoing education and training.
Knowledge and proficiency in relevant areas of science, including anatomy/physiology and pharmacology.
Proficiency in mathematical calculations relevant to the pharmacy technician role.
Understanding of the pharmacy technician’s role in the medication-use process.
Familiarity with major trends, issues, goals, and initiatives in the pharmacy profession.
Understanding of non-traditional roles for pharmacy technicians.
Identification and description of emerging therapies.
Understanding of the preparation and process for both sterile and non-sterile compounding.
The processing and handling of medications and medication orders
The processing and handling of medications and medication orders involves several tasks that pharmacy technicians are responsible for:
- Assisting pharmacists in collecting, organizing, and recording patient information for direct patient care and medication use review.
- Receiving and reviewing prescriptions/medication orders for accuracy, completeness, and authenticity.
- Identifying patients who require counseling to optimize the use of medications, equipment, and devices.
- Distributing medications in accordance with established procedures.
- Practicing effective infection control procedures to prevent transmission of blood borne and airborne diseases.
- Assisting pharmacists in preparing, storing, and distributing medication products that require special handling and documentation, such as controlled substances, immunizations, chemotherapy, and drugs with mandated Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS).
- Assisting pharmacists in monitoring medication therapy.
- Preparing patient-specific medications for distribution.
- Maintaining pharmacy facilities and equipment, including automated dispensing equipment.
- Using material safety data sheets (MSDS) to identify, handle, and dispose of hazardous materials safely.
- Preparing non-patient-specific medications for distribution (e.g., batch, stock medications).