ACP, Food City collaborate to offer new pharmacy technician program

Published 10:29 am Thursday, May 2, 2024

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Recognizing the current shortage of certified pharmacy technicians in the Appalachian region, as well as Virginia Board of Pharmacy requirements for new pharmacy technicians to be trained in accredited training programs in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Appalachian College of Pharmacy (ACP) has teamed up with Food City to establish an online Certified Pharmacy Technician program.

The number of pharmacy tech programs in the state went down from 160 to only six accredited programs when new Virginia Board of Pharmacy requirements took effect. In an effort to ease this shortage and train the workforce needed by its pharmacy partners, ACP and Food City began to collaborate to establish the new local certification program.

“Studies show that healthcare occupations are projected to grow more jobs than any other occupational groups through 2028 and as pharmacies expand patient care services, the role of and need for pharmacy technicians is also projected to grow,” said ACP Provost and Dean Susan Mayhew.

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“We are pleased to be working with Food City to establish this new pharmacy technician program to address those needs and to add to the educational opportunities we provide here at the Appalachian College of Pharmacy for students looking to begin a career in pharmacy,” said ACP President Mickey McGlothlin.

Accreditation for the new program of study will be sought through the American Society of Health Systems Pharmacists (ASHP).

Under the terms of the collaboration with Food City, ACP will dedicate staff to the program and seek accreditation for it through the American Society of Health Systems Pharmacists (ASHP). Food City is investing in the initial costs and start-up of the program and will provide the clinical experience rotations to support and assist ACP in delivering that portion of the program to students at its locations in five states – Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.

“Food City is proud to continue our long-time partnership with Appalachian College of Pharmacy through our support of this much-needed online Certified Pharmacy Technician program,” said Steven C. Smith, Food City president and chief executive officer. “We know firsthand the important role that certified pharmacy technicians play in meeting the health care needs of the communities we serve and we’re proud to be able to take an active role in supporting the training and education of this vital component of our health care workforce.”

Additionally, the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center will develop a simulation lab at its location which students in the program will be able to utilize.

“This exciting step symbolizes Appalachian College of Pharmacy’s continued commitment to workforce needs,” said David Matlock, Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center Agency Head. “Our partnership with ACP and this new program enhances our mission and ability to meet the needs of the region.”

Pharmacy technicians work closely with pharmacists and other healthcare professionals in diverse settings such as hospitals, clinics and community pharmacies. Technicians support patient care efforts of the pharmacy team with roles and responsibilities that continue to expand and evolve.

Students completing the ACP program will be eligible to sit for the Pharmacy Technician Board Certification (PTCB) exam to become certified as pharmacy technicians.

Five modules are featured in the curriculum, which follows the American Society of Health Systems Pharmacists (ASHP) textbook. Healthcare communications and professionalism; mathematics for pharmacy; pharmacy law and ethics; basic pharmacology and current pharmacy practice standards; and sterile and non-sterile drug compounding are the key components.

“This curriculum will be delivered through online access to lectures, learning activities and simulations under the supervision and evaluation of qualified faculty and practicing pharmacists and pharmacy technicians from Food City and other partners,” said Dr. Shamly Abdelfattah, director of health care innovations; clinical coordinator at KVAT; and ACP associate professor of pharmacy practice.

The program will be offered twice each year – in the fall term and in the spring term. Students 

will be able to finish the program within 26 weeks, which will include six weeks of experiential rotations.