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METC & PTCB Prepare Federal Pharmacy Technicians for Success

by Megan Coder | Apr 28, 2011

Elevating practice across the Federal Pharmacy System through accredited training and certification

WASHINGTON, DC. - Federal pharmacy technicians certified through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) continue to serve their country and maximize training experiences at the Department of Defense (DoD) Military Education and Training Campus (METC) at Fort Sam Houston, TX.

Since September 2010, the METC has operated as the largest consolidated training program in DoD history, training enlisted medical personnel in over 30 medical programs including pharmacy technician training. The METC Pharmacy Technician Training Program is designed to standardize training for pharmacy technicians across federal agencies, including the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, and Navy.

The METC Pharmacy Technician Training Program, accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, incorporates best practices from multiple agencies to create consistency in skills and knowledge, and promote innovative roles for federal pharmacy technicians. These roles include counseling patients, tech-check-tech, and pharmacist-independent practice in deployed settings. The curriculum is a blend of web based, classroom, laboratory, clinical, and experiential learning in the areas of calculations, pharmacotherapeutics, dispensing, sterile and non-sterile compounding, and pharmacy administration.

Prior to graduation, students are highly encouraged to take PTCB's Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) to gain national recognition as a Certified Pharmacy Technician. This aligns with the METC's objective to improve the quality of pharmacy technicians as measured by a national standard and enable pharmacy technicians to perform to their highest level of education and training.

"At the METC, our primary goal is preparing our students to serve in the multitude of military practice settings available to pharmacy technicians, including the unique challenge of assignments independent of a pharmacist. To meet this goal, our curriculum is both fast paced and more in depth than most other pharmacy technician programs. The intensity of the program does not afford students instructional time to prepare for the PTCE," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Lynch, Program Director for Pharmacy Training at the METC. "However, most students go above and beyond by studying for certification on their off duty time to validate the knowledge they have attained, as well as make a positive impact at their permanent duty station."

The METC is on its way to becoming a national strategic resource by fostering enhanced international partnerships and contributing to educational research and innovation.

"Certification and the expansion of responsibilities and skill sets have empowered pharmacy technicians to practice in ground-breaking areas within the Federal Pharmacy System," said Melissa Murer Corrigan, RPh, Executive Director and CEO of PTCB. "Of the 400,000 pharmacy technicians PTCB has certified since 1995, we are honored that many of these pharmacy technicians are part of the world’s best military healthcare personnel supporting the nation."