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Continuing Education and Professional Development

Continuing Education Requirements

All licensed pharmacists in Pennsylvania must demonstrate that they have taken 30 credit hours of pharmacy continuing education during a two-year period. The two-year period ends on September 30 in even numbered years. License renewal is available on-line.


Continuing education credits must be obtained from approved ACPE (Accreditation Council of Pharmacy Education) providers. The Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association is approved by the Accreditation Council of Pharmacy Education (ACPE) as a provider of Continuing Pharmacy Education. Provider Number: 0159.

For special recertification requirements for other states, click here.


Patient Safety

The 2012-2014 PA pharmacist license renewal period introduced a new continuing education requirement that caught some Pennsylvania pharmacists by surprise. Of the 30 hours of CE credit required to renew, two of those hours must be in the ACPE topic designator "Patient Safety.". But how do you know if a program will count toward this requirement?


The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) defines patient safety as “The prevention of healthcare errors, and the elimination or mitigation of patient injury caused by healthcare errors (An unintended healthcare outcome caused by a defect in the delivery of care to a patient.) Healthcare errors may be errors of commission (doing the wrong thing), omission (not doing the right thing), or execution (doing the right thing incorrectly). Errors may be made by any member of the healthcare team in any healthcare setting. (definitions approved by the National Patient Safety Foundation® Board July 2003).” A CE program that addresses patient safety as defined here (and is accredited as such) will count toward the two hour requirement.


The quickest and most effective way to determine whether a CE activity counts as a patient safety CE is to look at the Universal Activity Number (UAN). Each CE activity provided by an ACPE-accredited provider of continuing education has a unique UAN, and providers are required to include this number in official program announcements. The UAN is a string of numbers and letters, separated by hyphens. Each section of the UAN refers to a specific detail of the program. The last two numbers in the UAN are the topic designator. A UAN with 05 as the topic designator is designated as a patient safety program and will count toward the two hour renewal requirement.


Example: 0159-0000-15-009-L05-P


The CE credit you earn will appear under CPE Monitor in your NABP e-Profile Dashboard.  You can log into your NABP e-Profile at any time to view credits you’ve earned. Just look for the 05 in the UAN to confirm that you’ve received patient safety CE credit.


Immunization Update

Additionally, for those pharmacists who also have an immunization license, two of the 30 credit hours must be in this immunization area of practice.


Act 31 - Child Abuse Reporting Requirements

Requirements for new licensees: All applicants for a new or initial PA pharmacist license are required to complete a 3-hour training program around child abuse recognition and reporting requirements.


Requirements for license renewals: Licensed PA pharmacists who need to renew their PA pharmacist license must also complete a 2-hour training program during each renewal period.


ACPE accreditation: All programs must be approved by the PA Department of Human Services and Department of State. These programs may be accredited for ACPE credit, but do not have to be accredited for ACPE credit in order to meet renewal requirements.


Where to find approved programs: Click here for a list of courses approved by the PA Department of Human Services and Department of State. Many courses require a fee; but there is a free, three-hour, on-demand program available through the Pennsylvania Child Welfare Resource Center online at https://www.reportabusepa.pitt.edu.


PPA has submitted a program that is currently moving through the approval process. A link to that program will be posted here when it is available.



Continuing Professional Development

According to the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is “the lifelong process of active participation in learning activities that assists individuals in developing and maintaining continuing competence, enhancing their professional practice, and supporting achievement of their goals.”

While research suggests traditional approaches to continuing education can be effective in both learning and practice change, research also suggests that outcomes of learning can be improved if the learning is in an area of interest or preference, related to daily practice, selected in response to identified need, interactive and hands-on, self-directed, focused on specific outcomes and objectives, and if the learning uses more than one intervention (i.e., is continuing, not opportunistic) and includes a "commitment to change." These principles and strategies are all incorporated into the CPD approach. Visit the ACPE website for more information and to access continuing education programs on CPD.

CPE Monitor

CPE Monitor is a national, collaborative effort by National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) to provide an electronic system for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to track their completed continuing pharmacy education (CPE) credits. It also offers state boards of pharmacy the opportunity to electronically authenticate the CPE units completed by their licensees, rather than requiring pharmacists and technicians to submit their proof of completion statements upon request or for random audits. This initiative has streamlined processes for pharmacy practitioners to ensure they are maintaining professional competency requirements. CPE Monitor saves pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, state boards of pharmacy, and CPE providers time and money. 

For more information, click here. Be sure to login to the PPA website and add your NABP e-Profile ID to your profile!

Pharmacy Technician Continuing Education

Currently there are no registration or certification requirements for pharmacy technicians in Pennsylvania. However, pharmacy technicians may, at their own option or through the encouragement of their employer, seek to become nationally certified through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). Visit PPA's Pharmacy Technician Certification page for more information on becoming certified.

Some of the ACPE continuing education courses PPA offers are applicable for technicians. This is typically noted on the program brochure. Watch for programs with the "T" at the end of the ACPE UAN (e.g. 0159-0000-10-019-H05-T).


Please direct CE inquiries to:  Sara Bowden, Program Manager and CPE Administrator, at sbowden@papharmacists.com or 717-234-6151 x100.

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