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Pharmacy Continuing Education

Where to find the pharmacy continuing education program that's right for you?

According to the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), "Continuing education for the profession of pharmacy is a structured process of education designed or intended to support the continuous development of pharmacists to maintain and enhance their professional competence. Continuing education should promote problem-solving and critical thinking and be applicable to the practice of pharmacy." ACPE is the national agency for the accreditation of professional degree programs in pharmacy and providers of continuing pharmacy education.

The Pharmacists' Learning Assistance Network (P.L.A.N.®) is a continuing pharmacy education information service provided to pharmacists through Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. A computerized compilation of all continuing pharmacy education programs offered by ACPE-accredited providers serves as the database for the service. The P.L.A.N.® service has been developed to allow pharmacists the opportunity to pursue a curricular approach to professional development through organization and planning of their continuing pharmacy education needs. In addition, since most states recognize ACPE-accredited providers, programs listed with the P.L.A.N.® service may satisfy pharmacists' continuing pharmacy education requirements.

Pharmacy continuing education requirements differ by state

Pharmacy continuing education requirements for license renewal vary by state. For instance, though online is acceptable for most continuing education hours, but live pharmacy continuing education credits are sometimes required in states like New York. A variety of sources such as pharmaceutical companies (who usually offer free courses), university-based courses, and online CE offer courses to those interested in pharmacy continuing education.

Reporting requirements for pharmacy continuing education are different for different states

Reporting requirements vary by state. Even if reporting is not required, it is a good practice to keep records of all credits earned. Cost of pharmacy continuing education can sometimes be tax-deductible, so keep payment records and contact a tax professional to find out what is and is not deductible.

In Texas, in order to continue practicing, pharmacists must go through 30 hours of permitted CE during the previous license period. Extra hours cannot be carried forward to the subsequent license period. If a pharmacist wants to renew his license, he must state having done the mandatory number of CE hours in the renewal application. The application specifies the number of CE hours needed for license renewal. The duration between successive expiration dates of a license is the period between finishing and reporting CE hours for license renewal.

An inactive pharmacist license doesn't have to report any CE hours during renewal. Also, a pharmacist who has been issued a license recently doesn’t need to report during the first renewal period after the application. Any CE requirements that a pharmacist must fulfill as a board order is complementary to the hours needed for license renewal.
Pharmacists must keep certificates of completion of accepted pharmacy continuing education for three years from the date of reporting the hours. Pharmacists must not send CE certificates to the board until asked for. Pharmacists who are not able to produce records within a particular period or who have produced false records during audit are likely to face disciplinary action.

References

http://www.acpe-accredit.org/pdf/CEDefinition04.pdf
http://www.acpe-accredit.org/about/default.asp
http://www.tsbp.state.tx.us/infocist/continue.htm