College of the Sequoias (COS), Pharmacy Technician Program was approved and accredited in August 2021 by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). This prestigious accreditation for the Pharmacy Technician Program at COS was established over a three-year process and places the program as one of 22 programs in California to be accredited.
The COS Pharmacy Technician Advisory Board voted in 2018 to pursue the accreditation status from ASHP. Since 2018, Mitchell Andrews, Registered Pharmacist (RPh), Pharmacy Technician Program Director and Full-time Faculty, worked in collaboration with Dr. Jonna Schengel, Dean of Career Technical Education and Workforce Development, on programmatic changes that would meet and maintain the competencies required by ASHP.
Dr. Schengel explains that the new accreditation status allows the COS Pharmacy Technician Program to provide a higher level of curriculum for students who have completed introductory courses at the high school level. Schengel also emphasizes that the COS Health Science programs are leading the way in outside accreditations, providing graduates with opportunities to enter the workforce. Accredited programs, like Pharmacy Tech., require students to participate in clinical hours, where students work alongside potential employers. Pharmacy Technicians are critical to the current workforce and will continue to help with ongoing vaccinations to fight COVID-19.
ASHP was established in 1942 and serves as the accrediting agency in partnership with Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC) and Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). The mission of ASHP is to support pharmacists and help people achieve optimal health outcomes. ASHP helps its members achieve this mission by advocating and supporting the professional practice of pharmacists in hospitals, health systems, ambulatory care clinics, and other settings spanning the full spectrum of medication use. ASHP serves its members as their collective voice on issues related to medication use and public health (ASHP, 2021).
Mitchell Andrews, RPh, Pharmacy Technician Program Director explains that to meet the requirements of the ASHP accredited Certificate of Achievement, Entry-level Pharmacy Technician, students must complete 350 hours of didactic work, 210 hours of one-on-one simulation with an instructor and complete a 120-hour externship rotation in a local pharmacy. Andrews continues, completion ensures graduates receive an educational experience with curriculum covering all 15 ASHP Standards which establish competency measures
for: Personal/Interpersonal Knowledge and Skills, Foundational Professional Knowledge and Skills, Processing and Handling of Medications and Medication Orders, Patient Care, Quality and Safety Knowledge and Skills, and Regulatory and Compliance Knowledge and Skills.
Earning ASHP accreditation ensures our program meets increasingly rigorous industry standards and helps us maintain the level of consistently high quality, employable graduates that our industry partners have come to expect, Andrews explains. A certificate of completion from an ASHP accredited program also ensures our graduates are eligible to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) national certification exam. Passing an ASHP accredited training program and having national certification is a highly desirable combination and maximizes opportunities for our graduates in all pharmacy practice settings
College of the Sequoias would like to thank Pharmacy Technician Advisory Board for their support and vision for the program.